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ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson and Russian President Vladimir Putin chatting it up after signing a deal in 2012
ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson and Russian President Vladimir Putin chatting it up after signing a deal in 2012
As long as U.S. sanctions on Russia that many regard as toothless aren't extended, American corporations don't have much to worry about. But their antennae have been tweaked by the travel ban and asset freeze the Obama administration has imposed on 11 prominent Russians and Ukrainians involved in Moscow's efforts to annex the Crimean peninsula. While the rest of us wonder how much bloodshed may arise in the clash between Russia and the new government of Ukraine, and what role our own government has played or may yet play in the conflict, officials at companies doing business in Russia have another concern: How might these sanctions and the E.U.'s similar sanctions against 21 Russians and Ukrainians affect their bottom line?

Given how modest those sanctions are, pretty much not at all is the answer for the moment. But what of possible future sanctions? And what about Russian retaliation?

About 100 CEOs with the Business Roundtable are meeting with Defense chief Chuck Hagel in Washington today, and the sanctions situation will no doubt be discussed, according to the group's president John Engler:

“The CEOs are obviously very concerned about what is happening in Russia,” Engler said in an interview. “For some companies, it’s a substantial bit of their business. They are watching it very intently, trying to understand what will happen and what the next steps will be.” [...]

“Hopefully the industry can weather it out, avoid heavy sanctions,” said Norm Liu, chief executive officer of GECAS, General Electric Co.’s aircraft leasing unit in an interview yesterday at an International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading conference in San Diego. “This is a unique situation for all Western businesses.”

If the conflict between President Vladimir Putin and the West is confined to diplomatic circles, he said he’s less concerned. “If it crosses beyond that, it’s a different story,” he said.

While pundits and reporters talk about the prospects of a new Cold War, or at least a chill, it's rarely mentioned just how entangled the U.S. and Russian economies have become in the nearly quarter century since the old Cold War expired. According to a 2013 report by Ernst & Young, the largest source of foreign investment in Russia today comes from U.S.-based companies, mostly those engaged in technology and financial services. With Russia now part of the World Trade Organization, that investment is increasing.

Please read below the fold for more analysis.

And while other observers ponder how much influence the ultra-nationalists and worse in the new Ukrainian government will have, as well as whether Russian President Vladimir Putin has designs on territory beyond Crimea and perhaps beyond Ukraine, none of that matters to the corporations as long as the flow of dollars continues.

ExxonMobil, whose investment in Russia is the corporation's largest outside the United States, has a deal with Ukraine to drill off Crimea in the Black Sea. Government revenue in Russia is heavily dependent on fossil-fuel exports. If additional (and actually effective) sanctions were imposed, it could very well mean that Exxon's and other U.S.-based corporations' on-going projects would be stifled because Kremlin officials would be compelled to cut back on energy-related infrastructure projects needed to make a go of those projects.

ExxonMobil's CEO Rex Tillerson signed an agreement with Russia's state-owned petrochemical giant Rosneft in 2012. It was one oligarch shaking hands on one side with the chief of oligarchs, Vladimir Putin, on the other side:

"I’m pleased that you were here to be part of the signing today, and very much appreciate the strong support and encouragement you have provided to our partnership," said Tillerson. "[N]othing strengthens relationships between countries better than business enterprise."
In an analysis that ought to be read in full, Steve Horn at DeSmogBlog has dug deep into ExxonMobil's specific relationship:
In 2012, ExxonMobil and Rosneft signed an agreement "to share technology and expertise" with one another. Some of the details:

• Forming of a joint venture to explore offshore oil and gas in the Kara Sea and the Black Sea

• Rosneft acquiring a 30 percent stake in 20 ExxonMobil-owned offshore oil and gas blocks in the Gulf of Mexico. [...]

• Rosneft obtained a 30 percent stake in ExxonMobil’s share in the La Escalera Ranch project in the Permian Basin Shale in West Texas. It also gained a 30 percent stake in a portion of ExxonMobil's stake in Alberta’s Cardium Shale formation.

In 2013, ExxonMobil and Rosneft announced a partnership to conquer the Arctic for oil and gas, creating the Arctic Research and Design Center for Continental Shelf Development.

ExxonMobil put down the first $200 million for the initial research and development work, while Rosneft threw down $250 million later. Officially, Rosneft owns 66.67 percent of the venture and ExxonMobil owns 33.33 percent.

As Paul Pillar wrote in a review of Steve Coll's book on ExxonMobil, Private Empire:
The clout, reach, and mission of ExxonMobil mean that it runs what amounts to its own foreign policy, raising the question of how that policy relates to the foreign policy of the United States.
Geopolitics has always been driven by money as much as ideology and territorial ambition even though the politicians will define it all under the category of "national interests." Corporate chieftains, whether in Russia or America (or elsewhere), weigh those interests rather differently than the rest of us mortals.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 11:03 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  energy sector: better index of diplomacy direction (7+ / 0-)
    ExxonMobil, whose investment in Russia is the corporation's largest outside the United States, has a deal with Ukraine to drill off Crimea in the Black Sea. Government revenue in Russia is heavily dependent on fossil-fuel exports. If additional (and actually effective) sanctions were imposed, it could very well mean that Exxon's and other U.S.-based corporations' on-going projects would be stifled because Kremlin officials would be compelled to cut back on energy-related infrastructure projects needed to make a go of those projects.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 11:16:05 AM PDT

  •  The sanctions against Russia are... (22+ / 0-)

    ...a compromise between starting WW III and doing nothing.

    Crimea is gone.  The Russians need Sevastopol to have access to the Mediterranean.

    And Ukraine is not black and white.  The one thing that makes sense is that the Russians will not let it become a member of NATO.

    Exxon is a global multinational, one of the largest.  The ONLY thing they care about is profits, period.

    I am sure Obama gets it and so does the Pentagon.  Kerry and Biden mouthing things is not changing anyone's mind around the world.

    If the Russians cut the flow of oil and gas to Europe it will hurt Europe more than any sanctions imposed on Russia.

    And then there is China.  During the Cold War China and the Soviet Union were NOT strategic allies.  They joined forces occasionally when it made sense to them.  If we push Russia too much, they will probably get closer to China geopolitically.

    The world is a multi-dimensional chessboard and the Russians love chess.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 11:33:15 AM PDT

    •  Not really . (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mindful Nature, Sharon Wraight
      The Russians need Sevastopol to have access to the Mediterranean.

      "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

      by indycam on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 11:47:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

        •  Of course I have looked at the maps . (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FG, Mindful Nature, spritegeezer, Glenn45

          Priazovskiy to Adler and everything inbetween including Tsemes Bay .
          Saying they need "Sevastopol to have access to the Mediterranean." is like saying we need a base in Guantanamo Cuba to have access to the Caribbean .

          "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

          by indycam on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 12:05:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nowhere near the same (6+ / 0-)

            Far more so than the Falklands to the UK.

            Imagine the only coast with the Pacific was in SoCal.  It would be as strategic as San Diego.

            Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

            by Shockwave on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 12:11:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, but Sevasastapol is the only place (8+ / 0-)

            that already has the expensive infrastructure installed and ready to go.

            Lot more to a military seaport than just a beach.

            •  Have you looked at the Tsemes Bay infrastructure ? (4+ / 0-)

              To say

              Sevasastapol is the only place
              that already has the expensive infrastructure installed and ready to go.
              kind of shows you haven't .

              The argument that was put forward was

              The Russians need Sevastopol to have access to the Mediterranean.
              and it has been shown to be not the case . They have lots of options , they don't need Sevastopol to have access to the Mediterranean .

              "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

              by indycam on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 12:24:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Have you? From the freakin' wiki- (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JesseCW, Aquarius40
                In 2003, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree setting up a naval base for the Black Sea Fleet in Novorossiysk. Russia has allocated 12.3 billion rubles (about $480 million) for the construction of the new base between 2007 and 2012. The construction of other facilities and infrastructure at the base, including units for coastal troops, aviation and logistics, will continue beyond 2012.[citation needed]
                Sure, it'll be a great base, sometime next decade. It's not ready to go.
                •  Its had a Naval base there for how long ? (3+ / 0-)

                  From that Naval base they can and do access the Med .
                  To say Russia's only access to the Med is via Sevastopol , is laughable .

                  "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

                  by indycam on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 12:44:05 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Did you notice the dates ? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Claudius Bombarnac
                  for the construction of the new base between 2007 and 2012
                  A new base at Novorossiysk ? And it is now 2014 ?

                  https://www.google.com/...

                  www.lucorg.com/news.php/news/6765

                  Novorossiysk has some advantages for the Russian Black Sea Fleet that could make it its major home base even if Russia wishes to retain a presence in Sevastopol. Novorossiysk’s primary advantage is its location on Russian soil, which provides Russia with some leverage against Ukraine’s Western leanings, but also reduces Russia’s logistics and supply costs. The Novorossiysk naval base abuts Russia’s biggest commercial seaport, which facilitates the protection of Russian economic interests. Its construction began from a virtually virgin shore site, thus allowing the design and development of modern infrastructure. Moreover, at Novorossiysk, Russian ships, such as the flagship Moskva, would be allowed to carry guided missiles armed with nuclear warheads—which is forbidden at Sevastopol—illustrating the Novorossiysk base’s strategic advantage. Combined, these advantages may outweigh Sevastopol’s military value whose foremost natural advantage is its all-weather accessibility.

                  "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

                  by indycam on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 01:11:43 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Maybe you should provide some links (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                KenBee, Wreck Smurfy

                if you're going to nix anything said about Crimea being an important base. Because up until right before Russia occupied Crimea everyone thought it was pretty damn important.

                If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                by AoT on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 01:01:52 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Here you go , (5+ / 0-)

              http://www.worldportsource.com/...

              The Port of Novorossiysk is at the head of Tsemes Bay on the Black Sea's northeastern shores in southwest Russia. The Port of Novorossiysk is located about 250 nautical miles northeast of the Port of Batumi in Georgia and about 520 nautical miles across the Black Sea from the Port of Haydarpasa in Istanbul, Turkey. It is one of the few cities in Russia that was honored with the title of Hero City in recognition for its valor during World War II. In 2006, over 230 thousand people lived in the Port of Novorossiysk.

              The Port of Novorossiysk is located on the shores of the ice-free Tsemes Bay, long recognized as one of the best bays of the Black Sea. The Port of Novorossiysk is Russia's main port on the Black Sea and is home to a naval base, shipbuilding yards, and an oil-pipeline terminal. The Port of Novorossiysk supports Russian maritime trade through its relations with Asia, the Middle East, the Mediterranean region, Africa, and South America. It is also the terminus of the pipeline from the rich Tengiz Oil Field in western Kazakhstan, making it the biggest oil port on the Black Sea. In addition to the Port of Novorossiysk, the city is home to many industries producing food products, metal goods, among many others.

              Still want to say
              Sevasastapol is the only place...

              "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

              by indycam on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 12:29:43 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, I still want to say (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Shockwave, AoT
                Sevasastapol is the only place (1+ / 0-)

                that already has the expensive infrastructure installed and ready to go.

                •  So the naval base at (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Timaeus, Eyesbright, Glenn45
                  The Port of Novorossiysk is Russia's main port on the Black Sea and is home to a naval base, shipbuilding yards, and an oil-pipeline terminal.
                  isn't ready to be a naval base ?
                  That Russia can't access the Med without the port on the island ?

                  "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

                  by indycam on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 12:45:06 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Giving up the base in Crimea to a Ukraine (0+ / 0-)

                    in NATO would mean giving the base to NATO. If there were war that would deny Russia use of the Black Sea.

                    I know you aren't really so stupid as to not understand the importance of the naval base in Crimea.

                    If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                    by AoT on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 05:57:57 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Except for Novorossiysk the busiest port (0+ / 0-)

              on the Black Sea and already Russian territory, yup.

              Crimea is nothing but a Russian land grab, because eff you, Europe. Because we can. Because Rodina Red White and Blue, Yeah!

          •  If we don't NEED Gitmo, why are we there?..... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT

            one might ask.

            Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

            by bobdevo on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 03:45:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Ya but Sevastopol is where the (0+ / 0-)

            LGN terminals are

            •  Never mind it's near Moldava (0+ / 0-)
            •  LNG terminals are no longer required (0+ / 0-)

              either for liquefaction or re-gassification (regas). The industry has come up with floating LNG vessels that can be put in place very quickly.

              The largest ship in the world is now the Prelude. It is a floating natural gas liquefaction plant.

              I predict a huge increase in US fracked gas exports in the coming years to offset Russia's hold on European energy supplies. We can wrap the American flag around it and call it "Freedom Gas". It will become un-American to oppose fracking when it is spreading freedom and democracy around the world.

              I'm sure the current public opposition to fracking can be overcome in a few months if FOX, CNN, WaPo and the NYT frame it to the unwashed masses correctly. They can treat it like a war effort to ensure America's greatness in the world.

              http://gcaptain.com/...

              March 6 (Bloomberg) — Liquefied natural gas suppliers are readying for increased demand from European countries seeking to diversify access to the fuel amid concern about Russian shipments after its military intervention in Ukraine.
              ...
              “It will create an extra push in demand,” he said in an interview in Oslo yesterday. “It will put even more focus on energy independence, especially on gas. The only way you can be independent on gas is to import LNG.”

    •  China and India have both backed Russia (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wolf10, Shockwave

      in the recent events regarding Ukraine.


      Real fixes, outside the coffin fixes, ain't ever pragmatic says Political Conventional Wisdoom.

      by Jim P on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 02:08:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not really. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FG, Wolf10, Shockwave, bluezen

        They've made vague comments about "hoping for peaceful solutions" and "the importance of sovereignty," and China specifically abstained from the UN vote.

        My sense is that they'd both kind of rather stay out of it, but don't love the idea of sovereign borders being casually disrespected. Push comes to shove, they may have reasons to back Russia here, but they're really not sounding "supportive" so much as like they'd like to be rid of the whole mess, that I've seen.

        •  India says Russia's concerns are legitimate (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Wolf10, Shockwave, AoT
          India Backs Russia’s ‘Legitimate Interests’ in Ukraine
          India broke with the international community in acknowledging that Russia has legitimate interests in Ukraine.

          On Thursday a senior Indian official appeared to endorse Russia’s position in Ukraine in recent days, even as Delhi urged all parties involved to seek a peaceful resolution to the diplomatic crisis....
          ...Ukraine certainly appeared to interpret India’s endorsement of Russia’s legitimate interests as far more hostile than Beijing’s position on Russia’s actions. According to the Telegraph India, a Ukrainian embassy spokesperson stationed in Delhi responded to Menon’s comments by saying: “We are not sure how Russia can be seen having legitimate interests in the territory of another country. In our view, and in the view of much of the international community, this is a direct act of aggression and we cannot accept any justification for it.”

          China, has its own secessionist worries, and that is likely why they merely abstained. BRICs does have an agenda, and that agenda is not kow-towing to the US.

          Bit difficult to claim either nation isn't in aid of the Russia position; impossible that they are in support of the US; highly unlikely they are merely neutral.


          Real fixes, outside the coffin fixes, ain't ever pragmatic says Political Conventional Wisdoom.

          by Jim P on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 02:29:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  asdf (4+ / 0-)

            (1) That's one "senior official" in India. If you've payed much attention to India, you're plenty well aware that signals can be mixed depending on which "senior official" that might be, what party that person belongs to, and, more often than anybody loves talking about, who that particular official figures will give them a kickback for saying what at which time. Indian politics are contentious and weird in their own right, and could be a topic for a whole gigantic round of diaries.

            China, on the other hand, almost never says a word via any "senior officials," unless it's well-vetted.

            Very different issues come up between the two, and I chafe at casting their reactions without making that clear. VERY DIFFERENT.

            (2) I mentioned nothing about kow-towing to the US, but I don't read either nation's actions as supportive intentionally, whether Russia treats them that way or not. My read is, again, that neither wants to deal with the mess, they'd both most likely really like business with both Russia and the "West" to go on smoothly and not have to piss off anybody about continuing that business with any party. That's not about being clients of the US, it's about not especially wanting to be clients of Russia instead.

            (3) China in particular is bound to chafe some at issues around national sovereignty and respecting national borders, and could simultaneously also have sympathy for a shared-cultural-roots argument. But probably mostly wants it all to go away so it doesn't have to make any trading partner miffed.

    •  The Need Sevastopol meme is a geographic falsehood (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shockwave, Claudius Bombarnac

      Novorossiysk is busiest port on the Black Sea and on the RUSSIAN coast of the black sea.

      Busiest for both oil and grain.

      •  And I see indycam has this locked up, hehe (0+ / 0-)
      •  This from the Stars and Stripes link I posted (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, annieli
        Although Russia continues to construct a navy base in its own territory in Novorossisk, near Sochi, analysts agree that Sevastopol remains the navy’s preferred base in the Black Sea region because of its size, location and infrastructure.

        Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

        by Shockwave on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 05:50:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We are talking commerce versus naval basing (0+ / 0-)

          The meme that Russia is somehow cut off from commerce if it doesn't' command control of Crimea is laughably false.

          This is a pure power play, because power. Because military power. because eff you world it's ours and what are you going to do about it?

          It would be comparable to Brazil deciding that the important gas producing region of Santa Cruz should be independent and if it should just happen to want to become part of Brazil, cool.

          Not that the Brazilians are interested, any more than they'd like to annex all of Uruguay north of the Rio Negro.

          •  To clarify I'm making a much wider point (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AmericanAnt

            That the last thing the world needs is a free-for-all on weaker countries' territory.

            It's the sort of thing that could bring interstate war back to continents (like South America) that have not experience much of it in over a century.

            •  The history of Crimea is different than Uruguay (0+ / 0-)

              If the Uruguayans spoke Portuguese it would be different.

              And Montevideo is not a Brazilian naval base.

              The Brazilians did take over 1/2 of Uruguay back in 1864.

              Then again, depending on what happens in the upcoming World Cup things may change.  !950 is still engraved in their brain.

              Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

              by Shockwave on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 06:10:51 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  LOLOLOLOL (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Shockwave

              The free for all is already over because the US got to expand it frontiers to include Hawaii. Honestly, the US takeover of Hawaii is a fair parallel for this, although there wasn't even a naval base at the time.

              Not that we'll give it back or anything. Finders keepers!

              If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

              by AoT on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 06:12:17 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  If that's so, lebensraum for all (0+ / 0-)

                and watch the world die in pieces.

                •  So we're going to start but giving the land (0+ / 0-)

                  back to the native population?

                  And of course, this isn't about the Nazis, but why not get that jab in. We can't even give back GITMO which we have no reasonable right to.

                  What's happened is that it has become perfectly clear that the only way to really prevent invasion by a nuclear power is to get nuclear weapons. The idea that this will somehow set off an international rush to war is a bit overwrought. You expect Brazil to make a land grab? They're the closest thing South America has to Russia.

                  And the US has invaded and set up two US friendly governments in the last decade. And we're going to have a massive presence in both. The only thing new about this is that people are surprised to see that the EU and the ensuing neoliberalism is not as inevitable as it has been made out to be.

                  Was grabbing Crimea justified? Nope, not at all, but it's not the end of the world. Only someone who believes the neocon/neoliberal hype would be seriously surprised by it. It's certainly not as bad as what the US did in Iraq or is doing in afpak. The US is just all righteous about it without justification.

                  If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                  by AoT on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 07:39:38 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You made an excellent point (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    AoT

                    Why should anyone, anywhere, pretend that the current international order is anything but power, for power's sake?

                    And I have no doubt the latter-day lull in such violent appropriation is about to swing back to the historical mode, and then some.

                    As for the question of assigning blame for the crimes of history: That's the prerogative of the victors.

                    International politics isn't for people who need to get their justice on. It's not nice out there. Bad things are done to the undeserving, precisely BECAUSE people care about their plight and the emotional damage it causes is a useful weapon.

                    That's why torture exists - not to gain information but to afflict those who can't do anything to stop it. It's a kind of collective punishment. What happens to the person under the power of the torturer is secondary. It's a way to hurt anyone associated with the victim, the moment they know about it.

                    For that reason it's also a useful sonar ping to identify enemies and associates of same. Who talks? Who laments? Who protests? Who squirms?

                    This is that very dark gross world that offends you. It's in control. It's always been in control.

                    And it stole Hawaii. And it just stole Crimea.

                    And the side of human nature that fuels this willful power-seeking world is never, ever going to go away. We will always have to fight this demon, at least until Human Nature 2.0 is published.

                    •  It's not human nature, it's governments (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      cskendrick

                      it's how they work. And yes, as long as we have them its how they will continue to work. It's what you get when you let a group of people have the ability to do violence against others. The EU and the US don't seek to end that world, they seek to conquer it, regardless of their claims otherwise.

                      But what exactly do you think I should think? I mean, Putin is being demonized and the US has it's hands washed clean of the blood in Iraq because we had an election and made it all better. So yeah, I'm cynical. The world does that to you.

                      I'm just happy this happened with minimal bloodshed. Which is at least something. But if you want me to be outraged at a relatively blood free military conquest halfway around the world then you'll be waiting for a while. It's not justified but I've seen worse. My tax money goes to worse. And that gets ignored.

                      As for the question of assigning blame for the crimes of history: That's the prerogative of the victors.
                      Well, I'm one of the victors, ain't I?

                      And there's no nice way to talk about this. But the outrage of a country that did far worse a decade ago can't make me do anything but laugh.

                      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                      by AoT on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 09:25:22 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I think the old nation state order is dying (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        AoT

                        the market 'meh' on Crimea says it all. This is going to happen more and more, faster and faster.

                        I've been testing a predictive model as to where and when, based on economic value of territory and relative lack/collapse of infrastructure as two primary incentives for what we are witnessing in Ukraine.

                        I must confess I had Ukraine penciled in for dissolution a few decades hence. Oops on timing but the I think the theory's sound as Crimea is particularly choice real estate as Ukraine goes and has seen its 'better roads and bridges' days.

                        This trend could turn the entirety of Eastern Europe into one giant Yugoslavia... or 'Balkanize' it, as they used to say.

                        So maybe we are not changing so much as changing back.

                        •  I keep expecting Kurdistan to finally happen (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          cskendrick

                          I think the fact that it isn't goes with what you're saying. Only countries that are based around ideologies will really maintain their relative cohesion, like the US. Eastern Europe will be a hundred nations all a part of the EU.

                          I'm not particularly hopeful about the future, not because of international relations but because of the environmental destruction coming down the pipeline.

                          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                          by AoT on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 09:52:31 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  It's not just going to happen quickly (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            AoT

                            It's going to happen quickly no matter what we do.

                            I did a statistical survey using IUCN Red List data for vertebrates, comparing against all taxa families.

                            I think applied a credit risk downgrade model to show migration from one 'threat' (or non threat) category to another, including improvements.

                            This is a simple draft exhibit showing the range of scenarios.

                            The fall is not inevitable but the level of work required to mitigate it is not something our civilization is geared around.

                            In short, this civilization has to die so the Earth does not.

                            I don't see this civilization making that choice or tolerating anyone attempting to make it for them.

                            Ergo, we all die, because power.

                          •  That graphic does give me some hope (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            cskendrick

                            It rules out a lot of what I thought were worst case scenarios. But it's not pretty. Thanks for the perspective.

                            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                            by AoT on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 07:40:27 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The devil is in the details (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            AoT

                            The baseline scenario's latest possible extinction date for Homo sapiens is circa 2470 AD.

                            Degrading the forecast by one-tenth of a power reduces that time frame to 2250. (and upgrade by the same amount gets us to 2830)

                            Doing so by two-tenths: 2150 down (3460 up)

                            Three-tenths: 2080 down (3760 up)

                            We can either do nothing...and die soon. Be worse dicks to the environment, and die much sooner, or fix up the joint, and buy ourselves time to do further improvements down the road.

                            My estimates might be off but not by magnitudes. I think I capture the essence of the problem and sketch out a plausible time table.

                            Here's a reality check: Order of vertebrate family extinctions - the first 25 predicted to die off (these are all monotype taxa so if one species goes, the family dies)

                             New Zealand Parrot II (Kaka)
                             Baiji/Yangzte Dolphin
                             Central American river turtle
                             Leatherback Sea Turtle
                             Gharial
                             Big-headed Turtle
                             Plains-wanderer
                             Kagu
                             Laotian Rock Rat
                             Numbat (banded anteater)
                             Round Island ground boa
                             Shoebill Stork
                             Secretarybird
                             Whale shark
                             Bowmouth Guitarfish
                             Zebra Shark
                             Red Panda
                             Kitti's Hog nosed bat aka Bumblebee Bat
                             Pacarana
                             Dugong
                             Sperm Whale
                             Bilbies
                             Pig Nosed Turtle
                             Mexican Burrowing Toad
                             Magpie-goose

                  •  Oh, because This MAY have happened before (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    AoT

                    the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact that carved up Poland back in 1939.

                    But I'm sure great powers in 2014 never do such naughty things.

        •  So what? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Shockwave, bluezen

          I bet the US might like to use that base too.  Does that give us a right to invade Crimea now?

  •  coll's book: (36+ / 0-)
    When Lee Raymond, CEO of Texas-based ExxonMobil from 1993 to 2005, was asked if his company might build more refineries in the United States to help protect the country against possible shortages of gasoline, he replied, “I’m not a U.S. company and I don’t make decisions based on what’s good for the U.S.”
    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/...

    and the u.s. should not make decisions based on what's good for exxon.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 11:39:42 AM PDT

  •  Thank you MB for starting to dig into what I (4+ / 0-)

    think could be the big question being addressed within the war rooms of the US and Europe if Putin continues invading and land grabbing - "do we want to make money and lose people(i.e. go to war or help others go to war) or lose money and ding our economies (imposing the kind of real, deep sanctions that the banks/corporations would surely fight hard against).  

    Is there anything else that would stop Putin now, before it goes to far?

    •  Not so binary (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zmom, Eyesbright, Aquarius40, KenBee

      There are those who make $ off of a fighting war, and those who lose $. There are those who make $ from a cold war, and those who don't. There are those who make money off of peace, and those who don't.

      ...and then there's all that pesky political stuff.

      So in war rooms world-wide, they're gaming out a bunch of possible progressions.

      ( I assume that you're including boardrooms within the set of " war rooms".)

      Question- how far is "too far"?

    •  Depends on if the US/NATO continue pushing (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chuckvw, Joieau, AoT

      to surround Russia, what the Russians will do. I don't think anybody in their right mind thinks Russia has a military strategy for global hegemony. There's probably only one nation on earth that does. Russian dominance on their borders? Absolutely something they want, but you can buy dictators, you don't need to beat them in war.


      Real fixes, outside the coffin fixes, ain't ever pragmatic says Political Conventional Wisdoom.

      by Jim P on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 02:12:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Even if sanctions could somehow be refined (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eyesbright, Bluesee

    ... so that they weren't so double-edged, I don't think it would matter.  (Some Russian oligarchs over the past few weeks were making similar noises to our plutocrats now.)  Putin is clearly willing to trade away any short-term pain for long-term gain.  I'm actually a bit stunned at how things have panned out so quickly, to be honest, and I highly doubt any reversal is in the cards.  The best-case scenario just seems to be somehow setting up a diplomatic (economic? military?) firewall to keep the Crimea from becoming a modern-day Sudetenland (one of the few instances where Godwin's Law doesn't apply because the parallels are undeniable).

    •  Right. Putin is trying to conquer all of Eurasia. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chuckvw, Jim P, felix19

      That's a reasonable assertion based on the facts at hand.

      •  On June 22 the Russians will invade themselves (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Crimson Buddha, Jim P, felix19, JesseCW

        As far as Sudetenland is concerned:

        The Crimea situation is probably as close or closer to what Putin did in Kosovo.

        Erm... I mean NATO.

        It always seems impossible until its done. -Nelson Mandela

        by chuckvw on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 12:41:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Kosovo canard (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bluezen, Texas Lefty

          Look, I get it.  But Kosovo wasn't annexed by the US or any NATO state.  Even Albania didn't snatch it up.  And there was actual repression of an ethnic minority-majority on the ground, although causes, extent, etc are vigorously debated even now, I know.  Yes, the Kosovo intervention is contentious, and I'm not crazy about the unilateral declaration of independence - and less than 100 states even recognize it accordingly - but saying "Kosovo!" doesn't suddenly make the Crimea annexation hunky-dory.

          •  No... Just puts it in perspective (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SeltzerDuke, felix19, JesseCW

            Only one example among many that puts U.S./NATO "outrage" in perspective.

            "Contentious" is a bit of an understatement. The nation (still contested) of Kosovo arose from a brutal war - tit for tat ethnic massacres, Western support for a terrorist organization (KLA), and the first bombing of a European capital since 1945 (with a fair amount of "collateral damage")... It wasn't the Albanians who bombed Belgrade... Let me know when the Russians bomb Kyiv, or burn down Tatar villages. Then, perhaps, my comparison would be more apt...

            Of course, U.S./NATO had no problem recognizing the longing for freedom and self determination of the Kosovar Albanians... Because they felt it was in their interests to do so.

            It always seems impossible until its done. -Nelson Mandela

            by chuckvw on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 02:22:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  First bombing of a European capital since 1945? (0+ / 0-)

              I'm pretty sure Sarajevo, a European capital, was bombed for nearly four years straight from 1992-1995 by Bosnian Serb forces supported and armed by Serbia.

              "I'm a progressive man and I like progressive people" Peter Tosh

              by Texas Lefty on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 07:26:13 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Shelled different from bombed (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JesseCW

                First aerial campaign against a European city since 1945.

                NATO did bomb Serbian positions around Sarajevo in an attempt to break the siege. The Serbian Air Force had pretty much been grounded by a no fly zone over B-H and Croatia.

                It always seems impossible until its done. -Nelson Mandela

                by chuckvw on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 08:07:46 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Shelled/Bombed..either way, Kosovo wasn't a vacuum (0+ / 0-)

                  Serbia was bombed because of past actions of arming and supporting separatists in Bosnia and Croatia, as well as  actions in Kosovo.  If Serbia had not repressed and killed so many Albanians in Kosovo, they'd still have Kosovo.  If they had not killed so many Bosnians and Croatians, they probably wouldn't have been bombed in 1999.  

                  "I'm a progressive man and I like progressive people" Peter Tosh

                  by Texas Lefty on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 07:33:49 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I am familiar with the history (0+ / 0-)

                    Yours is one view of how things transpired. I agree with some it. You do have to dumb it down a bit to pin all of the responsibility on Serbia. It was more complicated than that.

                    But thanks for letting me know that there's no difference between artillery and stealth bombers. Enlightening.

                    It always seems impossible until its done. -Nelson Mandela

                    by chuckvw on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 10:52:53 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Arizona and New Mexico would be the appropriate (0+ / 0-)

          comparison. Of course, no one wants to make that comparison for some reason.

          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

          by AoT on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 06:01:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Is that all you can come up with? (0+ / 0-)

            Historical precedent?

            It always seems impossible until its done. -Nelson Mandela

            by chuckvw on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 08:14:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I can come up with a lot (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JesseCW, chuckvw

              I thought we were doing historical comparisons.

              If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

              by AoT on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 09:27:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Snark meter kaput? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AoT

                It always seems impossible until its done. -Nelson Mandela

                by chuckvw on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 10:06:05 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  YES! (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  chuckvw

                  It's been overloaded with this Ukraine thing. Everything is topsy-turvy. I've been called a Putin apologist I don't know how many times for saying that Russia isn't going to invade Estonia.

                  If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                  by AoT on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 07:38:19 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  First Poland, then France and the low countries (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    AoT

                    Because Hitler.

                    Putin is a reactionary, but once he sets on a course he pursues it. NATO expansion - after assurances that that wouldn't happen - is the fundamental issue here. Disingenuous neolib/cons say otherwise, but they are proven liars.

                    ... And some people don't like to have their war buzz harshed. How many people who were so keen to humanitarianly save Libya speak of Libya now.

                    The Kyiv regime has almost no control over events now. The genie is out of the bottle. Fascist thugs are roaming the streets, robbing banks, stealing weapons, and beating people up at will. Wait until the Svoboda "National Guard" gets up and running. This is not going to end well.

                    But, you know, STFU...

                    It always seems impossible until its done. -Nelson Mandela

                    by chuckvw on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 10:43:01 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  It wasn't my assertion. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chuckvw, AoT

        I meant parallels insofar as opportunistic absorption of neighboring territory on the premise of reuniting/rescuing a shared ethnic minority, which led to Anschluss, and so forth.  I guess I should be clearer that I mean more of a pattern in terms of drawing the parallel, rather than a question of scale, in in that there are large populations of ethnic Russians in all the former Soviet states.  Is it so crazy to assume moves might be made towards Transnistria, Belarus, and so forth?  The Baltic states don't seem so complacent.

        Seriously, you're jumping on the wrong guy.  I'm interested in analysis rather than hyperbole and am open to discussion - I have no real conclusions drawn, rather just an observer.  And really my framework is generally IR rather than foreign policy - there are no good options for the US (or "West") here and I'm not even sure any are necessary.  I'm not blind to American hegemony etc etc.

        •  The Baltics are in NATO now. While pretending (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT

          Russia is a threat is useful distraction for many politicians there, those feigned fears should not be taken as evidence of actual danger.

          Ethnic Russians have been driven entirely or almost entirely from many of the former Soviet Republics.  It's important to understand that background to provide some much needed context to what's happening.

          Putin moving on Belarus would be like the US moving the UK.  Who attacks their own poodle?

      •  NATO (0+ / 0-)

        It is a more reasonable assertion based upon the facts on hand is that NATO wants to conquer all of Eurasia.

        don't drone me, bro

        by BradMajors on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 07:23:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It is simple. (6+ / 0-)

    Corporations are replacing governments world-wide. Their goal is the destruction of government for the unfettered exploitation of the Earth and of workers everywhere.

    If you hate government, don't run for office in that government.

    by Bensdad on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 12:21:54 PM PDT

  •  Seriously? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lepanto, burlydee, Mr Robert

    Hagel is consulting with the CEOs over foreign policy?  Guess we know who's running the country.

  •  Not only are sanctions not warranted, but (5+ / 0-)

    they are a really bad idea. We live in a totally interconnected world and Russia is one of the G8 nations. The world is not what it was, and our influence is waning. Europe will not institute any sanctions. The East is a massive market for energy. China is perhaps the largest consumer of energy as they also are the largest emitters of CO2. More new cars have been sold in China over the last four years than in the US. This is a global market and Russia is the second largest producer of oil, of which they consume only 25% domestically.

    Can we stand on any great principe on this? I doubt it. I have read the news from the Russian side, Europe and the US and I see competing truths, all of them suspect. Get over it, Crimea is now part of Russia and it doesn't foretell of a resurected Soviet empire.

  •  So instead of sanctions that hurt the Russian .. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    onionjim, KenBee, basquebob, Lepanto, annieli

    ..people why not targeted sanctions on; ExxonMobil,  Rosneft, U.S.-based companies, mostly those engaged in technology and financial services. and other international extraction corporations?

    The clout, reach, and mission of ExxonMobil mean that it runs what amounts to its own foreign policy, raising the question of how that policy relates to the foreign policy of the United States.
    ..because corporations can "ride it out" and the people always get hurt first and the longest.
    ExxonMobil, whose investment in Russia is the corporation's largest outside the United States, has a deal with Ukraine to drill off Crimea in the Black Sea. Government revenue in Russia is heavily dependent on fossil-fuel exports. If additional (and actually effective) sanctions were imposed, it could very well mean that Exxon's and other U.S.-based corporations' on-going projects would be stifled because Kremlin officials would be compelled to cut back on energy-related infrastructure projects needed to make a go of those projects.

     - emphasis added

    ..so since ExxonMobil and these other financial institutions have no allegiance to the people in any particular country including the people of the US, why should our military be used to help any international extraction industry/corporation exploit the resources in any corner of the world?
    ExxonMobil's CEO Rex Tillerson signed an agreement with Russia's state-owned petrochemical giant Rosneft in 2012. It was one oligarch shaking hands on one side with the chief of oligarchs, Vladimir Putin, on the other side:
    Sanction the Oligarchs and the infrastructure, including financial infrastructure directly somehow. I do not know how but it seems that these are the "interests" that cause all this crap to happen in the first place and they shouldn't be deciding how this goes down - imo

    Thx MB

    •  At this point, the sanctions are on individuals (0+ / 0-)

      The current sanctions are on individual Russians and Ukrainians considered responsible for the mess.  US sanctions are targeted at a higher level than British sanctions.  

      The big holdouts seem to be Germany, which depends on Russian energy supplies and has some 6,000 corporations doing business in Russia, and Great Britain, where the oligarchs like to do business (at the City of London) and have large real estate investments.

      It sounds like our oligarchs are approaching solidarity with Russia's.  I mean, if your international morals are worse than Royal Dutch Shell's (which is pulling out), that's pretty low.

      "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

      by Yamaneko2 on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 08:36:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I noticed in the pic (7+ / 0-)

    that Rex had a tight grip on his jewelry, and Putin's hands are behind his back. The tension is beautiful in context of Putin having stolen the superbowl ring from a famous player here in the States.

    A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

    by onionjim on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 01:24:27 PM PDT

  •  I wonder at times whether when it comes to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, Pluto

    foreign policy President Obama has any idea as to what's being done by the Neocons in the State Department on the one hand, and the transnational corporatists on the other, until after it happens?

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 01:40:55 PM PDT

    •  A Fox News style attack (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      6412093

      Against a President who actually got Bin Laden, wound down one misguided war and one mismanaged one.  All while having to work twice as hard because of the most obstructionist congress in history preventing action on both domestic and foreign policy fronts.  

      You would prefer President McCain or President Romney?  Would that be for the draconian domestic policy or for the prospect of being on the verge of nuclear war right now because we are being led by someone who is more concerned with appearing strong than being prudent.  

      It is the choice to whine like this rather than getting people elected at the local level and getting those on the left that are passionate about politics to turn out in non-presidential elections that has put us where we are.

      There is no value in a bleeding heart liberal.  We need kick-ass liberals.  

      If we do not maintain Justice, Justice will not maintain us. -Sir Francis Bacon.

      by Res Ipsa Loquitor on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 07:56:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Its not just corporations (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KenBee, chuckvw, Lepanto, Pluto

    The upper end of the London property market and associated economy would collapse without Russian money.

    There won't be meaningful sanctions.

    Remember to kick it over.

    by sprogga on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 01:42:55 PM PDT

  •  Though it's peripheral for most (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KenBee, AoT

    I've been wondering how this shifting geopolitical dynamic around Putin's actions in Ukraine would wind up relating to Arctic drilling in particular, lately. Russia has been quietly preparing for conflict there for a little while, military and otherwise, and its claims in the opening Arctic have been more and more forceful.

  •  The Game of Thrones style power-brokering here (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bink, chuckvw

    is why I find it hard to care.  So detached from my life this all is.  What do I know, I live in Flea-bottom.  

  •  I Keep Hearing (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, Lepanto, burlydee, sprogga, felix19

    That the world is a much more stable place because of globalization and the dependencies it places on all of us to keep the trade going no matter what.

    I guess this is what they were talking about.

    In turns out that to achieve this "stability" -- for what it is worth -- we also had to accept dominance of the economic elites. After all, it is their money, rather than the political will of peoples, that is making the world go round.

    I don't know.

    I might be having a bad day, but I don't think this is all it was advertised to be.

    I remain unconvince that the interests of an economically powerful class, exercised unfettered across the globe, are the same as the interests of the other seven billion of us.

    There is some unexplained part of this story that is still to be told.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 02:43:27 PM PDT

  •  Well before this there are ties. Kazakhstan (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lepanto, felix19, barbwires, annieli, Pluto, 6412093

    has oil, heavy, sour crude, but no quick, easy way to get it out except through Russia or Iran. IIRC, Exxon-Mobil & chevron-Texaco both have some of the action. The US has been busting a gut to get it out to "friendly" ports through strictly "friendly" countries, like Azerbaijan and Turkey.

    This was a major cuse of the dust-up over Georgia. Everybody was pretty happty with the government until it decided to negotiate the next leg of the pipeline with the Russkies. Suddenly a horde of US funded NGOs popped up making claims about how evil and repressive the government ws and it went downhill from there.

    Any time you are near The Caspian or Black Seas, you need to stop and think about the Pipelineistan implications of everything.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 03:03:23 PM PDT

  •  transnational corporations have no loyalty to any (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, Pluto

    country, only to the profit motive

    that's why it's so infuriating to see just how often these same transnationals manage to use our armed forces to impose their will on other countries

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 03:30:20 PM PDT

  •  Well, geeze, our Prez had better take (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lepanto

    a deliberative approach to the Ukraine until his Corporate Sponsors tell him what to do.

    Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

    by bobdevo on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 03:44:09 PM PDT

  •  So where does it stop? (0+ / 0-)

    Where does Russia's grab for territory beyond it's borders stop?

    You better bet that other countries in the region are nervous, and arming.

    If Russia can annex Crimea at will, where will it stop?  Their military might, and their possession of nuclear weapons gives them their clout.  The question is whether the world will let them get away with it?

  •  Given that this conflict is principally between (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sprogga, 6412093

    plutocrats, oligarchs and cleptocrats, let us hope that everyone can get back to the business of serving the international 1% with a minimum of bloodshed.

    The frog jumped/ into the old pond/ plop! (Basho)

    by Wolf10 on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 04:20:44 PM PDT

  •  Of, by and for the multinationals... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wolf10

    This land is their land. We just happen to sojourn in it.

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 05:04:48 PM PDT

  •  Yo, Exxon, you probably should not have partnered (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades

    up with a corrupt leader like Putin, and perhaps you should have been more discerning as to what basket you put your eggs into. Isn't that part of "Risk", you know, that thing you used to experience before you became a supranational entity.

    Sorry, but you losing your shirt in a deals with tyrants is no more important than the security, health, and wellbeing of the American people.

    You might want to take a look at your business partners in the future so as to avoid this kind of unseemly and unprofitable situation.

    Thanks for writing this MB, but I was struck by how exceptional this angle is, like,"Whoa! Exxon's gonna lose profits! Sit the hell down, Kerry, we've got profits on the line."

    Exxon makes more money in quarterly proftis than the State of Michigan's entire national budget. Exxon's GDP is larger than Austria.

    You know what? Screw you Exxon. Your profits should not be a global priority. Is it possible for a corporation to be a narcissist, or is it mandatory?  

    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 05:27:29 PM PDT

    •  The "security, health, and wellbeing of the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      k9disc

      American people?" How are they being promoted by Obama's and Kerry's infantile posturing? Sorry, economic sanctions cut both ways, and there is no reason for Americans to suffer for a few Nazis in Kiev.

      •  Heh, I'm actually not at all on the side of the US (0+ / 0-)

        and the EU Establishment on this issue.

        I was making a rhetorical argument about the value of their profits vs our health and well being.

        The argument that Exxon should have a say in sanctions places their need for profit at the same or a greater level than the security, health and well being of Americans, and I reject that in principle, as should all American citizens.

        This kind of situation should not be about Exxon's profits (and I know that these kinds of situations usually are about profits..).

        The thing is that today, making a public argument as to the veracity and viability of Exxon's profits is supposed to sway public opinion, and that really bothers me.

        That and the rank hypocrisy of making Putin a stand in for the Russian People - "Putin needs his hands burned" kind of shit - while these corporate cats cut and undercut deals with demands and currying favor.

        They should eat their losses like any responsible business in a "Free Market". That's how lessons are learned.

        Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

        by k9disc on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 08:08:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Politicians and corporations (0+ / 0-)

    Two politicians one Democrat, one Republican and a corporation walk into a bar. The bartender asks who is buying the drinks? The corporation says I'll pick up the tab for both of my clients and drive them home.

    Both drunken politicians arrive home safely and everyone else in the bar gets fleeced...

  •  Maybe since there was SUCH an enormous (0+ / 0-)

    bailout for some of these folks already, and no one has gone to jail, the feds might ask the corporate folk "pretty please," at least enough to flex without necessarily hurting any businesses.

    I know. Easier said than done. Things have gotten much more complex since the WTO was put into place.

    Many people called the anti-WTOers "cranks" back in the day, that day being not so very long ago...

    Darling, you didn't use canned salmon, did you?

    by JrCrone on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 05:54:40 PM PDT

  •  What's this? (0+ / 0-)

    What is Rex Tillerson doing collaborating with our arch enemy Putin?  Will anyone accuse Rex of being a traitor? I thought we were supposed to be pushing back on Putin, not cozying up to him.

    But you know,  multi-national business leaders have no allegiance to any country, and are a little more accepting of what others consider tyrants or dictators.

    But I digress...thanks for this article. I've been screaming for days that the reason that the pushback against Russia hasn't been stronger is because both American and EU businesses are lobbying heavily against harsh economic sanctions.  Life isn't as simple as the cowboys out there would care to think.

  •  The End Game (0+ / 0-)

    What is the end game in all of this? After all, what can we do? The American people do not have the stomach for another war, especially a war with Russia. America itself does not have the economic ability to finance another war. America also doesn't have the foreign standing to get people on board to have another war. So what is left? Economic sanctions will either have no effect or worse, hurt the Russian people. The option of sanctioning top officials just allow them to look stronger and thumb their noses at us. Sanctioning all of Russia makes at least a whole country hate us.

    I honestly cannot see any way that our involvement will benefit us. Putin is coming out looking like an eastern European lion while America is looking more and more like a tiger made of paper.

  •  All I can say about that photo - (0+ / 0-)

    Get a room.

    "Onward through the fog!" - Oat Willie

    by rocksout on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 07:30:29 PM PDT

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