Sunday, December 7, 2014

Today's Links

"Turkey – the jewel in Empire’s crown, the linchpin of Washington’s "containment" policy towards Russia since the dawn of the original Cold War – has now effectively defected to the Russian camp......


No doubt the Brusselcrats and Bulgarians alike expected Russia to give in to their extortion, having already invested much in the project. Putin’s announcement canceling the pipeline came as a shock. Right away, the media began to spin the news to fit the official narrative of Russia inevitably collapsing before the ever-victorious and perpetually righteous West. Yet very few observers have bothered to note that Putin’s abandonment of South Stream was no defeat, but a grand strategic victory......   Bulgaria has just lost a major potential source of revenue, with no replacements in sight, and been exposed as a spineless lackey of Brussels and Washington.   ....


Still, the fate of Serbia, Bosnia or Bulgaria is of lesser import right now than the explosive fact of Turkey’s defection from Empire’s camp. That Ankara was so irritated by its Western "partners" to turn to its biggest historical rival instead is a profound commentary on the quality of "partnership" with the Empire. Try as it might, the Empire can no longer control the media narrative: thanks to the Internet, nations around the world have been able to see for themselves the consequences of Empire’s "democracy-building," from Iraq and Afghanistan to Libya, Syria and the Ukraine. A desert called peace, indeed!"  ,     South Stream Blues, antiwar.com


CEO Alexei Miller said Saturday.
"Our strategy is changing with regard to the European market. The decision to scrap South Stream is the end of our way of working when we focused on delivering [gas] to the end consumer on the European market," Miller, who appeared on the Vesti v Subbotu (Vesti on Saturday) TV show, told its host Sergey Brilev.
He confirmed that EU member states will have to purchase gas on Turkey-Greece border.
...
Ukraine’s Role as Gas Transit Country to Be Nullified: Gazprom CEO
Russian energy giant Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said Saturday that Ukraine’s role as a gas transit country would be nullified due to Nord Stream gas pipeline and new pipeline to Turkey.


-South stream decision "final", UPI




1--Worst legislation ever?  H. Res. 758 was billed as a resolution “strongly condemning the actions of the Russian Federation, under President Vladimir Putin, which has carried out a policy of aggression against neighboring countries aimed at political and economic domination.”, zero hedge


The resolution (paragraph 3) accuses Russia of an invasion of Ukraine and condemns Russia’s violation of Ukrainian sovereignty. The statement is offered without any proof of such a thing. Surely with our sophisticated satellites that can read a license plate from space we should have video and pictures of this Russian invasion. None have been offered....

The resolution (paragraph 11) accuses the people in east Ukraine of holding “fraudulent and illegal elections” in November. Why is it that every time elections do not produce the results desired by the US government they are called “illegal” and “fraudulent”?

The resolution (paragraph 13) demands a withdrawal of Russia forces from Ukraine even though the US government has provided no evidence the Russian army was ever in Ukraine. ..

The resolution (paragraph 14) states with certainty that the Malaysia Airlines flight 17 that crashed in Ukraine was brought down by a missile “fired by Russian-backed separatist forces in eastern Ukraine.” This is simply incorrect...


2--Wage growth slows everywhere, wsws


The Global Wage Report 2014/15, released Friday by the International Labor Organization, documents the stagnation of wages for workers in most of the advanced industrialized countries, even as productivity continues to rise. The result is an ever-rising share of income raked in by the capitalist class, while the share that workers receive from what they produce continues to shrink.


"Wage growth has slowed to almost zero for the developed economies as a group in the last two years, with actual declines in wages in some," said Sandra Polaski, the ILO's Deputy Director-General for Policy. "This has weighed on overall economic performance, leading to sluggish household demand in most of these economies and the increasing risk of deflation in the Eurozone," she said....


In the two advanced countries with the greatest income inequality, Spain and the United States, job losses and wage cuts accounted for nearly all the increase in inequality.
Perhaps the most devastating fact in the report is this: "Overall, in the group of developed economies, real wage growth lagged behind labour productivity growth over the period 1999 to 2013." This means that throughout this 14-year period, the share of national income going to the working class declined, while the share of national income going to the capitalists, a tiny minority of the population, steadily increased.


3--QE explained: "All there is in the market is shares of stock and money. And if the number of shares keeps going down and the money to buy those shares held by institutions keeps going up, stock prices are going to go up regardless of the PE regardless of anything else."  Trim Tabs


Stock prices will keep going up as long as the number of shares keeps going down as long as more money keeps chasing fewer shares even though the economy is not growing. ...(higher interest rates means less float shrink, so market will tank if Fed raises rates)


The Fed will not be able to raise rates, because it will wreck whatever growth we have....In January, all economists surveyed said interest rates had to go up this year, and they haven't.


4---Fundamental economic restructuring (away from wage earners to capital and investor class) continues in most G-8 countries: Central Banks Will Stay Easy in 2015, Because They Have No Choice, Bloomberg


“Given the slow and unsteady nature of the recovery, supportive policy remains necessary,” Fed Chair Janet Yellen said on Nov. 7 at a conference of central bankers in Paris. Monetary officials should keep trying extraordinary measures, Yellen argued, especially because fiscal policy today remains “somewhat contractionary.” ....


The International Monetary Fund in October forecast that the global economy will expand 3.8 percent in 2015, up from an estimated 3.3 percent for 2014 but below the boom years of 2004 to 2007, when growth was 4.9 percent or higher. ....


With weak growth in major economies, central banks, including the Fed and the BOE, are likely to remain relatively dovish in the near future, says Gustavo Reis, a global economist at Bank of America Corp. “They’re going to be very sensitive to what’s happening to the economy and act conditionally on the data,” he says. This will certainly be true when they finally start raising interest rates, which have been near record lows for years. “When they do hike, they’re going to do so slowly and carefully....


“Lowflation is the new enemy as it harms debtors, reduces the scope for negative real interest rates and damages central bank credibility,” Joachim Fels, Morgan Stanley’s chief international economist, said in a report to clients this week. ....


Punishing Savers ...


Heavy Debt

There’s another reason for central bankers to go slow on rate hikes: The world is swimming in debt.
The level of debt in the global economy, excluding financial companies, is up by more than a third since 2008, according to a September report by the International Center for Monetary and Banking Studies in Geneva. The report concludes that the potential global growth rate has dropped to less than 3 percent from about 4.5 percent prior to 2008.
The more debt there is, the greater the cost to governments, businesses and consumers of higher rates -- and that translates into a worse drag on growth.


Central bank balance sheets aren’t going back to normal any more than rates are. After three rounds of quantitative easing in the U.S., the Fed held a record $4.5 trillion of assets on its balance sheet at the end of October, up from less than $1 trillion in 2007.
The U.S. central bank and the BOE have said they won’t start selling the securities they have acquired until after they begin raising rates. The BOJ and ECB, of course, are still adding assets....


(a stunning admission) Reliant Markets

Stock markets have become reliant on monetary support, says Matt King, global head of credit strategy at Citigroup Inc. He estimates that central banks need to pump about $200 billion into the global economy every quarter to keep stocks from falling -- and that no net monetary stimulus would cause a 10 percent quarterly drop.
The sudden sell-off in October was a reaction to the withdrawal of central bank support, which was as high as $1 trillion per quarter in 2012, King says, and the rebound was spurred by expectations that the BOJ and ECB would do more -- which they did...


Jeremy Stein, a former Fed governor who’s now at Harvard, cautions that sometimes the needed medicine is to drain some liquidity out of the markets. Raising interest rates, as a remedy, “gets in all the cracks,” he says.


5---Japan’s ‘zombienomics’, JT


In reality Abe relied on only one, monetary policy, which exacerbated Japan’s problems.
The rich have gotten richer as trillions of monetary easing devalued the yen and propelled stock market gains. Huge increases in company profits have not been passed on in higher wages, in spite of Abe’s urging of corporate leaders, so consumers are fearful, not surprisingly after 16 successive months of falling wage levels. It is not clear yet whether the falling yen has boosted exports sufficiently. Japan’s motorists have barely felt the benefit of falling oil prices....


Government debt is 250 percent of GDP and set to grow with the burdens of pension and health costs of an aging population. The extra 2 percent consumption tax was supposed to help upgrade the system of elderly care as well as bridge the swelling budget deficit.


6---UN report reveals Israeli links with Syria Takfiris, Press TV


A report recently submitted to the UN Security Council has revealed that the Israeli regime’s military has regular contacts with Takfiri militant groups operating against the Syrian government.
The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which has monitored the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights since 1974, said in the report that Israeli officers and the foreign-backed terrorists have “direct cooperation” on the Syrian border over the past 18 months, Haaretz reported on Sunday.
The UNDOF further said they saw Israeli soldiers “on the eastern side of the border fence opening the gate and letting two people enter Israel.”
The peacekeepers also acknowledged that Israel has been admitting injured militants for medical treatment in Safed and Nahariya hospitals.
“UNDOF observed at least 10 wounded persons being transferred by armed members of the opposition from the Bravo side across the ceasefire line,” according to the report


7--Fact or fiction?  Mossad training ISIL terrorists: Putin aide, press tv


A senior aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused Israel’s spy agency, Mossad, of training ISIL terrorists operating in Iraq and Syria, Press TV reports.
Alexander Prokhanov told Press TV that Mossad is also likely to have transferred some of its spying experiences to the ISIL leadership, adding that Israel’s military advisors could be assisting the Takfiri terrorists.
Prokhanov said ISIL is a byproduct of US policies in the Middle East.
"ISIL is a tool at the hands of the United States. They tell the Europeans that if we (the Americans) do not intervene, ISIL will cause you harm," he said, adding that Iran and Russia are the prime targets of the ISIL.
"They launched their first terror attack against us just a few days back in Chechnya," he said, stressing that the ISIL ideology has got nothing to do with the Islam practiced in Iran and some other Muslim countries in the Middle East region.
Prokhanov said the United States and Israel are one and the same when it comes to supporting a terror organization like the ISIL


8---EU to press Turkey on ISIL and Russian sanctions, Zaman


The EU delegation will be in Turkey on Monday and Tuesday in one of the highest-profile EU visits of the last few years.....


One of the most important items on the EU officials' agenda is the need for closer cooperation against ISIL militants, including stopping the flow of militants from Europe to Syria via Turkey, and cutting off the militants' revenue streams.
Turkey has been a target of criticism from European countries for allegedly turning a blind eye to foreign fighters crossing into Syria via Turkish territory. Turkey denies those allegations and says that European countries should stop foreign fighters from traveling to the region from their countries. The EU wants Turkey to do more to identify foreign fighters.
The high level visit comes only a week after Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Turkey.
The other important issue for the EU officials is Turkey's lack of support for the Western sanctions against Russia over its invasion of parts of Ukraine. The EU will continue to press Turkey to join in the sanctions, or at least not to take advantage of the current situation by exporting certain products to Russia....


During Putin's visit, the two countries agreed to boost economic ties and Putin announced that Russia will stop the construction of the South Stream natural gas pipeline project to supply gas to Europe without crossing Ukraine, and named Turkey as its preferred partner for an alternative pipeline. Putin said that those who want Russian natural gas may buy it from Turkey now, as Russia and Turkey signed an agreement to build a natural gas hub on Turkey's border with Greece. The news of Russia's decision to drop the South Stream project has caused worry in the EU, at a time when EU countries and the US have imposed sanctions on Russia due to the situation in Ukraine.


9---Can Turkey and Russia smooth bumpy roads ahead?. alarabiya


In December 2004, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Turkey, which marked the first presidential visit in the history of Turkish-Russian relations besides that of the Chairman of the Presidium, Nikolai Podgorny, in 1972.
Turkey has never been keen to take concrete sides in a possible conflict and on various occasions, has made it clear it does not support conflicting worldviews. And so, Putin’s visit this week means a lot for Turkey-Russia relations at a time when both states support different fronts in the Syrian civil war. But we should not forget that Turkey has become much more important in the eyes of Russia as it finds itself squeezed in the international arena.....


When the EU decided to stop exporting fruits and vegetables to Russia, Turkey rose as a very important exporter of vegetables at a time when most needed. There is currently $7 billion worth of Turkish investment in Russia: These facts surely soften Russia’s stance on many issues including the price of natural gas exports and foreign policy matters. Putin noted on Monday during a news conference in Ankara with President Erdogan that Turkey would receive a discount on gas and an additional three billion cubic meters of gas annually. According to additional statements from Putin, Russia has made a swift decision to stop the construction of the South Stream Pipeline in Bulgaria, where the construction was halted by the Bulgarian government, and redirect the construction route to Turkey where the pipeline will be connected to a wellhead in Greece if it can be economically justified by market conditions in Europe....


the U.S. doesn’t seem at ease with the Turkey’s fondness for the Russian markets. Due to visa-free travel opportunities between Russia and Turkey, businessmen of both nations can easily invest in each other’s territories.
I can safely say this does not signify any sort of policy shift for Turkey, nor will it lead to Turkey leaving NATO and applying to be a member of the Shanghai Corporation Organization. Natural borders will remain intact. Public opinion in Turkey has always been more in line with the Western bloc. But completely casting Russia out of Turkey’s spectrum is also not on the horizon for now.


10---Gazprom and BOTAŞ, respectively Russia and Turkey’s largest state owned energy companies, signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding on the construction of an offshore gas pipeline across the Black Sea from Russia to Turkey on December 1, 2014. Meanwhile, Putin announced that the Russian Federation cancelled the $50 bn South Stream gas pipeline that would have been capable of transporting 63 bcm of natural gas per year from the southwest coast of Russia to the Bulgarian coast across the Black Sea. This project was seen as important for southern and central European countries in terms of gas supply because it would have eliminated Ukraine as a transit country. Now, however, Russia’s president has indicated that Europe’s gas demand will now be fulfilled via Turkey instead of Bulgaria.

The South Stream project has been under construction since 2007 but it has been beset with restrictions imposed on it by EU competition rules’ and is now faltering due to economic sanctions imposed on Russia by EU countries.


11---Just a quarter of the gas supplied will remain in Turkey, while the rest will flow through Greece and onwards to Europe., wsws


Turkish newspapers celebrated this as a Turkish-Russian energy alliance. NATO member Turkey would thus become a centre for the export of Russian gas. This would in turn affect plans for the trans-Anatolian and trans-Adriatic pipelines (TANAP and TAP), which were built as replacements for the Nabucco project. Instead of reducing Europe’s dependence on Russian gas, they could now be used to transport Russian gas to Europe. “The partnership with [Turkish president Recep Tayyip] Erdogan is an opportunity for Putin to maintain his influence on supplying Europe with energy,” commented Die Zeit.
The energy agreement with Turkey is part of a broader strategic reorientation. Last summer, Russia signed a major deal to supply gas to China. Along with the supply of gas, Russia has also agreed to the building of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant and a vast expansion of trade in both directions. Turkey will thus benefit directly due to the sanctions imposed by the EU and United States.
....
Putin blamed the European Union (EU) for the project’s abandonment. “If Europe doesn’t want this project, then it won’t be realised,” he said. “Instead we will supply our energy sources to other regions in the world.”
The European Commission has been working to torpedo the construction of South Stream for some time. They viewed the project as an attempt to increase Europe’s dependence on Russian energy supplies, and to bring Eastern European countries, particularly Bulgaria and Serbia, under Russian control...


The European Commission moved energetically against South Stream following the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis. It put considerable pressure on Serbia and Bulgaria to halt construction of the pipeline. In June, Bulgarian interim Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski called a halt to construction, and the current Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, has maintained this stance following parliamentary elections. As a result, Putin accused Bulgaria, in Ankara, of being “incapable of behaving like a sovereign state.”...


The possibility that Russia would combine the halting of South Stream with a new foreign policy orientation, striving for closer ties with NATO member Turkey, also caused alarm. In this respect German weekly Die Zeit wrote of a “geopolitical earthquake.”
Putin and Miller signed a declaration of intent with Turkey in Ankara for the expansion of the underwater Blue Stream gas pipeline, which links Russia directly with Turkey, as well as the building of an additional pipeline with the same capacity as the failed South Stream project. Just a quarter of the gas supplied will remain in Turkey, while the rest will flow through Greece and onwards to Europe.


12---South Stream Blues, antiwar


After the 2004 "Orange Revolution," the US-installed regime in Kiev repeatedly interfered with the supply of gas, holding the EU hostage to its own unpaid bills, culminating in the EU freezing through a nasty cold snap in 2009. At that point, Moscow decided to ensure its exports would reach Europe by bypassing the Ukraine. The first bypass pipeline, "North Stream," came on line in September 2011 and began supplying Germany. "South Stream" was supposed to run under the Black Sea, through Bulgaria, Serbia, and Hungary to Austria.
Seeing this as a threat to US dominion over Europe, Washington launched rival efforts. The first, "Nabucco", never really took form and was canceled in 2013. The other, Trans-Adriatic (TAP) was supposed to pipe Azerbaijani gas through Turkey, Greece and Albania to Italy.

Meanwhile, Brussels bureaucrats were throwing up obstacles to South Stream even as construction officially began in 2013, telling Moscow its treaties with Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary violated EU laws (passed after the fact). Why was the EU working against its own energy security? Control, power, profit, subservience to Washington – the reasons are legion.
To disrupt the pipeline, the Empire put pressure on three Balkans countries it would run through: Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary. Budapest resisted. Belgrade stalled, caught between the desire of its quislings to obey Empire’s demands and the clear-cut insanity of double-crossing Russia. In the end, it was Sofia that rolled over, citing EU laws to halt work on the pipeline


13---No Guarantee of EU Cooperation if South Stream Project Revived: Gazprom CEO, sputnik


December 6 (Sputnik) — There are no guarantees that, if the South Stream pipeline project is revived, the European Union will not hinder it again, Russian energy giant Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said Saturday.


"If we are really talking about the time and effort we have put [into South Stream], we are talking about years and certain amounts of money spent, of course… We have gained certain experience and knowledge… At the moment, we can say we know European bureaucracy well… Who is to guarantee that it will not happen again in a month, in two months, in six months?" Miller, who appeared on the Vesti v Subbotu (Vesti on Saturday) TV show, told its host Sergey Brilev....


Miller added that there also were no guarantees that EU countries would not hinder the South Stream implementation again, if the project was to be revived.
"If we are really talking about the time and effort we have put [into South Stream], we are talking about years and certain amounts of money spent, of course… We have gained certain experience and knowledge… At the moment, we can say we know European bureaucracy well… Who is to guarantee that it will not happen again in a month, in two months, in six months?" the CEO said....


CEO Alexei Miller said Saturday.
"Our strategy is changing with regard to the European market. The decision to scrap South Stream is the end of our way of working when we focused on delivering [gas] to the end consumer on the European market," Miller, who appeared on the Vesti v Subbotu (Vesti on Saturday) TV show, told its host Sergey Brilev.
He confirmed that EU member states will have to purchase gas on Turkey-Greece border....


Ukraine’s Role as Gas Transit Country to Be Nullified: Gazprom CEO
Russian energy giant Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said Saturday that Ukraine’s role as a gas transit country would be nullified due to Nord Stream gas pipeline and new pipeline to Turkey....


Yes. In fact, the role of Ukraine as a transit country will be nullified," Miller, who appeared on the Vesti v Subbotu (Vesti on Saturday) Russian TV show, told its host Sergey Brilev, answering a question whether combination of Nord Stream and the pipeline to Turkey will affect the role of Ukraine.
He noted, however, that Russia would supply enough gas to Ukraine for its internal consumption.
"We will deliver to Ukraine enough gas to cover its internal consumption. Europe will be receiving gas via alternative routes," he said.
Earlier on Saturday, the energy company’s spokesperson, Sergei Kupriyanov, confirmed to RIA Novosti that Gazprom had received $378 million from Ukraine for the delivery of one billion cubic meters of gas.
In June, Moscow switched Kiev to a prepayment system for gas deliveries in light of Kiev’s growing gas that exceeds $5 billion. Since then, Ukraine has been receiving gas through reverse flows from several European countries and using its own reserves.
In October, Ukraine and Russia reached an agreement for the Russian gas to be supplied to Ukraine through winter until March 2015. According to the deal, Kiev also should pay Moscow $3.1 billion by the end of 2014 to cover a part of its debt.


14--Turkey unlikely to agree to Russia’s new gas pipeline deal - Matthew Bryza, former US ambassador to Azerbaijan,


The same day Gazprom and Turkey’s BOTAS state pipeline company signed a memorandum of understanding on construction of an offshore gas pipeline across the Black Sea towards Turkey with the annual capacity of 63 billion cubic meters of gas per year.
Under this agreement, it is planned to supply 14 billion cubic meters of gas to Turkey and the remaining part - nearly 50 billion cubic meters of gas - to the Turkish-Greek border


15---Turkey's turn to Russia could spell doom for NATO, oped


Now Bulgarians will pay the price along with the rest of the EU for its outrageous demand that Russia surrender ownership of the pipeline. This was a condition of the Third Energy Package, which Russia never ratified . It was designed to punish Russia for refusing to privatize its fossil fuel industry during the looting of Russia that followed the Yeltsin coup. Some speculate that Bulgaria or Greece might make separate deals with Russia for gas via subsidiary pipelines, the price for which may be other economic and even military alliances.

According to some analysts, the last straw for Turkey was US arming of the Kurdish fighters in Syria, which Turkey considers allied with the PKK, Kurdish separatists who are listed by both Turkey and the US as a terrorist group. The US states that the change in policy was for the humanitarian purpose of protecting the residents of the Syrian border town of Kobani from ISIS siege...


Arming of the PYD (the Syrian Kurdish defense forces) led to the natural suspicion that Turkey was being pressured to invade Syria in self-defense. The US had been demanding that Turkey supply the ground troops to fight ISIS, which sprang from the NATO/GCC/Israeli attempt to use terrorists to topple Assad. Erdogan's government has been deeply involved in providing routes for terrorists and weapons to enter Syria since the outbreak of the "civil war," along with limited military assistance. He has insisted on a plan prioritizing the defeat of the Assad government rather than ISIS, over which Western intelligence agencies seem to still exercise some control. All of these conflicts have followed US finger pointing at Turkey's complicity in the creation of ISIS, while ignoring its own role....


16--EU shoots itself in the foot...again, vestnik


Scrapping the South Stream pipeline project is a step toward a different strategy on the European market, Russian energy giant Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller is quoted by RIA Novosti as saying on Saturday.
 
"Our strategy is changing with regard to the European market. The decision to scrap South Stream is the end of our way of working when we focused on delivering [gas] to the end consumer on the European market," Miller, who appeared on the Vesti v Subbotu (News on Saturday) TV show, told its host Sergey Brilev.
 
He confirmed that EU member states will have to purchase gas on the borders between Turkey and Greece.
 
Miller noted that infrastructure worth four billion euros (some $5 billion), which Gazprom has prepared for the South Stream pipeline, will be useful for a new pipeline to Turkey.
 
"We have invested some four billion euros in gas infrastructure on the territory of Russia with regard to South Stream to deliver gas to the Russkaya compressor station in Krasnodar Territory, and all these investments will be extremely useful for a pipeline to Turkey," he said.
 
The construction of South Stream was announced in 2012, with the pipeline's offshore section designed to go under the Black Sea, while its onshore section was to cross Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Slovenia. The pipeline was expected to reduce the possibility of unreliable Russian gas transit to central and southern Europe through Ukraine, becoming fully operational by 2018.
 
On December 1, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia was not willing to continue the implementation of South Stream in light of the European Commission's "non-constructive" stance on the matter. Gazprom later said that Russia had no plans to revive the project.


Kremlin decisions to end the pursuit of the South Stream natural gas pipeline project for Europe are final, the Russian energy minister said Thursday.
"In my view, the decision is final," Minister Alexander Novak said from Moscow.


18--A Pyrrhic victory is a victory with such a devastating cost that it is tantamount to defeat. Someone who wins a Pyrrhic victory has been victorious in some way; however, the heavy toll negates any sense of achievement or profit (another term for this would be "hollow victory").[...


The phrase Pyrrhic victory is named after Greek King Pyrrhus of Epirus, whose army suffered irreplaceable casualties in defeating the Romans at Heraclea in 280 BC and Asculum in 279 BC during the Pyrrhic War. After the latter battle, Plutarch relates in a report by Dionysius:
The armies separated; and, it is said, Pyrrhus replied to one that gave him joy of his victory that one more such victory would utterly undo him. For he had lost a great part of the forces he brought with him, and almost all his particular friends and principal commanders; there were no others there to make recruits, and he found the confederates in Italy backward. On the other hand, as from a fountain continually flowing out of the city, the Roman camp was quickly and plentifully filled up with fresh men, not at all abating in courage for the loss they sustained, but even from their very anger gaining new force and resolution to go on with the war.
—Plutarch, [2]
The report is often quoted as "Another such victory and I come back to Epirus alone",[3] or "If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined."[4]



The cancellation of the planned South Stream project for providing natural gas to Southeastern Europe has reverberated across the entire European continent. As a direct consequence, the geopolitical landscape of Eastern Europe and that section of Eurasia have been lastingly altered, both economically and historically.
The first and primary effect of this decision has apparently resulted in a complete change of strategy on the part of the Russian Federation, insofar as its previously implemented model for providing gas to European end-users has been fully terminated.
Turkey, which is to receive up to 50 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Gazprom, will henceforth become the major country of transit and key distributor of all Russian gas destined for Europe.
In the future, Europe will have to negotiate the terms and conditions for delivery of most of the natural gas originating in Russia with Turkey directly, which massively enhances that country’s position throughout that part of Eurasia. In addition to reaping substantial transit fees annually, this also fully redefines Turkey’s role as a regional power in the Mediterranean, in particular towards Europe and as a potential member of the EU.


Concurrently, any role the Ukraine could have played in this field, before being politically destabilized and primed for misuse by both Europe and the U.S, has become essentially irrelevant.
It will be interesting to observe, how the European Union deals with this major shift of its fortunes and with the redefined and vastly different partner Turkey now represents and it will have to negotiate with, in order to realistically fulfill its energy requirements over the coming decades.
The EU will also need to address how it plans to finance and construct the required infrastructure throughout Southeastern Europe, in order to satisfy that region’s desperate energy needs, in addition to the problem of having to pay higher prices for natural gas it could have received directly for a great deal less.


Lastly, it is more than certain that these developments will have severe repercussions within the European Community itself regarding how it manages and conducts it's “foreign policies” in the future, in addition to defining to what degree it will chose to reassert its independence from outside influences and its right to act in its own self-interest, as opposed to the interests of others.
Further, a subtle but lasting shift in European Transatlantic relations will, presumably, also take place, which may lead to a healthy redefinition of its own place in the world and the geopolitical and economic power it can potentially wield







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