Thursday, July 06, 2006

"It's about oil"

Or at least, this point definitely is. It's all about access to the emerging Kazakh/Caspian/Azeri oil. Since the United States doesn't have a natural foothold in the region, and Afghanistan is a little unstable for shipping oil (not to mention having to involve Pakistan in it...) the best route is to send it through Georgia. Normally, Russia would be highly competitive here, but thanks to the unrest in Chechnya/Dagestan, the Trans-Caucasian routes are basically blocked, forcing Azeri oil to be shipped all the way around the Sea, making it pretty difficult to export. This is good news for the United States, a strong realpolitik move right out of the book of a Kissinger. Pretty bad news that America is actually having the brains and guts to play this hand for Russia. And it comes right on the heals of world's hottest politician/Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko throwing another blocker in their export possibilities (and effectively cutting off Europe.

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