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Dash of Pepper

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The Bear is Back
By SHEILAH PEPPER
The Gazette Staff
For the past two decades, the Russian Bear has been hibernating. Now he is fully reawakened and hungering for territorial expansion. Russia watchers fear that Prime Minister Putin not only covets Georgia but also the Ukraine and beyond to other former Soviet republics, now fledgling democracies.
Russia, for hundreds of years, always wanted a buffer between itself and western influence and now it looks like Putin wants to revive the old empire.
He may try to achieve this either by direct invasion, or more likely, by toppling current elected leaders and installing obedient puppets who are anti-west or, at least, neutral.
Russia has its problems. It has negative population growth and an infrastructure that is crumbling. But the Russian Bear is awash in petro dollars. These huge sums are not going to benefit the Russian people, but to rebuild the Russian military and acquire new and more advanced weapons systems.
If Russia acquires full control of the oil pipelines from the Caspian Sea to Europe, they can intimidate the European leaders and damage their economies.
What can we do? Columnist/commentator Charles Krauthammer recently made these recommendations:
Suspend the NATO-Russia Council established in 2002 to help bring Russia closer to the West. (The Russian president has since said they may leave the council.)
Bar Russian entry to the World Trade Organization.
Dissolve the G-8. The seven democracies simply withdraw then immediately reestablish the old G-7.
Announce a U.S.-European boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics scheduled to be held in Russia at Sochi.
Krauthammer notes that all these steps, except the dissolution of the G-8, would be subject to reconsideration dependent on Russian behavior. He also adds that it is critical that we, and the Europeans, reaffirm unequivocal support for the Saakashvili government in Georgia and that its removal would immediately result in recognition of a government-in-exile.
I would add that the awakening of the Russian Bear should immediately awaken us to the need for energy independence.
Most Americans don't know it, but we have, in the ground, as much as two TRILLION barrels of Rocky Mountain shale oil. This is more than the entire world has consumed since oil was discovered in Pennsylvania in the 19th century.
The Institute for Energy Research has published a graph showing that our shale oil, in the ground, DWARFS that of any other nation, including that of Saudi Arabia. This great gift of God and nature lies untouched!
Under the leadership of the Democratic Party, the United States continues to be the only country in the world that is deliberately devastating its own economy by refusing to develop its energy resources. How galling is that?
If we want it, we can have energy independence and have enough left over to help out any European allies that have their current supplies cut off by the Russian Bear!
Support Congressman Jeb Hensarling and all the other members of Congress this fall (of either PARTY) who are working to get domestic drilling legislation through.
It will be a tough fight, but our future depends on winning it.
Copyright©2008SheilahPepper
Last Updated on Friday, 12 June 2009 14:33  

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