Football diplomacy

          Who ever thought that news from Azerbaijan would be of interest? Well grab your thinking caps, kids, and start thinking about not just Baku, but Dushanbe, Tashkent, Astana and Bishkek, because that’s where the action is about to be, if you ask me, which, once again, no one has. Sigh. Anyway, Baku got as friendly a visit as it is possible to get from our grumpy friend Dick Cheney the other day. One can only guess that it left the Azeris feeling a bit like toothpaste, about to be shot out of the tube. Dick is squeezing the tube in his typical gorilla grip while Russia’s Putin – oops! I meant Medvedev – is trying to roll the tube up methodically from the bottom by signing yet another deal with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to pipe gas to Russia; a pipeline which would make the Nabucco pipeline, favored not only by Baku, but by Dick and the rest of the Western Imperialists, obsolete. Given all this high-level attention Continue reading

Belles of the Ball

          The locus of international focus has meandered from Pipelineistan to the sunny shores of the Mediterranean, thanks to our favorite Presidential Imp, Nicolas Sarkozy.  For whatever reason, the husband of Carla –Wow! – Bruni has decided that the Med is just the place to zip up the gaping seam that has for centuries kept the North of that sea in a perennial state of imperialism (be it political, economic or cultural) and the south as subluxated as Cinderella. Consider these pertinent northern rim attendees of Sarkozy’s Med Ball: Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, the Balkans (Croatia, Bosnia, Albania et all regardless of the fact that they are actually located on the Adriatic Sea) and Greece. The southern Belles include Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, while eastern and otherwise uncategorized wallflowers include Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and…drum roll, please, for the elephant in the room… Israel.

          All in all there will be some 40 participants in this new union which, pragmatically for a beginner, aims mostly cheerful efforts at 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