Saturday, December 24, 2005

WaPo has some good stuff today

Although I don't know whether it's aware that it is making the best argument ever for de-nationalizing any industry that other nations depend upon.
A YEAR AFTER Ukraine's Orange Revolution, Russia's effort to combat the spread of democracy in Eastern Europe continues unabated. Its latest weapon is natural gas. As the heating season got underway this month, Moscow announced through its state-controlled energy company, Gazprom, that it would more than triple the price it charges Ukraine for gas supplies, to $160 per 1,000 cubic meters. When Ukraine's government sought to negotiate a more gradual increase, Moscow threatened to raise the price further, to more than $200, or cut off supplies as of Jan. 1. Russian President Vladimir Putin chose to trigger this crisis just as Ukraine approaches a crucial parliamentary election on March 26. Thanks to Mr. Putin, soaring energy prices for Ukrainian consumers may be a punishing issue for the former Orange revolutionaries.
When will Russia learn that this is bad juju? It is difficult to fathom a political structure so opposed to self-determination that it will extort political outcomes that shouldn't have any real impact on Russia, other than to make Russians aware that elections matter. I hate realpolitik more than I hate cottage cheese.

Also, an interesting editorial on political hijinks in Egypt. Apt, because my sister in law got back from Cairo yesterday. Welcome home, Lucy!