Monday, March 10, 2014


Another Face Palm moment. Rand Paul of Kentucky won the CPAC presidential straw poll this weekend and he has a solution to the crisis in Ukraine. To borrow from someone who shall remain nameless, it’s “Drill Baby, drill.” Especially for natural gas so we can export it to Europe and break the Russian monopoly.

Where to start. By the time anything comes on line Ukraine will either have reached a truce with the Russians or will be back in the Russian orbit. Whatever happens it will be painful. There’s a lot of bad blood, bad history, pride and politics laying between those countries. They don’t exactly hate each others innards but it’s a close run thing.

To top it off  various sections of the Ukraine has spent most of the last thousand years belonging to someone else. They’re a proud people and they do deserve a chance to carve out something resembling an independent destiny. However. If say Mexico went off the rails and decided to build a socialized economy resembling the revolution in Nicaragua just how far do you think they’d be allowed to go.

One of the reasons we’re having immigration problems now is that no one wants to admit that allowing Mexicans to work in this country and send money home was one way of propping up a semi dictatorship south of the border. And that worked out so well for us.

Anyway, back to natural gas and eastern Europe. We do not have a state run energy industry in this country. Outside of the Strategic Reserve it’s a “free market” economy. Our companies sell to the highest bidder. And right now the highest bidders with the easiest to reach customers are in Asia, not Europe.

The Ukraine is trying to come out of it’s third recession since the mid 2000’s. So, how they going to pay for that gas and oil?  Our companies aren’t going to give it away and I doubt if they’ll take grain, sugar beets and manufactured products in trade.

And if they manage to pay for it, how are we going to get it to them. There is a pipeline network originating in Russia. Somehow I don’t think it’s set up to pipe products into Ukraine from the west. “Hey, Vlad. We’d like to borrow your pipelines for several hours a day.” Big blank picture of that happening.

That leaves tankering the gas through the Med into the Black Sea. Can we even move that much natural gas at this time? The export facilities in this country are still on the drawing boards in this country. For some peculiar reason many port cities don’t want liquefied natural gas facilities. I can’t imagine why. I mean the energy industry has been doing such a sterling job monitoring pollution and transportation safety. What’s the problem? Yeah, I thought so.

And finally. I’m sure that the Russians are just going to stand by twiddling their thumbs as tanker after tanker of natural gas and oil offloads right under their noses. Yeah, I thought so.

So as usual the speech is meant to galvanize the “base.” Said base probably couldn’t find the Ukraine on a map with a compass, telescope, GPS, seeing eye dog and a great big red arrow titled “this is the Ukraine.”  Face palm, head desk, loud raspberry.

Almost done, finally, with Russia and the Russians. Unless Russia has really changed how they run their economy since the Soviet Union collapsed I'm not sure how long they can keep up their great power pretensions. And from the accusations of oligarchy, corruption and favoritism is guessing it hasn't Of course OUR economy isn't exactly smelling a rose either one you get past the stock market so our great power pretensions may not be looking so good either. 

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