« business channel does business | Main | spooks gonna spook »

June 18, 2014

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d834518d3769e201a511d01b21970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference bangs for your buck:

Comments

dan

I'm not sure how long that stack of depreciating Iraqi dinars is really going to last for - after all, they've just inherited a population of some 3-5 million people in three Iraqi governorates, a whopping proportion of whom were dependent on government cash largesse/public sector salaries, supplied via regular monthly shipments of cash from Baghdad to the provincial offices of the central bank of Iraq. I think it's fair to assume that there won't be any new deliveries of cash from Baghdad to make payroll in the coming months, and that whopping stack of Iraqi dinars probably accounts for, at most, three months of Nineveh's operating costs.

I wonder what the qualifications for being a Jihadi central banker are? Return to the gold standard may well be a long-term policy objective.

Strategist

Let me get this straight: are the "fat armchair jihadis in Saudi, Kuwait, and the Emirates" sat in private or government armchairs?

The distinction is important - as a fat armchair ecowarrior, I send money to Greenpeace to shut down Russian Arctic oilrigs, and no doubt Putin accepts the British Government's claim that they can't stop me doing that, but it would be a different kettle of fish if it was the British Govt funding Greenpeace itself.

Similarly, the US must be a little bit gutted if it's the Saudi government itself that has just funded the routing of the US-trained & equipped Iraqi army?

Are the US and Saudi actually in a rift at present, but MSM too frightened to report it? You can watch the BBC and the much-lionised Paxman till you're blue in the face and you'll get no clue as to what is going on. (So, ultimately, good riddance Paxman, you were always a coward really.)

I read an interesting piece by Golem XIV claiming that one of the commercial rivalries/proxy wars being fought out in Syria was between Qatar/France, Saudi/US and Russia/Assad, over dominance of European gas market.

Any thoughts, B&T wise men/women?

godoggo

Aren't the forbidden to charge interest? Seems like that would make the job harder, or easier or something.

Guano

Greenpeace don't have guns.

Even if the money from the Gulf to Sunni militias came from private armchair-sitters, the governments of the Gulf states should have tried to prevent funding of terrorism. You would also have expected the US administration to make a lot more noise about this funding of terrorism than they have done. There are probably so many other layers to the relationship that the Americans prefer not to say anything in public (in the same way that Blair preferred not to proceed with the BAe corruption investigation).

ajay

- as a fat armchair ecowarrior, I send money to Greenpeace to shut down Russian Arctic oilrigs, and no doubt Putin accepts the British Government's claim that they can't stop me doing that

What are you talking about? Of course the British government could stop you doing it. They could freeze the assets of Greenpeace UK. They could add Greenpeace worldwide to a list of sanctioned entities and impose penalties on anyone doing business with them. They've done it for all sorts of other people and companies, including a lot of Putin's mates; Putin would be very stupid indeed to believe any claims that HMG makes (and I doubt it's made any, for exactly this reason) that it is unable to stop people paying money to Greenpeace.

ajay

Let me put it another way: what do you think would happen to you if you, a British citizen, started fundraising in the UK for ISIS?
Well then. Why do you think that the Gulf emirates, with considerably more power over their subjects and considerably fewer worries about human rights, would not be able to do something similar?

ajay

Also, good point small dan.

Phil

All of which raises the question of just how much crap the US is prepared to take from the House of Saud & thereabouts. The answer seems to be, really quite a lot.

Strategist

Ajay, you've gone off on one trashing my analogy. OK, so it may have been a poor analogy.
But what about my actual point, which was, when War Nerd is talking about armchair jihadis, does he mean the Saudi, Kuwaiti, Qatari, UAE governments? And if he does, why doesn't he say so? Why doesn't anybody (that I see & read in my mainstream media) say so?
Which brings us to Phil's pithy point - and the unanswered question, what is the current state of the power balance and relationship between the US and the House of Saud & neighbours?

ajay

when War Nerd is talking about armchair jihadis, does he mean the Saudi, Kuwaiti, Qatari, UAE governments? And if he does, why doesn't he say so?

a) the money is not actually coming directly from the Gulf governments - inasmuch as they exist separately from the ruling families. It's coming from various charitable foundations, and from very wealthy private individuals (again, inasmuch as they exist separately from the ruling families). The Gulf governments are, however, funding the Syrian opposition openly and directly, and how much of that is going to which opposition groups is not clear. One good source on this would probably be Steve Coll, "Ghost Wars". It is, however, coming with the blessing of, or at least under the blind eye of, the Gulf governments. They are terrified of the Iranians, and see the Iraqi and Syrian governments as Iranian catspaws.

b) the War Nerd may not know this. He is not a reliable or knowledgeable source.

c) Good question.

Guano

David Wearing writes some interesting stuff about UK - Gulf relations and this article traces UK - Saudi relations back to 1973.

http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/david-wearing/forty-years-on-effects-of-1973-74-oil-crisis-still-shape-british-foreign-po

"The events of 1973-74 helped to deepen an already powerful bond between Britain and the Arab monarchs and emirs, and London is not alone in having a huge stake in the survival of those regimes, given their control over stupendous energy resources and their willingness and capacity to invest abroad."

And every time that there has been a choice to be made between rethinking the relations with the Gulf States and getting in further, the result has been the latter. There are too many sunk costs and individual interests to risk pulling back. And I think that Wearing means the USA when he says "London is not alone".

ajay

Guano has a good point: by this point, I think that doing anything that would weaken the Gulf monarchies is pretty much unthinkable to the US and UK. And for good reason: the oil must flow. And unrest in one Gulf state is a threat to all - look at Bahrain a couple of years ago.

jamie

I suppose if we're talking Sunni-Shia 30 years war, the logical move for Iraqi-Iranian Shian forces would be into the Eastern Province of Saudi, which has a substantial Shia majority and is where most of the Saudi oil is, afaik. Thus, one attacks the source wider Sunni militia funding matrix. Catastrophically stupid, obviously, but maybe tactically tempting.

Strategist

Thanks all, exceptionally helpful. Steve Coll, David Wearing - these are the men with the information.

And Jamie's got his finger right on it - the House of Saud & pals shit it about the Iranians for the very simple reason that they've got their own Shia living on top of "their" oil. So simple - I knew this, but it's easy to forget it because it is so very rarely mentioned.

What I would add to Ajay's "anything that would weaken the Gulf monarchies is pretty much unthinkable to the US and UK. And for good reason: the oil must flow", is that not only must the oil flow, their money must flow too, because managing their money that is what "we" do for a living in this world.

"the money is not actually coming directly from the Gulf governments - inasmuch as they exist separately from the ruling families. It's coming from various charitable foundations" - i.e. it is flowing in and out of various offshore entities chinless City twats manage for them.

The prime objective of British foreign policy these days is to persuade whatever oligarchs are going to manage their money via London.

dan

Well, the Sunni-Shia thirty-years war started when Saddam rolled his tanks into Iranian Khuzestan back in 1980, with the wholehearted local backing of Saudi, Kuwait, and other Gulf monarchies. I think the sectarian element can be overstated here - it's more a case of the political example that a "successful" defenestration of a hereditary absolutist monarchical system might promote.

The Iranians aren't ever going to launch an attack on the Saudi EP - far too unpopular a move with the global powers that be and ultimately a recipe for widespread and enduring opprobrium ( it didn't work out too well for Saddam after all on either of the occasions that he tried the same manouevre, or, for that matter, the US-UK alliance back in 2003 ). Besides, having a permanent threat-in-being is a dandy for tying down resources and keeping resentments bubbling away - especially when you add in the Saudi-Houthi problem on the Yemeni border as well.

I rather suspect that demographics and the "youth bulge" is going to keep the pot boiling for a good long time to come, although the price of oil is an interesting contingent factor in the mix.

Strategist

Yes, I expect the Saudis/Gulf Emirates don't fear the Iranians invading. They fear the Iranians supporting the Saudi/Gulf Shia to take control of their own countries?

ajay

I am not sure how many waqfs operate as offshore funds managed through the City of London. Private wealth management, definitely.

aron

ajay - "Well then. Why do you think that the Gulf emirates, with considerably more power over their subjects and considerably fewer worries about human rights, would not be able to do something similar?"

They are doing things to stop funding for the Islamic State & Qaida crazies, just not very competently. Corruption, a lack of effective means to investigate and prosecute royals & their clients, and sensitivities about provoking religious opinion also stand in the way.

Most of the funding for jihadis in Syria, and probably Iraq, seems to be routed through Kuwait for a number of reasons, one of them being that the Saudi authorities will actually throw you in jail if you send money to people who want to kill Saudi princes. They have shut down a number of networks suspected of funding Jabhat al-Nosra and the Islamic State, are bankrolling a (moderately successful) FSA/Islamist purge of Islamic State units in Syria, and are jailing people for mere possession of Islamic State pamphlets on Saudi territory. Undermining Maliki & Iran and fretting about Shia fifth-columnists will always be higher on their list of things to do, but the Saudi government is a hardcore anti-Qaida force nowadays. Equally Sunni-sectarian and perfectly fine with more pliable salafi reactionaries, but that's another matter.

Top source on the Kuwait connection is Elizabeth Dickinson, who writes for The National and did a great report on Syrian jihadi financing for the Brookings Institution a few months back. Kuwait is not as authoritarian as the other Gulf States (which is part of the attraction for jihadi financiers), but the government has recently adopted an anti-terrorism law and is starting to move on these issues, at least partly because of US pressure, probably also Saudi grumblings.

That said, there might be money – and a lot of money – going via over-the-table networks and even straight from government coffers to other groups than the Islamic State, particularly tribal figures, ex-Baathists etc. The Iraqi uprising is significantly larger than the Islamic State, though its fighters have been doing most of the hard work cracking city defenses. It's a shame the 2003-2011 Iraq war didn't get the sort of attention to detail that Syria's war has had, because the Sunni rebel movement then was also very divided with different groups funded by different Islamist networks and sometimes states. Instead, most of the press just ran with the US government line: al-Qaida and maybe some Baathists. Even then, al-Qaida was probably no more than 10-20% of the manpower, and states like Saudi Arabia and Qatar had plenty of time to develop excellent links in the wider rebel milieu. (And so did the US, in the form of the Sahwa movement.)

dsquared

Syrian jihadi financing for the Brookings Institution

I can see the idea here - god knows, if I were a Syrian jihadi, I'd see the kind of crap that Brookings puts out as the surest way of undermining the economic dominance of the USA in the long term - but I didn't realise that they had enough money to bankroll a thinktank as well as all the guns and ammo.

dsquared

by the way, 1983 called, it wants its lazy slogan back.

It's coming from various charitable foundations" - i.e. it is flowing in and out of various offshore entities chinless City twats manage for them.

Ah, always the "chinless". How do people think that the inhabitants of the City of London stop their lower jaw from bumping into their neck?

In fact, very few of the "charitable foundations" are run out of London, for the obvious reason that very few big London banks will give them a bank account because the compliance risk is so huge. They're generally managed out of Kuwait or Pakistan, which are the two countries which are a) close enough to the respective jihadi connections but b) not actually rogue states themselves and with enough legitimate business that it's not per se odd or prima facie evidence of criminality to be sending payments there. Point b) is closely related to the fact that Kuwait and Pakistan are countries where the government has a "close" relationship with US intelligence services.

The private wealth of rich Gulf State individuals is often partly managed out of London, although more of it goes to Switzerland as far as I can tell (Dubai is the place where dodgy Gulf money goes because it's got vastly more secrecy, but the royals' money isn't dodgy - it comes from oil wells that are indisputably their property). It is a profitable part of the wealth management industry, but it's more of a "biggish niche" than something that we're utterly dependent on. In general it is not managed by "chinless" posh Englishmen; the majority of financial managers of Arabic money are (you might want to sit down because this revelation is going to blow your mind) Arabs themselves.

I don't have much time for this kind of reflexive banker-bashing, or at least not for bringing it into contexts where it's not really relevant. After all, the horny handed sons of toil in our manufacturing industries in places like Birmingham are often actually making the actual truncheons and gunships that we export to them.

The banks provide bank accounts and payment services which are used by everybody. They don't check the destination of every single payment and carry out a moral audit of the recipient because a) this would be logistically impossible and b) you might want to consider the implications of not only creating such a massively pervasive surveillance network, but outsourcing its management to bank compliance officers. They do what they can, at considerable expense, and when they (often) screw up, they are fined billions of dollars. That's the way it is and it's not obvious how else you'd manage the system. At the very least, anyone giving it all that about the British banks and Gulf "charitable foundations" is going to need to do some tricky footwork when I change the subject to that of Israel and Palestine.

Richard J

In general it is not managed by "chinless" posh Englishmen; the majority of financial managers of Arabic money are (you might want to sit down because this revelation is going to blow your mind) Arabs themselves.

Caveat: the client relationship manager and the top tier of management, sure...

Dan Hardie

Following on from dsquared's point, we don't seem to have heard anything recently of the notion that the City of London, fearfully obeying orders from its Russian oligarch overlords, was ordering a compliant David Cameron to allow Putin as much of Ukraine as he wanted. It's almost as if reality was a little more complicated than a cartoon.

Guano

The report for Brookings is interesting but it just deals with the finance routed through Kuwait. It doesn't tell us much about Qatar's initial role in supporting the Syrian opposition, or about the Saudi's role and Prince Bandar. So it is difficult to judge how far it is correct to say that "most of the funding for jihadis in Syria, and probably Iraq, seems to be routed through Kuwait".

This article appears not to doubt that Qatar and the Saudis supported extremist factions and people like John McCain were encouraging them. Was anybody discouraging them?

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/06/isis-saudi-arabia-iraq-syria-bandar/373181/

Strategist

Dan, is that the "notion" that was photographed on a memo going into 10 Downing St?

DSquared - I'm happy to withdraw "chinless" as out of date. How about "sociopathic rainbow nation"?

Your info about the ecosystem of global wealth management is convincing and fascinating, and I hope you'll keep sharing it. Shall we give your challenge a try?

anyone giving it all that about the British banks and Gulf "charitable foundations" is going to need to do some tricky footwork when I change the subject to that of Israel and Palestine

On a final purely pedantic point, your comment "the royals' money isn't dodgy - it comes from oil wells that are indisputably their property" brings us back to the original subject, being the Gulf royals' nervousness that their ownership of "their property" might one day be actively disputed by the Shia in their own countries (a majority in some cases?).


dsquared

being the Gulf royals' nervousness that their ownership of "their property" might one day be actively disputed by the Shia in their own countries

But now we're totally removed from anything that might reasonably be considered to be the responsibility of the banking system. There's plenty of valid criticisms to be made of how the banks don't do enough to avoid facilitating kleptocrats. But the Saudi royals are internationally recognised as the government of Saudi Arabia, and as private citizens who own the assets they own. Is it really reasonable to expect banks to refuse to provide bank accounts to them on the grounds of some future hypothetical revolution? Do you really want to live in a world in which the banking system has to act as the moral arbiter of absolutely everyone who wants to have a bank account, and can you see how that might possibly go wrong (ie, in just the same ways as making an ISP responsible for everything on the web).

And as I hinted and you didn't really convincingly respond, the first casualty of any "banks have to be the front line of the world police" policy is going to be the financing of all Palestinian organisations that can't prove to the satisfaction of the Israeli government that they have never so much as sat in a cafe with any terrorists.

Strategist

Hang on a tick - what I originally said was:

What I would add to Ajay's "anything that would weaken the Gulf monarchies is pretty much unthinkable to the US and UK. And for good reason: the oil must flow", is that not only must the oil flow, their money must flow too, because managing their money that is what "we" do for a living in this world... The prime objective of British foreign policy these days is to persuade whatever oligarchs are going to manage their money via London."

It was offered in the B&T spirit merely as an observation on the way of the world, rather than a demand that the banks be the front line of the world police.

I think that comment holds water, as does a suitably revised definition of the UK wealth management industry as "a sociopathic rainbow nation of twats managing flows of crude money in and out of various offshore entities".

Dan Hardie

'Dan, is that the "notion" that was photographed on a memo going into 10 Downing St?'

I'm happy to help you with your question, guano. No, what was photographed on a memo going into 10 Downing St was a memo saying 'Minister, we really shouldn't promise to do stupid bloody things that won't help Ukraine in any way and that we won't be able to deliver on', which I personally happen to think is what the Civil Service should be saying.

Dan Hardie

Somewhat off-topic, perhaps, but the most intelligent thing I have heard today was 'No, I'm not going to watch the game. I can listen to England lose on the radio.'

dsquared

The comment in the photo was also saying "since we don't support sanctions on Russia at this stage [dd comment - the words "at this stage" were not ornamental, although everyone forgets them] , we should make it clear to the Germans and French that we are also not in favour of any measures which amount to sanctions on an industry which we have and they don't. So be careful of that one, as our European partners might be tempted to suggest something if they think they can do it on the cheap ".

dsquared

The prime objective of British foreign policy these days is to persuade whatever oligarchs are going to manage their money via London.

This is rubbish too, of course, and I'd be interested if you could think of a single piece of evidence for it at all (alternatively, if your best shot is that photographed briefing, don't bother). Britain's foreign policy has basically nothing to do with managing oligarchs' money; the prime objective remains (brace yourself, this is going to be even more of a surprise than the Arabic money managers) to be the loyal henchmen of the USA.

Blah blah sociopathic blah. Have a look at your favourite left political organisation one day and maybe wonder whether you're in the greatest of positions to be criticising anyone else. "Crude money" ffs.

Strategist

This has been an unusually heated & unhappy thread for B&T - best to draw it to a close.
Dan, I was fully aware of what the photographed memo said, and that it was entirely sensible advice for a British Prime Minister, the point I was trying to make was that your wild claimed conspiracy theory - one that I have only ever heard from yourself, and which you may well have made up for the purposes of this thread - had its kernel in an amusing incident of the British civil service being revealed saying "are we sure we want to upset the oligarchs, Prime Minister, it's how we pay the bills you know".
Dsquared, defending and promoting the City as the global capital of offshore is of course a massive part of British foreign policy - perhaps not the prime objective as I have claimed for purposes of rhetorical flourish, but you're a damned fool to argue it has no part.
What I find particularly annoying is your banging on demanding evidence for anything whilst simultaneously presume to guess who my favourite left political organisation is.
In fact it's the Green party who are without blemish and provide a magnificent moral high ground from which to criticise everyone else - particularly you, who seems to be putting too much of his emotional capital into defending the indefensible.

dsquared

.defending and promoting the City as the global capital of offshore is of course a massive part of British foreign policy - perhaps not the prime objective as I have claimed for purposes of rhetorical flourish, but you're a damned fool to argue it has no part.

I find this particularly precious because the promotion of the City as a financial centre was once upon a time, my job. I was 24. The team responsible for this Cinderella job at the Bank of England numbered less than glad a dozen. We had meetings with the FCO, once a month. It was not a high priority for them, either. I was, it was generally recognised, by a long chalk the most able person working on this team, so if I'm a damned fool that gives you an idea of the calibre of individual working on City promotion within the civil service.

The City promotes itself. It does so by being (another blue of the mind imminent) really very good at what it does. When it lobbies the government, it does so in order to get regulatory concessions, not for any foreign policy priorities. Because the City doesn't market itself to foreigners as being a place that's nice and friendly and helpful with the local government; that's what tin pot tax havens do. The City of London settled itself as a place where things you want done, get done.

And you were talking about oligarchs, anyway, not the financial sector in general. In actual fact, our best customers from overseas are and have always been 1) the Americans 2) the Europeans 3) big gap 4) the Japanese 5) everyone else, with China a long way ahead of the rest. The kind of places that America might want to go to war with are a rounding error compared to the importance of the yanks themselves.

You really might want to learn a bit about what you're talking about before shooting your mouth of with personal insults aimed at whole groups off people.

Dan Hardie

' your wild claimed conspiracy theory - one that I have only ever heard from yourself, and which you may well have made up for the purposes of this thread - had its kernel in an amusing incident of the British civil service being revealed saying "are we sure we want to upset the oligarchs, Prime Minister, it's how we pay the bills you know". '

Except that the memo did not say "are we sure we want to upset the oligarchs, Prime Minister, it's how we pay the bills you know". I'm asking you to quote any sentences from the memo that does say anything that can be reasonably summarised that way, and you won't be able to. The memo didn't say that, and bluster won't help you make up for a lack of actual quotations.

Dan Hardie

'Strategist': 'your wild claimed conspiracy theory -one that I have only ever heard from yourself, and which you may well have made up for the purposes of this thread'...

Okay, this is just weird, so I'll put the record straight as simply as possible.

That conspiracy theory which I 'well may have made up for the purposes of this thread' was given a very well-publicised airing in March, in an article by Ben Judah in that highly obscure publication the New York Times. Sample quotations: 'Britain’s ruling class has decayed to the point where its first priority is protecting its cut of Russian money — even as Russian armored personnel carriers rumble around the streets of Sevastopol. But the establishment understands that, in the 21st century, what matters are banks, not tanks....

'Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, gets it: you pay them, you own them. Mr. Putin was absolutely certain that Britain’s managers — shuttling through the revolving door between cabinet posts and financial boards — would never give up their fees and commissions from the oligarchs’ billions. He was right.' So yes, I am the only person to have propounded this weird theory, apart from a guy writing for the most prestigious op-ed page in the English-speaking world, and all the other writers who defended or developed this theory.

Judah's article was then much debated in a pretty much every British newspaper. It was also discussed on 'Blood and Treasure', with Chris Williams writing a post in which he said 'Clearly it’s not all Russian, but that’s the origin of a substantial chunk of the cash which is making my beloved city increasingly resemble, and be about as much fun as, a bank vault.Ben Judah is good on this here (link to the NYT article).'

I don't think anyone intelligent suspected that my 'wild claimed conspiracy theory' was 'one that I have only ever heard from yourself, and which you may well have made up for the purposes of this thread'. And now even 'Strategist' can reassure himself that this was not, in fact, the case. I do hope that sets his mind at rest.

Chris Williams

"Not support, for now, trade sanctions … or close London's financial centre to Russians."

That appeared on the memo's list of 'things we shouldn't do' - just six hours after I predicted that they wouldn't do it. Perhaps they were reading B&T? There was no mention on that front page of the memo of 'reasons we shouldn't do these things', but you don't have to be especially cynical, in the post-Butler/Hutton age, to put the worst possible construction on the way that HMG makes and justifies policy.

Clearly, there's lots that's remarkably useful about many of the markets which are hosted in/by the City of London, but again, events during the last 6 years, (including but not limited to the _systematic rigging of the Libor index_), might lead external observers to jump to unjustified general conclusions.

Moving on - I had a WTF moment last week when I saw this in 'Asian Affairs', a journal I'd up to that point been treating as a relatively reliable source: "And the manner in which the opposition protest movement in Kiev was apparently managed out of the US Embassy with the deployment of snipers has powerfully aided the Russian argument." WTF? Who funds them?

Dan Hardie

'That (the UK's non-imposition of financial sanctions on Russia) appeared on the memo's list of 'things we shouldn't do' - just six hours after I predicted that they wouldn't do it.' Just six hours after? Gosh, what prescience. It also appeared several days after I'd predicted it when I was emailing back and forth with my friends who study Ukraine for a living, (and they predicted it too). I could say that this makes me and my academic friends incredibly prescient, possibly geniuses, but actually I suspect that the non-imposition of sanctions was just one of those things that a reasonably bright and well-informed person could and did predict with a pretty fair degree of accuracy.

'There was no mention on that front page of the memo of 'reasons we shouldn't do these things'.... No, there wasn't, was there? Which is why the memo isn't evidence for the theory that the oligarchs ordered the City to fall into line, and the City duly transmitted this command to the obedient Cameron.

Dan Hardie

Chris, who wrote the 'Asian affairs' article that you mentioned? A quick Google of 'Ukraine snipers' turns up the 'possibly US-funded snipers killing demonstrators and police in Maidan' as something that is rather strongly believed in by people like Press TV. There's some guy called Henry Kamens retailing the story for a website called New Eastern Outlook, which appears to be a reasonably well-funded and extremely Putin-ophile English language site. The US is going to set up Mikhail Saakashvili as the fall guy for its sniper teams, apparently.

Alex

The original version of this story was supposedly sourced to a doctor treating patients from Maidan, who spoke to the Estonian FM, who mentioned it on a phone call, which was "leaked"/possibly intercepted. The doctor in question was eventually asked directly by a journalist and denied saying any such thing.

However, I think someone did turn up who had been shooting at cops. This wasn't utterly surprising as there had been reports of gunfire from both sides at the time.

dsquared

Not support, for now, trade sanctions ... or close London's financial centre to Russians

Just again, what this is saying is "Not support, for now, trade sanctions ... or trade sanctions".

The backstory is that some of our partners in the joint European project have developed an irritating habit. If we were to show up at the negotiations and say ...

"Well, we want to remain engaged economically and I think that a trade war would be a huge over-reaction. But we have to do something in order to send a message. Perhaps ... perhaps we could carry out a targeted embargo, focused on wine and soft cheese?"

then it would be a bit blatant. But the French and Germans can suggest sanctions focused on an industry that we have and they don't and it looks like a principled thing to do. It is not much of an exaggeration to say that our position was that we should have sanctions on weapons and gas, the French wanted sanctions on banking and gas and the Germans wanted sanctions on banking and weapons.

Chris Williams

The story I'm looking for is whether or not anyone's making, or even costing, a rather large offshore gas terminal you could moor off Bremen and/or Odessa. But apparently the massed ranks of the UK press think that actually I need to know about DC's antipathy to Junker, and/or Ed's lack of charisma instead.

The Asian Affairs editorial was April 1014 Vol XVIII No 6, p. 2.

Strategist

Check out these creeps. Yuck.

The comments to this entry are closed.

friends blogs

blobs

Blog powered by Typepad

my former home