Thursday, April 03, 2008

Axis of Weasels on Gas

The New York Times takes its usual anti-Bush stance without giving both sides of the issue on the proposed entry of Ukraine and Georgia into the MAP, or Membership Action Plan:
On Wednesday morning, Mr. Bush gave a rousing speech in which he stated his positions and declared that “the terrorist threat is real, it is deadly and defeating this enemy is the top priority of NATO,” which is not the defined goal of every member of this collective security alliance.

Referring to democratic revolutions in both Ukraine and Georgia, he said: “Welcoming them into the Membership Action Plan would send a signal to their citizens that if they continue on the path to democracy and reform they will be welcomed into the institutions of Europe. It would send a signal throughout the region” — read Russia — “that these two nations are, and will remain, sovereign and independent states.”

Some German officials described the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, as upset and even angry on Wednesday. She and Mr. Bush have talked repeatedly about the issue in the past two months. Mrs. Merkel had thought that a compromise was in the works, the officials said, with Washington supporting a warm statement welcoming the interest of Ukraine and Georgia in NATO and encouraging them to work toward entering the membership plan program.

With its usual disingenuous opacity, the NYT leaves the so-called "Friendship Pipeline" to Germany from Russia, supplying natural gas at low rates, entirely out of the article. Instead, the NYT plays its usual game of not mentioning the elephant in the living room while "earnestly" portraying major NATO allies' opposition in the best possible light:
Germany and France have said they believe that since neither Ukraine nor Georgia is stable enough to enter the program now, a membership plan would be an unnecessary offense to Russia, which firmly opposes the move. In fact, senior diplomats here said, the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, has threatened to cancel his planned first-ever visit to the NATO meeting on Friday if the two former Soviet states enter the program for eventual membership.

Mrs. Merkel visited Moscow on March 8 and met Mr. Putin and his successor, Dmitri A. Medvedev. She told them that Russia would not be allowed a veto over NATO membership. But a senior German diplomat, Wolfgang Ischinger, said that offering membership to a divided Ukraine could destabilize the new government there, and that not enough diplomacy had taken place beforehand with Russia.

Mr. Ischinger, Germany’s ambassador to London, noted that after the NATO summit meeting Mr. Bush and the two Russians would meet in Sochi, a Russian resort on the Black Sea. He said, “It’s the absence of this discussion that makes me wonder if NATO has done enough of its homework at this point on this front.”

Oh yeah, and Mr. Ischinger neglects to mention that the corrupt ex-Chancellor of Germany has assumed the CEO job of the "Friendship Pipeline" and Gerhard Schroeder plays the game of senior blackmailer in the German opposition based on Russian threats to raise the price of natural gas. Later, GWB gets damned by faint praise:
Derek Chollet, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security in Washington, said Mr. Bush’s speech was “a combination of valedictory and marker-laying.” Mr. Bush will probably lose the argument on Ukraine and Georgia, Mr. Chollet said. “But he doesn’t care so much, and he believes he’s on the right side of the issue.

Luckily, the USA itself is lavishly blessed with coal and natural gas, as the Wall Street Journal notes in an article. Were the US to allow gas and oil exploitation of the North Slope in Alaska, which could be done with a negligible environmental footprint, the execs of Chevron and Exxon-Mobil & Shell would not be reporting to Congress which is farcically trying to blame big oil for its own silly environmental blockade of the North Slope.

The United States is the Saudi Arabia of coal and its coal is high-quality anthracite rather than the awful brown coal which makes Beijing's skies a puce pallor. Coalbed methane and a lot of other technologies can lessen the already low impact American coal development will have on the environment.

Sadly, Europe remains a hostage to Russia and its own dishonest political elites in the NATO/natural gas tug of war which the NYT in its usual dishonesty neglects to mention.

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