1. New Gas Pipeline Geopolitics in Central and Eastern Europe
The current gas pipeline system in Central and Eastern Europe started to be built in the 1960s. Apart from commercial purposes, it was intended to make the countries of the Eastern Block reliant on energy supplies from the Soviet Union. Just like it was asserted in the Falin-Kvitsinsky doctrine, a Moscow-devised strategy that endeavored to substitute military influence with economic pressure.
– In its relations with Central and Eastern European countries, Russia is pushing forward its policies of what was referred to as “obedience bonus” and “management by crisis.” The price of natural gas set for the countries that remain reliant on Russian-sourced energy depends on what political course they have embarked towards Moscow. What serves as a tool for exerting pressure are gas crises that consist in shutting down energy supplies;
-Moscow’s gas fights with Ukraine yet tarnished Russia’s reputation as an energy supplier. In a bid to remove this dependence, seen as highly disadvantageous for Moscow, Gazprom rushed to implement a couple of its top energy projects: the Nord Stream, Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream pipelines, all of which were intended first and foremost to shut down Russian gas transit through Ukraine.
– In the best-case scenario for the Kremlin, these projects, once fully implemented, would allow halting gas supplies to Ukraine while leading to acute crises in Central and Eastern Europe, albeit with no harm to Moscow’s Western European partners.
-It is in the best interest of both Poland and the countries of the region to mitigate any crippling effects of Gazprom’s newest energy projects. They all have adequate tools for implementing such a policy. These include, among other items, the recourse to European institutions to reduce volumes of gas shipments via Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2, embracing liquefied natural gas technology to diversify energy supplies and the extension of energy connections between the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.
2. Target Trump Forever
The Left has shown that the collusion exoneration last year by the heralded Robert Mueller investigation – all 22 months of it – meant absolutely nothing.
Nor did it matter that Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz found no justification of “collusion” in the Steele dossier to justify the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants it issued to spy on Carter Page.
Both the Mueller and Horowitz investigations confirmed that even the partisan and warped FBI “Crossfire Hurricane” intrigues could find no Russian-Trump collusion. And yet the House impeachment managers cannot finish a sentence without exclaiming “Russian collusion,” as if it has now transmogrified into some exotic foundational myth.
Remember, no sooner had Mueller found no collusion between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Kremlin and no actionable obstruction than the progressives narrative was recalibrated into Ukrainian quid pro quo—albeit after brief detours in “Recession!” and “Racism!”
In truth, impeachment started the very week Donald Trump was inaugurated by articles of impeachment introduced in the House of Representatives by 58 Democrats. Between 2017 and 2019, one effort to remove Trump or members of his administration before the 2020 election followed rapidly and furiously upon another. Reason, logic, moderation, and common sense vanished, replaced by a shrill directive that Trump was evil and thus his administration had to be aborted by the good people, and by any means possible
Less formal but even more alarming efforts at removing or neutering Trump were embraced by the Washington elite, federal bureaucracy, and some Trump establishment appointees.
The Democrats believe that one more whistleblower, just a bit more impeachment, a little more Nadler or Schiff, a pinch more of Pelosi, or another Ukrainian or Russian liar might finally give Trump a stroke or malignancy. With Trump debilitated, they might have a chance against a more traditional Republican.
We will be down to the elemental after impeachment: if you can’t beat Trump legislatively, judicially, or electorally, and if you can’t impeach, convict him and remove him, perhaps you can simply physically destroy him.
3. Sorry If You’re Offended, but Socialism Leads to Misery and Destitution
On the same day that Venezuela’s “democratically” elected socialist president, Nicolas Maduro, whose once-wealthy nation now has citizens foraging for food, announced he was lopping five zeros off the country’s currency to create a “stable financial and monetary system,” Meghan McCain of “The View” was the target of internet-wide condemnation for having stated some obvious truths about collectivism.
During the same week we learned that the democratic socialist president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, is accused of massacring hundreds of protesters whose economic futures have been decimated by his economic policies, Soledad O’Brien and writers at outlets ranging from GQ, to BuzzFeed, to the Daily Beast were telling McCain to cool her jets.
In truth, McCain was being far too calm. After all, socialism is the leading man-made cause of death and misery in human existence. Whether implemented by a mob or a single strongman, collectivism is a poverty generator, an attack on human dignity, and a destroyer of individual rights.
It’s true that not all socialism ends in the tyranny of Leninism or Stalinism or Maoism or Castroism or Ba’athism or Chavezism or the Khmer Rouge—only most of it does. And no, New York primary winner Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t intend to set up gulags in Alaska. Most so-called democratic socialists—the qualifier affixed to denote that they live in a democratic system and have no choice but to ask for votes—aren’t consciously or explicitly endorsing violence or tyranny.
But when they adopt the term “socialism” and the ideas associated with it, they deserve to be treated with the kind of contempt and derision that all those adopting authoritarian philosophies deserve.