With regards to comments on France, Germany and Russia.
I was going to let it drop, but you really need to understand the economic circumstances to understand their Political positions the last several years. It in no way has anything to do with what they think is 'right or wrong'.
'Hugely rich' is 'hugely relative'.
California economy surpasses France Friday, June 15, 2001
Wasn't this during the same time frame that California's economy began suffering from the dot.com crashes and their huge energy crisis?
Tuesday, 19 November, 2002, 14:40 GMT
Budget sanctions hit Germany and France
The European Commission has said it will initiate sanctions procedures against Germany and France because their budget deficits are rising too fast.
Germany's economic outlook depends heavily on what happens in the US economy
While it may be tempting to blame Germany's economic problems on the recession, their problems where way before that.
Nov 15, 1999
Reunification cost West Germans far more than they ever anticipated. Every year, $55 billion is poured into the East to fund its redevelopment and social security system
Germany’s national debt has jumped 50 percent since 1994 to fund reunification. Each German pays a 5½ percent solidarity tax on top of income tax.
East Germans, who dreamt of Western-style prosperity, are also disappointed. Ten years after unification, the East still has lower wages, lower living standards and 18 percent unemployment.
Some are even becoming nostalgic for the old Soviet days of guaranteed employment (see slideshow).
Unprepared for the expectations and competition in free markets, many Eastern businesses and factories shut down after reunification. Some Easterners blame capitalists, charging they destroyed the Eastern economy by buying up companies and closing them down to wipe out competition.
In last month’s election, East Berliners voted overwhelmingly for the old communist party.
“They want to have jobs but they can’t get jobs, and the economic development in the East is very bad,” says Volker Kahne, Berlin’s deputy mayor, a Christian Democrat.
On top of the economic divide, envy, resentment and distrust are splitting East and West.
“The West thinks they give too much money to the East,” said Gudrun Six, a wealthy West German who said she’s been startled by the anger from some of her friends. Easterners feel they are treated like second-class citizens.
“Some in the East think the West are arrogant, that they think we can’t take care of ourselves,” said Juliane Kertzscher, a student from the East.
As far as Russia and oil, under the Soviets they exported 12 million bbl/d, now they export 5.4 million bbl/d. We all know that you keep prices up by exporting less. Their largest customer is themselves, internally oil costs half of what it does exported. They had a huge glut that was severly affecting things internally. They exported more, cheaper, to get rid of the oil, but actually made more money than if they'd kept it internally.
There was also a problem of an oil glut on the Black Sea because of pipeline problems and problems with Turkish Tariffs.
No where have I ever heard that Russia was in any way doing us a favor, although it may have been some people's assumptions.
into a number of vertically-integrated, private oil companies, the country's oil production and exports began to increase again. In 2001, Russia's net oil exports rose for the seventh consecutive year, reaching 4.91 million bbl/d in net crude oil and oil product exports. Russia is now the world's second largest oil exporter, behind only Saudi Arabia. Russia's net oil exports are projected to increase again in 2002, to 5.17 million bbl/d, and then to 5.4 million bbl/d in 2003. Russia Net Oil Exports, 1992-2003* graph. Having problems, call our National Energy Information Center on 202-586-8800 for help.
Despite the Russian government's pledged oil output cut, Russian oil exports actually increased in the first quarter of 2002. Government-imposed export tariffs caused a glut of crude on the Russian market, causing a price collapse and leading to calls from Russian oil companies to lift the export ceiling. Russian oil companies then sent their crude to Russian refineries, which led to an increase in oil product exports and a surplus of refined products on the market. In order to reduce the amount of crude on the market, some Russian officials called for the creation of a strategic Russian oil reserve.
In March 2002, over the opposition of domestic oil companies, the Russian government announced that the country would continue to reduce its oil exports by 150,000 bbl/d. Regardless, Russian oil companies increased their crude oil exports as world oil prices climbed, and Russia formally abandoned its stated export cuts as of July 1, 2002.
The majority of Russian oil exports are sent to countries in Western Europe, such as the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, and Spain. The share of net exports to countries outside the former Soviet Union rose from 53% in 1992 to 86% in 2001 as the share of net exports to former Eastern Bloc and Soviet Union countries decreased. Russia's net exports outside the CIS totaled approximately 4.23 million bbl/d in 2001, while only about 680,000 bbl/d was exported to CIS countries.
An October 2000 energy summit between the European Union (EU) and Russia, whereby the EU agreed to help Russia develop its oil and natural gas reserves in return for a long-term energy supply commitment, promises to boost Russia's oil exports. With pipeline projects such as the Baltic Pipeline System, Russia hopes to increase oil exports to Europe to over 5 million bbl/d in the future.
As far as tactics, and why, it was the same 6 years ago in the 1997 Iraq crisis:
France and Russia Have More Than Regional Peace in Mind
Nov. 20, 1997 — As the United States waves its big stick in Saddam Hussein’s face, Russia and France are fighting for a peaceful resolution to the Iraqi crisis. But their motives are less than altruistic and boil down to two issues—prestige and petroleum.
Iraq owes cash-strapped Russia $7 billion and France another $5 billion—debts it cannot possibly repay until the sanctions are lifted.
Besides a desire for francs and rubles, the French and Russians have something else in common: a deep-seated desire to recapture some of their former clout in the Middle East.
OK, Maybe It’s Iraqi Oil Russian Tanker
Russia Softens Stance on Detained Tanker
Russia caught smuggling oil for Iraq in Feb 2000
March 17, 2003
Schroeder ventures into 'unknown' east Germany
August 22, 2000
Ex-East Germans nostalgic for communism's simpler life
Too many rules hurting Germany?
Analysts largely agree that the fall of the Berlin Wall, as celebrated as it was, was the beginning of Germany's economic problems.
A European Commission report traces two-thirds of Germany's economic problems to reunification. The other third is traced back to the inflexibility of business, unions and government -- which doesn't help to tear down the structures that still divide the German economy.
To not make this post any longer than it already is, anyone can go look. There are is a ton of info out there. It was widely acknowledged that the 'failure' of Bush's diplomacy with these nations was that he "didn't offer them enough". The old "what's in it for me" approach.
Adding: Of course Clinton had the same failure. He just did nothing about it but maintain the status quo and drop some bombs.
Edited by StarDust, 05 April 2003 - 09:27 PM.