Category: Politics and Society

Denmark Approves Route for a Controversial Russia-German Pipeline

Denmark gave permission on Wednesday for a natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany to pass through waters in its exclusive economic zone, meaning that the project, Nord Stream 2, can be completed despite sharp criticism from the United States, Ukraine and Poland. With nearly all of its 2,400 kilometers of pipe already laid, Nord Stream 2, wholly owned by Russia’s Gazprom, should be completed roughly on schedule early next year. It is actually a pair of pipelines, complementing a previous pair, Nord Stream 1, and will double capacity to 110 billion cubic meters, or about 3.9 trillion cubic feet.

Rachel Maddow: BLOWOUT – Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth

A rollickingly well-written book, filled with fascinating, exciting and alarming stories about the impact of the oil and gas industry on the world today. While she is clearly animated by a concern about climate change, Maddow mostly describes the political consequences of an industry that has empowered some of the strangest people in the United States and the most unsavory ones abroad. New York Times

Timothy Garton Ash: Time for a New Liberation? Timothy Garton Ash

On the tenth anniversary of 1989, at the brink of the millennium, we could celebrate both the original triumph of the velvet revolutions and great subsequent progress. By the twentieth anniversary, in 2009, the countries of Central Europe had become members of both NATO and the EU, while political scientists described Hungary as a “consolidated democracy.” On this thirtieth anniversary, by contrast, the question that forces itself onto dismayed lips is “What went wrong?” The New York Review of Books

U.S. Sanctions Turn Iran’s Oil Industry Into Spy vs. Spy

Since President Trump imposed sanctions on Iranian oil sales last year, information on those sales has become a prized geopolitical weapon — coveted by Western intelligence agencies and top secret for Iran. And the business of selling Iranian oil, once a safe and lucrative enterprise for the well connected, has been transformed into a high-stakes global game of espionage and counterespionage. New York Times