Ping pong, anyone? First it was the story of Pipelineistan and Nabucco, which bounced merrily into the whole Georgian fracas, which pinged attention to the a resurgent Russia and all of that, and now its ponged back to Nabucco, with the Hungarian Ambassador in charge of Nabucco dashing off to Turkey to do what he can to get his Nabucco co-conspirators to speed things up. They’re understandably anxious, since Nabucco depends at this point on the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan line, which transverses Georgia. Should the Russians get antsy again, they could disrupt the flow, and then Europe would once again have its gas controlled by Russia. Fine, you say, but when did Hungary get into the act?

          The primary recipients of Nabucco gas haven’t been definitively enumerated yet, but at this point Hungary, Austria, Romania, Bulgaria, Germany and Turkey each hold a little over 16% each of the stake in the project, and Budapest is to host the January Continue reading


           Whew. What a lot of hubbub in the Caucasus!  And the whirlwind amongst the geopolitical blowhards who are trying to figure it all out is such that it’s disturbing local weather patterns.  You know the scene:  a butterfly flaps its wings in the Caucasus, and spawns a tornado a half a world away.  What is becoming clear is that Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili (Misha to his friends) acted recklessly in the 7 August shelling of the South Ossetian capitol, Tskhinvali, theoretically in response to Russian troops moving through the Roki tunnel from North to South Ossetia and otherwise raising a ruckus.  He was reckless, but his recklessness was not a function of excess aggressiveness, it was because he fell into a Russian trap.  Russia had been conducting flyovers of the region, staged massive military maneuvers on the border and otherwise rattled sabers. That they could switch from “peacekeeping” to “ousting the aggressor” at the drop of a shapka ushanka (hat) is just too convenient for anyone to not be at least tempted to cry wolf (mixed metaphors, anyone?). Just like in Chechnya, only this time the Russians said they were doing just what Georgia said it was doing this time: restoring order within a sovereign state. Continue reading

News botting: WWOD?

          In these days of geopolitical percolation when nation states boil through statehood to dissolution as easily as steam bubbles in a mud bath, I’ve become interested enough to become a little news-bot. I troll the international press, snagging on worthless, submersed fallen logs of information as often as catching an interesting trend, but it passes the time. Of course the topic de jour is Kosovo, when it isn’t (when hasn’t it been?) some dusty country, brimming with oil. Energy is and always will be the topic, but nowadays it’s not all about who’s got it, but how they get it to you.  In the American press there hasn’t been as much attention paid to Pipelineistan  as there has been to Islamistan, Continue reading