BRAMA, May 12, 2010, 9:00 AM ET
Gas Deals and Environmental Oil Disasters Linked to Political Swamp
By Boris Danik
The deal that Ukraine's new President V. Yanukovych made with Russia a
gas price cut in exchange for a formal extension of the Russian fleet's
presence in Sevastopol is "a shocking trade-off" in the view of Yulia
Tymoshenko, the opposition leader.
Without intentional mimicking, the Sevastopol syndrome is also evident in
America's military presence at Okinawa in Japan, where the US has a major
Marine base, despite Japan's longstanding attempts to get rid of it.
The two countries have a 50 year-old treaty (actually more than one, some
of which had been concluded secretly), under which the USA provides a
wide-ranging military protection umbrella for Japan against all sorts of
enemies. Some call it a protection racket.
But that's where the analogy between the Russian and American models ends.
On the energy scene (gas and oil), Russia deals the cards to its own
advantage, whereas the US seems to shoot itself in the foot. The devil is
in the antagonistic and often hostile US relations with foreign
oil-producing countries, as well as in the punch of the domestic oil
The ongoing environmental oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico along the US
shoreline is a catastrophe that was waiting to happen, despite assurances
from the oil industry that the technology exists making it next to
The business elite, and the politicians that it buys, tell us that the
deep-sea oil drilling must continue unabated because "the dependence on
foreign oil is a national security problem."
This premise, the syllogism, and the implications are the pre-judged
The US will always depend on foreign oil, unless the renewable energy
sources replace oil and gas (which is long in aspirations). And yet such
a dependence is not a security threat, unless the US policy toward the
oil-producing countries is made at variance with the US national interest
by internal political and media pressures. Such pressures propel this
country into self-ruinous military adventures, financed by borrowed money.
The cultivated group-think is replete with nonsense at the emotional
level, "we are paying huge amounts of dollars for foreign oil," is a
typical expression of simulated resentment. It is as if the energy prices
were not market-driven, or if the domestically obtained oil were selling
cheaper in America than the imported oil.
The issues of the catastrophic environmental damage from the offshore oil
driling are being sidelined into the ideological territory at the expense
of the genuine economic interest of the country as a whole.
Such issues are being stripped of the moral dimension by the promulgation
of self-serving enrichment priorities that are elevated from the political
swamp by sheer rhetoric into which even President Obama is dragged
against his own better judgement that was shown in the 2008 election
Dr. Boris Danik
North Caldwell, NJ
May 4, 2010
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