Talking Turkey, TPP

by lizard

I wrote yesterday about direct actions blooming on multiple fronts. People are mobilizing, and that’s a good thing.

As that is happening the imperial lust of U.S. hegemony is faltering significantly, which will make the last two years of the Obama regime very dangerous.

Talking Turkey, Michael Whitney explores the seemingly dumbfounded non-reaction by the Obama regime on the news Monday of Putin’s surprising gas deal with Turkey:

How can this happen? How can Putin waltz into Ankara, scribble his name on a few sheets of paper, and abscond with a key US ally right under Washington’s nose? Isn’t there anyone at the White House who’s smart enough to anticipate a scenario like this or have they all been replaced with warmongering ding-dongs like Susan Rice and Samantha Powers?

The Obama administration has been doing everything in its power to control the flow of gas from east to west and to undermine Russian-EU economic integration. Now it looks like the nimble Putin has found a way to avoid the economic sanctions, (Turkey rejected sanctions on Russia) avoid US coercion and blackmail (which was used on Bulgaria, Hungary, and Serbia), and avoid Washington’s endless belligerence and hostility, and achieve his objectives at the same time. But– then again– isn’t that what you’d expect from a level-headed martial arts pro like Putin?

“I won’t beat you,” says Bad Vlad. “I’ll let you to beat yourself.”

And, so he has. Just ask the befuddled Obama who has yet to prevail in any of his encounters with Putin.

But why the silence? Why hasn’t the White House issued a statement about the big Russian-Turkey gas deal that everyone’s talking about?

I’ll tell you why. It’s because they don’t know what the hell just hit them, that’s why. They were completely blindsided by the announcement and can’t quite figure out what it means for the issues that are on the very top of their foreign policy agenda, like the pivot to Asia, or the wars in Syria and Ukraine, or the much-ballyhooed gas pipeline from Qatar to the EU, that was supposed to transit– you guessed it– Turkey. Is that plan still in the works or has the Putin-Erdogan alliance put the kibosh on that gem too? Let’s face it, Putin has really knocked it out of the park this time. Team Obama is clearly out of its league and has no idea of what’s going on. If Turkey turns eastward and joins the growing Russian bloc, US policymakers are going to have to scrap the better part of their strategic plans for the coming century and go back to Square 1. What a headache.

Other headaches Obama is expected to sell to Americans are the still murky trade deals like the TPP. Ben Beachy, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, looks at revived fast-tracking and lists a bunch of materials linking these kinds of trade deals with increased economic inequality. From the link:

Obama acknowledged yesterday that TPP proponents will have a tough time arguing that this time is different — that reviving Fast Track authority in attempt to push through Congress another more-of-the-same trade pact would not fuel further inequality growth. Fast Track was the Nixon-created maneuver that allowed the executive branch to railroad through Congress controversial, inequality-spurring pacts like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by negotiating and signing the pacts before Congress got an expedited, no-amendments, limited-debate vote. A study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research finds that were the TPP to be Fast Tracked through Congress, all but the wealthiest among us would lose more to inequality increases than we would gain in cheaper goods, spelling a pay cut for 90 percent of U.S. workers.

Recognizing the unpopularity of Fast Track and the TPP, Obama told the business executives: “There are folks in my own party and in my own constituency that have legitimate complaints about some of the trend lines of inequality, but are barking up the wrong tree when it comes to opposing TPP, and I’m going to have to make that argument.”

It’s tough work dismantling American sovereignty and losing allies to an emerging Russia. Obama only has two years left to create a teflon legacy capable of covering the disaster his presidency has been.


  1. JC

    The Saker posted up a link to the transcript of Putin’s speech to the Russian Federal Assembly (just about as full of privileged white guys as our Congress, watch the video) a few days ago, with some commentary.. Must read for anyone wanting to get into Putin’s head. Vlad the bad just called out the west for being bullies, and that the Russians just weren’t going to acquiesce to american hegemony.

  2. “Emerging Russia”? Sorry the Ruskies economy is F’ed.

    Half way thru the above (read the whole piece) its says the Bear’s economy has fallen to the equivalent of Spain or South Korea. And falling still.

    • JC

      You expect a nice story about Russia’s economy coming from a Saudi News source written by an AP “journalist”?

      And speaking about falling economies, you know that China has surpassed the U.S. as the world’s largest and fastest growing economy, dontcha?

      • Yeah, Bush III will fix that.

        By the way this “end around” move by the Turks? How viable will that be if ISIS sets off a dirty bomb in the region and there’s retaliation?

        • JC

          Bush I set the stage, Bush II fomented the whole middle east, now Bush III will come in and complete the job by starting WWIII… nice,

          As to the Breitbart story, how is that worse than all the depleted uranium explosive casings we’ve been scattering all over the middle east? Be scared Swede, very scared.

          • Bush III was (is) a joke. As fas as dirty bombs it’s not if but when. And at that time we’ll be able to tell what the source was.

            • JC

              You can worry about someone else setting off a dirty bomb. But the U.S. has already devastated millions in Viet Nam (including our own soldiers) with Agent Orange, and millions of people in Iraq with depleted uranium bombs, a leading suspect in Gulf War Syndrome and multiple cancers.

              Oh, and yeah… Nagasaki, Hiroshima.

      • Want another source JC?

        Here’s RT.

        I like the word, “adjusting”.

        Using some logic what does Russia really export other than oil? Vodka? They drink most of it before it makes the container ship.

        Russia has the lowest GDP per capita than all the European countries. They don’t make/sell/export anything of significance, even with 30% of the world’s natural resources.

        • JC

          If you think that Russia only exports energy, then you aren’t paying attention. From the RT article:

          “The Russian economy is hurting from sanctions, low oil prices, and geopolitical tension, but predicting its imminent collapse is a fear-mongering tactic,”

          So no fear mongering, please! And plenty of european countries below russia in gdp per capita: Poland, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Belarus, Serbia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Albania, Ukraine, Kosovo… (or do you ant to argue that none of these are european countries?)

          Get yer facts straight!

          And Russia is the #1 world arms exporter, bigger than the next 2 combined (U.S. and China). Russia is #1 in nuclear facility exports, a huge part of Cold War 2.0. Russian software. Auto exports to hit a million in 5 years. I could go on, but go ahead and let the jokes about vodka sooth your pain.

          • 2013 Numbers JC, the GDP/cap for Russia is much lower in ’14. Poland and Hungary will overtake them. But seriously why would those other backwaters be even close.

            I know why. This is the Russian economy.

            Mineral fuels including oil: $304,559,452,000 (57.9% of total exports)
            Iron and steel: $20,050,729,000 (3.8%)
            Pearls, gems, precious metals and coins: $14,367,047,000 (2.7%)
            Fertilizers: $9,119,157,000 (1.7%)
            Machinery: $8,815,393,000 (1.7%)
            Wood: $7,324,251,000 (1.4%)
            Aluminum: $7,181,742,000 (1.4%)
            Inorganic chemicals: $5,009,209,000 (1%)
            Copper: $4,962,945,000 (0.9%)
            Electronic equipment: $4,914,638,000 (0.9%)

            Eggs in one basket, wouldn’t you say?

            • Steve W


              They sound really broke to me. I’m thinking Putin may be a better capitalist than you are Swede. I mean, i know you are exceptional and all, at least in your heart and mind.

            • Complex set of data there. I’m betting that neither you nor any of us can make heads nor tails of it, much less even know if it is accurate. As I see it, it is a pile of meaningless data. Nice try.

            • Steve W

              Swede, your math appears faulty. No surprise there. But If you add up all of the amounts listed how would petrol products account for 45% of total GDP? You are missing around 285 to 300 billion.

              Try Try again!

              And this time get it right. I’ll just hold my breath while you do that OK?

              • Answer below.

  3. What the hell, it’s Friday. More right wing Tubes from Swede.

    • Rough day at the office, eh?

      • Joke post.

  4. The data included in one of my comments above was the top ten export categories for Russia.

    Mineral fuels including oil: $304,559,452,000 (57.9% of total exports)
    Iron and steel: $20,050,729,000 (3.8%)
    Pearls, gems, precious metals and coins: $14,367,047,000 (2.7%)
    Fertilizers: $9,119,157,000 (1.7%)
    Machinery: $8,815,393,000 (1.7%)
    Wood: $7,324,251,000 (1.4%)
    Aluminum: $7,181,742,000 (1.4%)
    Inorganic chemicals: $5,009,209,000 (1%)
    Copper: $4,962,945,000 (0.9%)
    Electronic equipment: $4,914,638,000 (0.9%)

    My main point being that the readability (57.9%) on one segment opens you up to vulnerability. Such as now.

    • Another thing that has me perplexed.

      Are you guys celebrating the Russian pipeline deal? Cause its longer that KXL and is more prone to be torn apart by explosions.

    • US and friends are trying to isolate and break Russia, who tend to be good chess players. Pipeline deal is “check,” maybe what has WaPo and Foreign Affairs allowing dissent from policy in their realms. Usually US state-controlled media speaks with one monotonous voice.

      Pipelines are not inherently bad, but unnecessary ones that don’t serve any national interest are easily seen to be discardable. A few temporary jobs to allow movement of oil for export is not sound energy policy.

      • larry kurtz

        Again: no solutions, just snark.

        • Hey Larry, that Putin, does his pipeline deal make him an “earth hater”?

        • JC

          What is the democrat solution to all of this, Larry?

          All the dems in the House except for about 5 just voted for the Russian Aggression Prevention Act, aka prepare for war with Russia act. Dems are helping to set the stage for WWIII, and Putin is not going to back down, as he values Russian sovereignty above all else.

          And why does our conversations here have to be solutions-based? I value fact-finding, commentary and debate essential before seeking solutions.

          You want my solution to all this? It’s simple: fusion.

  5. The Moscow econ Meltdown

    Just another vindication.

    • JC

      Funny that the Guardian writer didn’t bother to look at Putin’s speech to the Federal Assembly a few days ago.

      When he posts that “…Fourth, nobody is quite sure how Vladimir Putin, pictured, would respond to the most challenging economic circumstances since 1998”, well, Putin is sure.

      Here is part of Putin’s answer directly from his speech:

      “We will only succeed if we work towards prosperity and affluence, rather than hope for an opening or a favourable situation on foreign markets.

      We will succeed if we defeat disorder, irresponsibility and our habit of burying good decisions in red tape. I want everyone to understand that in today’s world this is not simply an obstacle to Russia’s development but a direct threat to its security.

      The period ahead will be complex and difficult, when much will depend on what each one of us do at our workplaces. The so-called sanctions and foreign restrictions are an incentive for a more efficient and faster movement towards our goals.

      There is much we need to do. We need to create new technologies, a competitive environment and an additional margin of strength in the industries, the financial system and in the training of personnel. We have a large domestic market and natural resources, capital and research projects for this. We also have talented, intelligent and diligent people who can learn very quickly.

      The most important thing now is to give the people an opportunity for self-fulfilment. Freedom for development in the economic and social spheres, for public initiatives is the best possible response both to any external restrictions and to our domestic problems. The more actively people become involved in organising their own lives, the more independent they are, both economically and politically, and the greater Russia’s potential.”

      Damn commies!

      Go read the whole thing, and then let’s have a real discussion about the state of the Russian economy, and how Putin intends to lead the way forward, against the headwinds of U.S. hegemonic force.

    • Steve W

      Vindication of what? Do you feel like you need to be vindicated?

      You still haven’t told us what the Russian GDP is. I still would like to know. You were mumbling something about it up top.

      • Vindication indeed.

        What every R GDP was it’s f’ed now.

        • Totally F’ed.

          • Swede, you are aware that Russia has been under economic attack since early this year from NATO, EU and the US, the latest volly the flooding of the oil market by the U.S. client state Saudi Arabia to cause a drop in the price of oil, thereby threatening the ruble.

            I’m kidding. I know you’re aware of none of this. I was making a joke.

            The question is Russia’s survival as a free state. Usually if economic warfare fails, real war follows. The survival of the dollar is at stake.

          • JC

            Actually, there are those who believe that Putin is intentionally tanking the value of the ruble, so that russia can buy back cheap rubles on the international market with dollars, accomplishing two things: 1) bringing rubles back to russia where their value can be better controlled and less vulnerable to western strategic speculation and they can be reinvested; and 2) get rid of dollars that will become more and more useless as russia and its allies move to payment systems for international trade that use other currencies.

            • They are good chess players. Can you direct me to some reading on that? Fascinating.

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