Friday, July 19, 2013

Russia breaks into top 5 world economies, displacing Germany...

RT reports:

Russia has overtaken Germany as the fifth largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity, according to the latest World Bank ranking that measures 214 economies based on their 2012 GDP performance.

Russia's oil and export driven economy, ranked fifth amongst the top ten economies in the world with $3.4 trillion in GDP. In 2011, Germany surpassed Russia in GDP with $3.227 trillion compared to Russia’s $3.203 trillion. In 2005, Russia was in eighth place.

The report was published last week in an annual ranking of GDP. The World Bank also updated their ranking of countries in terms of gross national product (GNP) per capita, grouping Russia in the ‘high income’ nation block, with individuals yearly income of $12,616 or more.

The United States was ranked by the World Bank as the world's largest economy by purchasing power parity last year with $15.7 trillion, followed by China with $12.5 trillion, India with $4.8 trillion, and Japan with $4.5 trillion.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev publicly lauded the advance on Monday, as did President Vladimir Putin, but warning his country still needs to be financially vigilant.

"The World Bank has concluded that Russia has the purchasing power of the fifth economy in the world. According to this indicator, we are ahead of the Federal Republic of Germany. But we have a lot of areas that still need special attention", Putin said at a socio-economic meeting in the Sakhalin region, an energy rich Far East island north of Japan where Rosneft just put the final touches on a new drilling platform ‘Orlan’ in the Sea of Okhotsk. Sakhalin-1, a joint venture with Japan, India, and the US, has reserves of 2.3 billion barrels of oil and 485 billion cubic meters of gas.

In June, the World Bank cut its growth forecast for Russia to less than 2.2 percent in 2013 and 3 percent in 2014, after revising January forecast the economy would grow by 3.6 percent in and 3.9 percent in 2014. This is the 'new normal' for lethargic global demand and momentum, according to the report's author Andrew Burns.

The World Bank rating differs from the International Monetary Fund, where Russia is listed as the eighth largest economy with a GDP of $2 trillion. The same matrix calculates the US GDP as the first with $15.7 trillion, China second with $8.2 trillion, Japan third with $6 trillion, Germany fourth with $3.4 trillion, France fifth with $2.6 trillion, the United Kingdom sixth with $2.4 trillion, and Brazil seventh with $2.4 trillion.

The purchasing power parity rate is determined on how many goods and services $1.00 can buy in different countries.

Rankings were only assigned to economies with confirmed PPP GDP estimates.

Commentary: though this report does point to something relevant, it is easy to misunderstand what it really says about the Russian economy or, for that matter, the US economy.  First, purchasing power parity (PPP) is a rather weird economic indicator. The excellent "Simple English Wikipedia" explains it with a well chosen example:
Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) is measured by finding the values (in USD) of a basket of consumer goods that are present in each country (such as orange juice, pencils, etc.). If that basket costs $100 in the US and $200 in England, than purchasing power parity exchange rate is 1:2.
Clearly PPP is centered on the costs of living and not really on how much is produced by an economy.  In simple terms, it measure how "relatively rich" the population is.  Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is also a weird indicator (check here for more details).

What I am getting at here is that when the media says that "Russia displaces Germany" by the size of its economy this elicits images of Russian manufacturers outperforming BMW, Siemens or Deutsche Telekom.  This is not so.  Simply put, the huge natural reserves of Russia, in particular in energy products, generate a lot of wealth in Russia and this output of raw materials has a direct impact on both the PPP and the GDP.  So yes, there is a lot of money in Russia but no, this is not the result of the Russian economy outperforming Germany's in manufacturing or services.  BTW - if the Russian PPP and GDP as skewed by the export of Russian raw materials, the US PPP and GDP are skewed by the huge size of the US banking/financial sector which also does not really "produce" anything.  Bottom line: PPP and GDP are tricky indicators which should not be used as a way of measuring the "real world" capabilities of an economy...

Friday, July 5, 2013

Nabucco: How the pipeline became a pipedream...

Nabucco: How the pipeline became a pipedream...

Nabucco was the lynchpin of America’s grand strategy to isolate Russia, but in the end the hunter became the hunted.
The covert energy war for domination of Caspian energy has ended in a humiliating defeat for the West, with the American midwifed Nabucco pipeline being stillborn.
Nabucco failed because it was a political pipeline. The $31 billion gas bridge was conceived to detach Central Asia from Russian influence. This gigantic pump was designed to divert 30 billion cubic metres of gas (nearly 10 percent of Europe’s annual consumption) away from Russian pipelines.
Egged on by the United States, the Europeans began to have fantasies about dirt cheap energy from a region floating on a sea of oil and gas. Like small minded shopkeepers they forgot that barring the 2006 spat with Ukraine, the Russians had been reliable suppliers of Siberian gas for over 30 years.
However, the Russians had the foresight – and the diplomatic muscle – to see the project fail. In June 2009 when the Europeans were about to ink an agreement on Nabucco, a leading Moscow-based commentator ridiculed their “chaotic chanting”.
Alexander Knyazev, director of the regional branch of the Institute of the CIS, said the support for the project reminded him of the haunting chorus of Hebrew slaves from Verdi's opera – “beautiful, yet altogether gloomy and hopeless”.
It was an eerily prescient remark.

Nabucco: Dubious intent

Washington's geopolitical bible is "The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives". In this misguided tome, former US National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski says by creating instability in every country in Russia’s neighbourhood, especially in the Central Asian stans and Ukraine, and disrupting the flow of oil and gas, the US can isolate Russia, so that Moscow ceases to be a great power.
Brzezinski openly espouses provoking instability by exploiting the ethnic and religious diversity of the region. The term "Arc of Instability" came into use in the1970s to refer to a 'Muslim Crescent' extending from Afghanistan to the stans in the southern part of the former Soviet Union.
Nabucco was one of the ways the United States tried to turn this baleful fantasy into reality.

Russia steps on the gas

Nabucco was actually the West’s Plan B. The original pipeline envisaged bringing gas from Turkmenistan and even arch enemy Iran. However, the problem was Turkmenistan never seemed to make up its mind.
It doesn’t take a petroleum scientist to guess that Russians may have applied pressure. But what finally made Turkmenistan cry off was the sharp increase in instability in neighbouring Uzbekistan after the country opened up to Westerners. Wisely, the Turkmens decided all the petro dollars in the world weren’t worth it if it meant Western meddling in their internal affairs.
Iran now became Europe’s new poster boy. However, with the United States going after Iran over its alleged nuclear weapons programme, Iranian gas became more hot air than reality. The dominoes were falling.
Europe and the United States now decided to skip Turkmenistan altogether and instead decided to start in Azerbaijan. The new section was named Nabucco.
The problem now was that the pipeline had lost its main objective – to cut the Central Asian republics loose from Russia. So a new raison d’ĂȘtre was found. Nabucco was, said its backers, the key to weakening Russian influence on Europe by reducing dependency on Siberian gas. In reality, the West was spending a fortune on advertising a rank bad product.

Streams of gas

Because Nabucco’s sole purpose was to eat Russia’s lunch, the Russians went after it with a vengeance. Firstly, like a giant sponge, the Russian gas conglomerates soaked up all available natural gas in Central Asia and the Caspian to deny supplies to Nabucco. Secondly, in 2007, Vladimir Putin unveiled – or rather unleashed – South Stream.
South Stream is a $39 billion competing pipeline crisscrossing Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia and Italy that would carry gas to Europe. Importantly, the pipeline would bypass troublesome Ukraine, which seemed to be doing exactly what the United States wants – block Russian gas.
Then with the speed of a mechanised column – and against very obstacle put in its way by Eastern European nations – the Russians, with German backing, built Nord Stream. This 1222 km natural gas pipeline transports gas from Vyborg in northern Russia to Greifswald in Germany. Again, it bypassed the Baltic countries, thereby removing any possibility of disruption.
Nord Stream was crucial to Russia’s energy strategy because it demonstrated to Western Europe – its main gas consumer – that Moscow was serious about ensuring uninterrupted flow of energy to Europe. It deflated allegations that Russia wanted to strangle Europe.
Putin’s Stream strategy paid off. As Nabucco kept getting shorter, newer and more nimble players saw an opportunity and jumped in. Finally, the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) got the nod. Because TAP can only transport a third of what Nabucco planned to, it doesn’t pose a threat to Russia’s interests.

Day after Nabucco

The very nature of a gas war makes it an extremely high stakes affair. Because gas pipelines are so expensive to build and cannot be rerouted (like ships), it is normal for buyers and sellers to ink long-term – often 20-30 year – agreements. This brings together producers and consumers as well as transit countries in a sort of pipeline alliance. Because all transit nations get a fee from the pipeline owners, there is every reason for them to have stables relations with one another.
For the Americans, that is bad news. Russia’s linkages with German, for instance, deepened after Moscow built the Siberian natural gas pipeline into the heart of Europe in the 1980s. That pipeline was built despite immense American pressure to scuttle the project...

Biggest losers

No.1 United States; No.2 Turkey. Having outsized geopolitical ambitions, Turkey was hoping to draw the Central Asian Stans away from Russia into a Turkic embrace.
Plus, by becoming the main transit hub of Central Asian gas to Europe, it hoped to cozy up to Europe, which has rebuffed all attempts by Ankara to enter the European Union. Germany and France have made it abundantly clear that Europe ends at Turkey’s border. With Nabucco, Turkey was hoping to redraw that line.
The Turks were among the biggest cheerleaders for Nabucco as they were expecting a $680 million transit fee. That annual bonus is not coming back.


While the crystal would surely be clinking in the Kremlin, what remains to be seen is if South Stream would proceed as planned. In the near future, the bulk of Russian gas is destined to go east, not west. It is Asia’s ravenous economies, especially China’s, that will sustain tomorrow’s energy industry, while Europe is still on its knees...
No new European deals are in sight currently but Russia has entered into a 25-year gas contract with China, for which Beijing will pay an unprecedented $60 billion advance. In this backdrop it remains to be seen if Europe gets the leftovers or whether it regains its place in Russia’s export strategy...
As for the United States, the Nabucco wipeout, coming shortly after the global spying expose, is a taste of things to come in an increasingly multi-polar world...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Europeans all play "raped virgins" yet not a single one is offering to receive the man who let them know about them being raped...

The Zioconned Europeans all play "raped virgins" yet not a single one is offering to receive the man who let them know about them being raped...they are the worst hypocrites on the Planet...

European politicians are one sorry bunch of spineless liars. Man, each time I see their faces I feel like smashing it with a brick. They are ALL the same - the "New Europe" or the "Old Europe" spineless, sold out, lying hypocrites, people of no honor, no decency, no vision, no opinion, nothing. Just little grey bureaucrats who take themselves oh so seriously, but who sell their own mothers in a blink of an eye.

As a person who knows Europe well, I will say this: Europe *deserves* to be America's bitch, a pompous vapid collection of banana republics whom the Anglos are literally pillaging (thanks to the printing press of the Fed) but who just have no courage to object, however meekly.

De Gaulle was probably the last real European. After May 68 a generation of terminal morons took over and corrupted everything they touched.

From De Gaulle to Hollandouille sans couilles, via Cohen-Bendit. Nuff said.

RIP Europe...
I have read a report about all the outrage the so-called "Snowden revelation" have triggered in Europe.  I was particularly amused by German politicians asking why New Zealand, Canada, Australia and the UK were *allegedly* excluded from the NSA spying program while Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, has ordered a massive security sweep of the EC offices.

What massive load of bovine excreta!!

First, let me assure you that all the European politicians have known for *years* that the US spies on them.  The French, in particular, have lost many juicy contracts to the USA because of successful US spying.  

Second, all European governments participate to various degrees in one form or another of electronic spying.  Even independent Switzerland has its own mini-ECHELON called Onyx.

Third, all European politicians and government officials know that continental Europe is a US colony and that while NATO countries can play at the silly "partnership game", some are more equal then others, in this case: it is an Anglo Empire, for and by Anglos, and all others can go and screw themselves.

Fourth, European intelligences services share massive amount of data with each other and, of course, with the Anglo "Big Brothers". That is also something which every single European politician or government official knows.

So why the big hysteria?  Why all the dramatic posturing?

For one simple reason: European politicians and government officials do not want the general population of Europe to realize that the entire continent is just a pathetic, submissive and fully controlled US colony, run by local satraps who all, repeat, ALL work for Uncle Sam!

That is what is going on.  Uncle Sam does not want the US public to know that there is no such thing as private communications in the USA, while European politicians do not want the European public to know that they are all prostitutes working for the Anglos.

As for Snowden, and I will repeat it here: he did not "reveal" anything....   Don't take my word on it, but you can trust Putin who openly said so as have quite a few Russian experts including and at least one former FAPSI official, Duma members, and others.  Snowden was a junior sysadmin for CIA, NSA and Booz Allen Hamilton who knew far less than any medium ranked Russian intelligence official would know.  His "revelations" are only "revelations" for the general public, not for professionals.

The sweep of EC offices ordered by Barroso is just part of some kind of ridiculous Kabuki theater aimed at convincing the European public that EU officials are both upset and determined.  Let me tell you this: Barroso knows full well that the NSA does not need to put bugs in his office to snoop on his telephone calls or emails.

What we are fed by the politicians and their corporate media is absolute, total and unadulterated baloney.  Crap. Bull.  Nonsense.  Garbage.  Call it whatever you want, but for Heaven's sake do not take that seriously.

I find it revolting that not a single European politician, NOT ONE, has had the guts to say what I wrote above.  They all know it, every single one of them, and yet they are playing "raped virgins"...

Disgusting beyond words.

PS: thanks to Wikileaks, I discovered that besides having its own mini-ECHELON "Onyx", Switzerland also has a real-time Internet interception program of its own which has been working since August 1, 2009. Makes me wonder if Andorra, Lichtenstein and Monaco also engage in that kind of spying...