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American dreams about energy independence may never come true. After a continuing decrease in the shale oil production, also the shale gas output has reached its peak and started to fall. As shale oil and gas make up half of the total United States oil and gas production and the rig count remains historically low, the American energy independence is shrinking and hopes for American LNG supply to Europe are disappearing into thin air. The US continues to be a net importer of energy resources and this is not going to change.
Dreams about the American energy autonomy are far from being abandoned, though. The shale revolution enthusiasm was shared even by top politicians, like Hillary Clinton, who claimed that the US had achieved energy independence, even if it was obviously not true.1)Hillary Clinton said America is energy independent. It is not, CNBC 2016-10-10 Gas autonomy seemed to be more achievable that of oil and 2016 was slated to be the first year when the US would export more gas than import.2)The New U.S. Energy Era Will Be a Gas, USNews 2016-05-16
On the morning of 19 December Ukrainians got up to learn about a momentous economic decision: the biggest Ukrainian bank, PrivatBank, had just been nationalised after its two owners used depositors’ money to build a business empire and distributed the money among Jewish organisations in Europe. Why did it have to happen?
A look into the past. PrivatBank used to be Ukraine’s largest bank with 20% of the banking sector and $53bn assets.1)UPDATE: Government nationalizes PrivatBank, guarantees deposits KyivPost 2016-12-18Its history is quite unusual for the country’s realities because it:
was one of the first private banks (formed in 1992);
was the first bank to introduce plastic cards and ATMs;
was the first Ukrainian financial institution to receive an international rating (Thomson BankWatch International Rating Agency, Fitch IBCA);
was the first Ukrainian bank to have opened its International Banking Unit in Cyprus in 1999;
introduced electronic banking in 2001;
received STP Excellence Award from Deutsche Bank in 2003.
In 1992, at the end of the Cold War, an American political scientist infamously proclaimed “the end of history:” liberal democracy and the capitalist system has won, the rest of the world will eventually embrace western ideas as superior to theirs because only they are able to provide peace and prosperity.
This line of reasoning has since become the West’s dogma in international relations, and so under the pretext of spreading human rights and parliamentary democracy all over the world the West perceives itself to be on a mission. For a while, it worked. Most of Eastern Europe readily embraced Western democracy and capitalism and even Russia seemed to follow.
The turmoil in the financial market was far from good news to President-Elect Donald Trump.
The 10-year Treasury yield was on pace for the largest 2-week rise since 2009. The crash in the bond market happened alongside a 10% devaluation of the Japanese yen.
The mainstream media presented the dumping of Treasury bonds as good news. Investors miraculously expected the US economy to boom and inflation to rise now that Donald Trump will be their president. The same media analysts that predicted two weeks ago that the financial world would collapse if Trump were elected are now convinced that Trump’s plan to increase spending and lower taxes will finance itself.
61% of the Dutch voters rejected the Ukraine association treaty in a referendum this year. 31% of the population showed up, which is a far larger number than of those who turned up at Maidan to protest. For the second time the Dutch population cast its vote in a referendum, for the second time the outcome will be nullified in the name of European Democracy.
European leaders have celebrated the Maidan revolution as the attempt of Ukrainian people to join the family of liberal democracies of Western Europe. It couldn’t be further from the truth. In the official version presented in the West, Maidan protests were spontaneously sparked off when the pro-Russian Yanukovich government renounced to ratify an association agreement with the European Union.
Yet in November 2013, before the Maidan movement even started, Oleg Tsarov, member of the Ukrainian parliament, had reported in a parliamentary session on the recruitment of activists organized by the US embassy in Kiev for unknown purposes1)“MUST WATCH: Nov 2013 (pre-Maidan!): Ukraine Deputy has proof of USA staging civil war in Ukraine”, Youtube.
The US embassy in Kiev, via its representative Victoria Nuland, would later become a primary actor in pressuring for a regime change and the formation of a pro-West government in the first months of 2014. For clarity, Victoria Nuland is the third in charge of the US foreign policy, second only President Obama and John Kerry, who had been busy negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran.
The overwhelming majority of polls gave her a strong lead in the electoral colleges count, but the outcome proved to be the exact opposite. America has asked for a change, just like in 2008 with Obama, and the repetition also means the latter did not deliver.
Donald Trump has won. Against the odds, against the polls, against the massive attacks from the media that have gone to great lengths during the past several months to depict him as a monster, a cannibal, a flaw in the pattern, a Putin-fan, a war-monger, a racist, an abomination, the worst candidate in all of history. Every article, well, every paragraph in an article contained a disparaging word like ‘populist’ or ‘populism’ in reference to Trump.
The United States of America is deemed a benchmark of democracy. One of the pillars of democracy is free and independent press. And an objective one. Without objective press, the freedom of speech is replaced by propaganda, exactly the same as that one in Russia or other “autocracies”. Can we speak about democracy in the US if two major titles openly support one of the presidential candidates? Is it still democracy, if the press have already chosen who should be the commander-in-chief instead of leaving this decision to the voters?
Apple’s $14 billion EU tax fine, and the suspension of the TTIP negotiations cannot come as a surprise; they are a clear retaliation for the totally unjustified penalties the US authorities imposed on European banks during the period between 2009 and 2014.
These fines were based on a change in U.S. regulations made in the second half of the 2010’s, i.e. that all operations done in dollars need to conform to American regulations. As the Dollar happens to be the world’s reserve currency, the US unilaterally expanded its jurisdiction on all other nations. The U.S. has the power to subjugate their partners to their authority and hand over some of their sovereignty to the ruling elites in Washington. BNP Paribas was forced to pay $8.9 billion to Washington regulators. The extraordinary high penalty on the French bank was for all intents and purposes a humiliation of France.
The time of Kazakhstan’s stability and prosperity is just passing away. And this conclusion does not come from recent protests and shootings in the city of Aktobe, but from the panicky reaction of President Nursultan Nazarbayev. According to the 75-year old declared Leader of the Nation and his officials, latest developments are a “color revolution” aiming at a “coup” made by “pseudo-religious extremists” financed by detained pro-Russian businessmen; the President voices this opinion despite the fact that previously he claimed it was the “fifth column” of undefined third (western) powers that attempted to interfere with Kazakhstan’s internal policy. Madness. As if it were not the sharp decline in oil revenues has nothing to do with that in a country which produces 1.7 million barrels per day.
Making things even worse, it is questionable if the Aktobe event was prepared by Wahhabis or other Islam terrorists. Religious extremists usually do not attack gun shops and military units, but prefer bombings and random mass killings1)Kazakhstan: Nazarbayev Embraces Color Revolution Paranoia, Source: Eurasia.net 2016-06-08. Moreover, they usually wear beards, whereas most of Aktobe assailants were clean-shaven2)Nazarbayev believes that in the tragedy of Aktobe blame the “color revolution”, Source: The Newspapers 2016-06-09. Radio Liberty attributes the responsibility for the attack to the “Army for the Liberation of Kazakhstan,” which, according to officials and some other experts, does not even exist. The level of misinformation is enormous.
There is a good chance Donald Trump will win the presidency as we already said in August 20151)The world should prepare for Mr. Trump as the next president of the USA Source Gefira 2015-08-15. Trump has the support of the most powerful part of the American elite. A Media Research Center study finds that, over a two week period, coverage of Donald Trump’s campaign took up nearly 78 percent of all CNN’s prime time GOP campaign coverage. 2)CNN Has Spent 78% of Its GOP Primary Coverage on Trump Source RedState 2015-09-16 According to mediaQuant, the big networks gave Trump 1.8 billion dollars’ worth free publicity, far more than the other candidates, with Clinton receiving a mere 746 million dollars.
Up to the dissolution of the SovietUnion the world had been bipolar: there had been two superpowers, the USSR and the USA, with two rivalling military (NATO, the Warsaw Pact) and economic (the European Economic Community and the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance in the West known as COMECON) blocs of vassal states. When the Soviet Union collapsed (1991) the world was left with but one superpower: the USA.