I delivered the following remarks at an anti-NATO conference held in Moscow on May 15, 2012. I was the only North American speaker at an all-day conference, having been invited in connection with the appearance into Russian of my book Drugs, Oil, and War. As a former diplomat worried about peace I was happy to attend: as far as I can tell there may be less serious dialogue today between Russian and American intellectuals than there was at the height of the Cold War. Yet the danger of war involving the two leading nuclear powers has hardly disappeared.
The Court Politics of Russia’s New Shale Oil Drive
Russia’s recent solicitation of ExxonMobil and Norway’s Statoil to develop a field of oil shale in Siberia follows a pattern of President Putin.
Dashed Hopes for Baghdad Breakthrough
The recently concluded negotiations between Iran and the world powers, the so-called P5+1, was perhaps the first serious attempt at resolving the Iranian nuclear impasse since the 2009 botched negotiations. Both sides entered the talks with a strong sense of cautious optimism, thinking maybe this time would be different. Even former top American diplomats joined the euphoric run up to the Baghdad talks. According to the former lead U.S. negotiator on Iran, Nicholas Burns, “for the first time in 32 years, since the Iranian revolution, there is the possibility of serious, substantive and sustained talks with Iran.”
The Failure of the Summit of the Americas VI
Dilma Rousseff interrupted the speech of Barack Obama. The President of the United States was speaking about the advances of various countries in Latin America, commenting that now there exists “a prosperous middle class” that represents a business opportunity for companies from his country. “Suddenly, they are interested in buying iPads, interested in buying planes from Boeing.” “Or Embraer,” interjected Dilma, yielding applause.
Japan, Nuclear Energy, and the TPP
A little over a year since the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown in Japan, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced the shutdown of the last of the country’s 50 usable nuclear reactors. However, as the Mainichi Daily News reports, Japan will also be spending billions of dollars importing extra oil and gas to meet its energy demand, which will produce a projected 180-210 million additional tons of emissions this year.
Fearful Iran Hawks Flat Harder
As at least two days of talks on the future of Iran’s nuclear program got underway in Baghdad on Wednesday, neo-conservatives and other hawks escalated their campaign against any compromise agreement, particularly one that would permit Tehran to continue enriching uranium on its territory.
Israel’s Reluctant Friend
A new and perhaps surprising country took center stage recently in the ongoing row over Iran’s nuclear program – Azerbaijan. Citing anonymous “high-level sources” from U.S. diplomatic and intelligence circles, a controversial article in Foreign Policy at the end of March suggested the possibility that Israel might have been proffered the use of Azerbaijani airstrips for any strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Epistle to the Ecotopians
As I survey my life, which is coming near its end, I want to set down a few thoughts that might be useful to those coming after. It will soon be time for me to give back to Gaia the nutrients that I have used during a long, busy, and happy life. I am not bitter or resentful at the approaching end; I have been one of the extraordinarily lucky ones. So it behooves me here to gather together some thoughts and attitudes that may prove useful in the dark times we are facing: a century or more of exceedingly difficult times.
Annotate This: EU Response to Argentina’s Nationalization
Despite being immensely popular among the people of Argentina, the Argentinean government’s decision to nationalize the YPF oil company has continued to come under attack by those who obstinately promote extractive capitalism. The measure would nationalize YPF and restore 51 percent of the company’s ownership to Argentina. It would thus end sister company Repsol’s 57.4 percent majority stake in the company.
Iran: Why This Time Is Different
The latest P5+1 talks in Istanbul rejuvenated the diplomatic track between Iran and the West, paving the way for a new chapter in Iranian nuclear negotiations. Yet if the recently concluded talks were a test of intentions, the upcoming negotiations in Baghdad are going to be a real test of wills. Both sides will have to overcome huge obstacles if they want to establish a “sustained process of serious dialogue” to resolve the Iranian nuclear impasse.