CHICKENS ROOSTING 1: CHINA. It was fun to rant on about the “energy weapon” and how Russia had to be cut out of pipelines: it was weak, getting weaker and had no other market. But it isn’t, didn’t and hasn’t. Rosneft’s CEO says annual oil sales – 7 million tonnes – to China ought to bring in US$2.4 billion a year in export duties. Russian energy sales to China can only get bigger because it suits each country’s interests. Why sell to a market that accuses you of evil intent when there’s one that doesn’t?
CHICKENS ROOSTING 2: EGYPT. It was fun to expand NATO and push Russia around: it was weak, getting weaker and had no friends. But it isn’t, didn’t and hasn’t. Washington’s stunningly incompetent – but still arrogant – policy is turning Cairo towards Moscow and Moscow is happy to reciprocate. A Russian warship is in Alexandria and Lavrov and Shoygu are about to visit. Much talk of close relations and arms sales. Given the excitement about its trivial presence in Tartus, just think of the ventricular fibrillation when the Russian Navy gets a base in Alex. And, keeping up the impression of revival, Russia’s snazziest-looking warship is now in the Med.
SNIPPETS. Not everyone is shunning Russia. Moscow and Tokyo have agreed to (finally) hold peace treaty talks in 2014. Italy and Russia have held a joint naval exercise in the Aegean. The King and Queen of the Netherlands visited. It’s been slower than I expected, but I do believe that reality is gradually taking hold: Russia is a “normal” country: it has its own interests and peculiarities to be sure, but shunning and excoriating it doesn’t get anyone anywhere. It’s neither going away nor fading away. And it’s not anybody’s enemy either.