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    BRAMA News and Community Press

    BRAMA, May 12, 2010, 9:00 AM ET

    Op-ed

    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 lobby.

    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 impossible.

    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 concoctions.

    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 campaign.

    Dr. Boris Danik
    North Caldwell, NJ
    May 4, 2010

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