A slap on the wrist

Been on holiday enjoying the Commonwealth games the last few days, most post something on that soon.

Anyway one big story was the repercussions from the shoot down of the Malaysian airliner MH17 over Ukraine. Incidentally I am aware of the various libertarian fruit cakes :crazy: and other tinfoil hat wearers who are doubting Russian/rebl involvement. But this involves ignoring the blindingly obvious while applying unwavering and uncritical weighting to Russia’s less than reputable news outlets. It is rather odd to say the least to see those supposedly committed to free market small government, buying into the propaganda from a bunch of ex-communist authoritarians in the Kremlin.

But I digress, the Europeans are very angry :## with Putin over this whole incident. So angry that they had a meeting the other week in which they agreed to do…absolutely nothing (a pity there’s no smiley for tumbleweed at this point!). The British still seem keen on helping Putin’s billionaire buddies launder billions through our banks, the Germans are still planning to sell the Russians all the high tech gizmo’s they need to run their economy (and Army), while the French are even considering going ahead with a sale of two aircraft carriers to Russia :no:

If this is the raw end of Europe’s wrath, why it’s just as well Putin didn’t do anything really bad like invade Poland or something, as that would have probably led to Cameron and Merkel threatening to hold their breath until they passed out :))

Of course the worry for the EU is that they don’t want to jeopardise Russian Gas supplies. As I’ve discussed before, while there are no short term solutions here there are still plenty of things they could be doing to limit our exposure to a future shortage of Russian gas, notably energy conservation, in particular as regards improving building performance in winter.

But equally one needs to realise that Russia needs to sell the gas to Europe as much as the EU needs to buy it. Even thought there was talk of a Russian deal to sell gas to China recently, its important to realise that the pipeline to move that gas is still in the construction phase. Furthermore it will only export about 0.9Tcf of NG v’s a Chinese demand of 5.1Tcf, although further exports by LNG tanker are probable. Even so this gas will come from a separate gas field the other side of the Urals, not the ones that feed Europe, so unless Putin wants to make a large number of Natural Gas workers redundant.

Israeli war crimes
There’s also the crisis in Gaza to consider. Here again war crimes are being openly committed by both sides, Israel in particular. Israel justifies this by effectively trying to argue that not only does two wrongs make a right, but over 1,000 wrongs (at the latest Palestinian body count) makes a right. The UN is quite rightly pointing out that this is clearly a war crime yet the West does nothing, even though there is a great many things we could do, such as an asset freeze on all Israeli citizens and an arms embargo.

Of course part of the problem here is that many in western governments (or indeed the media) dare not openly criticise Israel as they fear being branded anti-Semitic and losing the support of Jewish voters back home. This is of course silly for two reasons.

It means that we assume that not only do all Israeli citizens, but all Jews, offer unwavering support for Israeli foreign policy and believe the Israeli government is infallible and has never been wrong about anything, ever…now I would argue that if anything should be deemed as anti-Semitic, it is such stereotyping.

And what about the many people in the UK and the West (Jewish, Christian, Islamic or FSM) who are appalled by Israel’s actions? Last time I checked we were supposed to be a democracy and is anyone really suggesting that we should set foreign policy and ignore international law on the basis that we might upset a tiny (deluded) minority. I can easily see Israel actions in Gaza being eventually used by some dictator to justify their atrocities. Indeed Putin has previously justified bombing of civilian areas in Chechnya on the basis that Israel has done the same thing.

Either way Europe’s reaction to Putin or Israel reminds me of the policy of “appeasement” of the 1930’s, and we know how that worked out! Clearly anything of any military use, flak jackets, IR goggles and certainly aircraft carriers should not be sold to Russia or Israel (I’d question the ethics of selling such things to any regimes with such poor human rights records, regardless of recent events). And equally the UK should be kicking the likes to Putin’s cronies out of London, if not doing them as accomplices to corruption.


3 thoughts on “A slap on the wrist

  1. It is all so complicated. I find I can’t wholeheartedly take one side or the other in the Israel/Palestine set-up. Yes the Israelis are committing war crimes … but Hamas need to stop firing their rockets, it’s totally self-defeating … although the Israeli reaction means that the Palestinians are winning the propaganda war. What a tragic mess.


    • “A tragic mess”

      If you were to write a book about middle east politics covering any time from the 10th century to the present day, I think this would be a good title for it!


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