Examining US Neocons’ Wider Black Sea Strategy

The Black Sea is key to the flow of resources and goods between the Balkans, Carpathians, the Caucasus, and the Urals. Transportation routes and pipelines branch outwards in all directions through Eurasia .

The Black Sea’s strategic location, along with the discoveries in recent years of its massive natural gas reserves, has Washington cooking up plans to try to sever energy and trade links between Russia and the region, but it is unlikely to find as much success as governments there aren’t quite as acquiescent as those in the EU.

In a statement that should make everyone in the region hoping for peace and prosperity very nervous, Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs James O’Brien recently told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “Whatever path we take leads us to the Black Sea.”

O’Brien also explained to the committee that one of the main objectives of using Ukraine in an attempt to weaken Russia is to strengthen NATO’s presence in the Black Sea. Given that NATO is in the Black Sea through member states and partner countries, O’Brien described how the war is being used to increase NATO’s military presence across the Black Sea region under five pillars: more bilateral and multilateral engagement, regional security based upon a stronger NATO presence, economic cooperation, energy security, and “democratic resilience.”

But reading through O’Brien’s statements, as well as accompanying Senate bill, the Black Sea Security Act of 2023, and think tank pieces, the Blob’s strategy would be more accurately described by omitting the obligatory references to strengthening democracy, and it would read something like this: Keep Russia bogged down with Ukraine while attempting to push Moscow out of trade and energy developments in the wider Black Sea region.

On the first point, O’Brien echoed the more typical statements recently that have nothing to do with Ukraine “winning” but just keeping the war going. He argued that more money for Ukraine was necessary to provide “the ability to fight this fight over some time.” Former Indian diplomat M.K. Bhadrkumar wrote the following after Victoria Nuland’s hurried trip to Kiev:

The new war strategy — which was outlined in a recent article in the Washington Post — takes into account the  possibility of Ukraine becoming a dysfunctional state. But so long as Ukraine remains a cauldron boiling with nationalism that lends itself as a base for hostile moves to destabilise Russia and lock it in permanently in a confrontation with the West, the purpose is served —from Washington’s viewpoint.

That’s the thing about neocons. Even when one scheme fails, there’s always another harebrained plot in the works. Arnold C. Dupoy at the Atlantic Council writes about Washington’s Black Sea designs that all countries of the region (minus Russia) will benefit from an increased US presence as the “honest broker.” The US must provide more support for the other two Black Sea NATO members (Romania and Bulgaria), as well as Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, and even Azerbaijan. He stresses that all this will require “deep pockets” in order to fund and train regional military establishments, as well as offer support and incentives to US companies to move into the region.

These efforts aren’t exactly new (Washington has for years relentlessly pushed for increasing NATO’s presence in the region despite warnings that such moves would provoke Russia), but it appears to be taking on added importance with the impending US defeat in Ukraine.

The Black Sea Security Act of 2023 declares that the Blob should promote a plan for “greater freedom of navigation” in the Black Sea, as well as assess “the value of establishing a joint, multinational headquarters on the Black Sea, responsible for planning, readiness, exercises, and coordination of all Allied and partner military activity in the greater Black Sea region.”

The Heritage Foundation is already looking at post-Ukraine-loss strategies, writing that “a more robust post-conflict maritime presence will be required for some time.  Congress should require the Departments of Defense and State to provide an assessment of the costs and a timeline to establish an effective Black Sea Squadron.”

To demonstrate how unserious the US thinking on Black Sea policy is, Heritage declares that the US must not only dictate Türkiye and Central Asian states’ energy policies, but also Russia’s military presence, arguing for a reduction in post-conflict residual Russian Black Sea naval presence:

 In any post-conflict negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, the United States should propose a reduction of Russian presence in the Black Sea below pre-conflict levels. The goal is to ensure that Russia cannot recapitalize its Black Sea navy to threaten Ukraine or any Black Sea state in the future.

So the plan is for Russia to reduce its forces (it’s currently doing the opposite) despite winning and possibly gaining even more Black Sea coastline? Meanwhile, NATO builds up its forces closer to Russia’s border in the region. Okay.

Türkiye’s Refusal to Play Along

Central to any US think tank pieces, proposed legislation, or official comments on “winning” the region is getting Türkiye to open the Black Sea gates to NATO warships. The US has been pushing for this since the war in Ukraine began to no avail, and it’s telling that every strategy still rests on it despite Türkiye’s repeated refusals.

Türkiye controls passage to and from the Black Sea through the Bosphorus Strait and the Dardanelles and can ban the passage of naval vessels from non-littoral countries under the Montreux Convention, which it has steadfastly done since Feb. 2022.

In January, Türkiye, Bulgaria and Romania signed a memorandum of understanding in İstanbul establishing the Mine Countermeasures Naval Group in the Black Sea, which will oversee demining operations.

There was hope from some in the West that this could be a way to sidestep Türkiye’s objections to NATO warships sailing into the Black Sea. The UK tried to send two minehunter ships to Ukraine, but Ankara said no.

Erdogan’s office said Türkiye “maintains its unwavering determination and principled stance throughout this war to prevent the escalation of tension in the Black Sea.”

Don’t expect the West to stop trying. Washington sees it in a different light, with the proposed Black Sea Security Act of 2023 declaring that “Türkiye’s behavior towards some regional allies and democratic states has been counterproductive and has contributed to increased tensions in the region, and Türkiye should avoid any actions to further escalate regional tensions.”

Turkstream as the New Nord Stream

A key NATO “ally” directly  importing piped Russian gas? We know how that worked out for Germany. Moscow claims it has foiled numerous attempts to do the same to Turkstream.

The TurkStream pipeline, which brings natural gas from Russia to Türkiye across the Black Sea and then into southeastern Europe,  was controversial in certain quarters of the West ever since it was conceived.

Now the flow of natural gas to Europe from Russia via Türkiye is reaching all-time highs. TurkStream has a capacity of 31.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year, roughly half of which stays in Türkiye, and the rest continues on to the Balkans and Central Europe. Serbia and Hungary are the primary European consumers. Washington tried to use Bulgaria to block the flow of gas from Turkiye onto Europe, but Hungary nixed that plan by threatening to veto Bulgaria’s entry into the Schengen area.

It’s worth remembering that TurkStream came about after the US and EU effectively killed the Russia-Bulgaria South Stream pipeline back in 2014. The project would have transported Russian gas under the Black Sea, making landfall in Bulgaria and then passing through Serbia and Hungary into Austria.

Instead Russia pivoted to Türkiye where Erdogan was less susceptible to US pressure and opened TurkStream at the beginning of 2020 despite US sanctions on companies involved in the construction of the pipeline.

That move was typical of US strategy towards Türkiye over recent years. And just like other efforts, it failed. Part of the US’ problem with Türkiye over many years is not for lack of trying; it’s that its efforts are composed almost exclusively of sticks. Erdogan is always up for bargaining as evidenced by the recently completed deal for Türkiye to approve Sweden’s NATO accession in exchange for 40 F-16s, but the agreement took nearly two years, and the State Department couldn’t help itself from simultaneously approving a deal with Greece for 40 F-35s. Maybe the most realistic hope for Washington is that Türkiye feels threatened by Russia’s increasing power in the region and wants to tip the scales back in the other direction, but Moscow is also aware of that dynamic and works to keep Erdogan/Türkiye assuaged.

Moscow has worked meticulously to increase its leverage over Türkiye –and it has also been aided by US missteps. Just to name a few:

After years of ignored requests for the US Patriot system with technology transfer, Türkiye purchased the arguably superior Russian system in 2017.

Moscow has helped Ankara prop up its foreign currency reserves with the purchase of Turkish bonds via a scheme involving the construction and development of Turkiye‘s Akkuyu nuclear power plant. Ankara and Moscow recently celebrated the loading of fuel into the first reactor at the Russia-built plant. It was a major milestone for  Turkiye, which joined the ranks of countries with nuclear energy. Turkiye had been trying to get a nuclear power plant built for 50-plus years. Back in the 90s Ankara had bids from Westinghouse + Mitsubishi, AECL, and Framatome + Siemens but had to cancel because it was going to cost more than the Turkish government could afford at the time. Instead, Russia financed, built, and is delivering the fuel to Akkuyu under a build-own-operate model. Turkish nuclear engineers are also receiving training from the Russians.

Due to Western sanctions on Russia, Türkiye is now a go-between for goods into and out of Russia, which plays a large role in the recovering Turkish economy. Russian tourism also continues to be a major economic lifeline for Türkiye due to the increase in visitors after the West mostly slammed its doors shut.

The fiasco the US unleashed in Syria (with Türkiye onboard) has also backfired. Türkiye’s number one national security concern is a unified Kurdish region in Syria. Russia’s central role in determining the Syrian endgame means it is in Ankara’s interests to work with Russia to prevent that from happening. (Iran, Russia and Türkiye just jointly vowed to combat separatism in Syria following their 21st meeting as part of the Astana peace process.)

Looking ahead, it’s hard to see US-Türkiye relations improving. While Washington’s leverage declines, it remains reluctant to change course and instead doubles down on threats, which in turn only hardens the stance in Türkiye – especially its ascendant nationalists.

Redrawing the Energy Map

If O’Brien says “whatever path we take leads us to the Black Sea,” the same could also be said about the Turkstream pipeline for it is completely at odds for Washington’s plans for energy in the region.

The Atlantic Council does well to sum up Washington’s position: “Türkiye can become an energy hub—but not by going all-in on Russian gas.” The thinly-veiled threat concludes with the following:

Exploring phantom opportunities of energy cooperation with Russia at the expense of real risks of getting exposed to US and EU sanctions will not transform Türkiye into an energy hub. Quite the opposite, it would spell the end of this dream.

A 2020 RAND report, “Understanding Russian Black Sea Power Dynamics Through National Security Gaming”, as well as O’Brien’s report to the Senate and the Black Sea Security Act of 2023, make clear that one of the US’ top objectives (if not the top objective) is to get countries off of Turkstream and replace it with US-controlled energy.

O’Brien, in his testimony to the Senate, acknowledged that Washington aspires to create oil and gas pipelines that lead from Central Asia to Europe and mentioned possibilities through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Türkiye. It happens that US major energy companies, Chevron and ExxonMobil, with their operations in Kazakhstan, rely on a pipeline that ends at the Black Sea. Kazakhstan has also begun sending oil to Germany via Russia.

O’Briend added that Central Asia relies too much on China and Russia to export its energy resources (the US is also pressuring Black Sea countries to abandon the Beijing-led 14+1 Initiative). So the goal is to somehow link up Central Asia, the Black Sea, and Europe while excluding Russia.


Also at issue is the Black Sea’s massive natural gas reserves, which GIS Reports describes:

While the exact volume is still undetermined, the raw estimates paint a noteworthy picture. Türkiye announced in 2020 that its offshore exploration zone may hold over 400 billion cubic meters (bcm). Later it raised the estimate to 540 bcm and announced that further reserves are likely to be discovered in the remaining blocks. Ukraine estimated that the shelf it controlled prior to the war contained more than 2 trillion cubic meters. Romania’s reserves were conservatively estimated at around 200 bcm. Georgia’s offshore resources are thought to be of a similar scale, while Bulgaria’s reserves are believed to contain sufficient gas in just one of its fields to cover the country’s projected needs for more than 30 years.

The thinking goes that if Europe can acquire more natural gas and oil from Central Asia (and presumably from US companies operating there) and the Black Sea, then Russia could potentially be excluded from the European market altogether.

So far, one of the big winners in the geopolitical contest has been US energy companies, as their exports to Europe have increased as Russia’s have declined. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians and Russians died or were wounded to make it happen, but there’s the possibility for even more suffering as the Black Sea Security Act of 2023 states, “there are mutually beneficial opportunities for increased investment and economic expansion” with the objective of “bolstering United States support for the region’s energy security and integration with Europe and reducing their dependence on Russia while supporting energy diversification.”

With any neocon plans, there’s usually just one question to ask, however: how is it going to backfire?For the people of the region, it could mean more conflict and suffering. But we know the neocons don’t care about that.

They only need to look back to 2014, however, when Russia annexed Crimea and with it a maritime zone more than three times its size with the rights to underwater resources potentially worth trillions of dollars. And now Russia might very well take all Ukraine’s Black Sea coastal regions all the way to the Danube.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    Erdogan may be, ahem, erratic in his negotiations but he does have a strong sense of Turkiya’s national objectives. The Black Sea is Turkiya’s backyard and they have a big say in what goes on there for a large chunk of it. If they trashed the Montreux Convention and let in any number of NATO warships, then very quickly Turkiye would be pushed out of the way and would become subservient to the latest madcap scheme coming out of Washington. We saw an example before the war when a British warship went into Crimean waters while pretending that they were actually Ukrainian waters. And you had NATO warships sailing directly for Crimea until told to knock it off by the Russians. That is a situation that Erdogan does not need as it woudl be a poison pill in the Black Sea that he would be dragged into as Turkiye is a NATO member.

    And it would have not been missed by Erdogan that there have already been a few sabotage attempts on Turkstream supposedly by the Ukrainians. He must also know that the Biden White House is just crazy enough to really go after Turkstream, no matter what effect it would have on Turkiye. After all, Germany was not to worried by the effects of the NS2 bombings. But Turkiya is not Germany. They need that pipeline flowing. Of course a lot of these headaches goes away if Russia takes the entire Black Sea coastline as it would take away the launch pads for naval attacks on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Conor mentions that the only tool in the US diplomatic is sticks but before I read that, I was thinking more of brickbats. So in effect, in it’s negotiations with Turkiya Russia is lucky enough to have an unwitting ally in the US State Department.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      The Rev Kev: “If they trashed the Montreux Convention and let in any number of NATO warships, then very quickly Turkiye would be pushed out of the way and would become subservient to the latest madcap scheme coming out of Washington.”

      What’s worse, any compromise by any Turkish government puts Istanbul, the largest city in Türkiye (metro population of some 15 million) in much danger.

      One of my habits in a city is to assess “geography as destiny.” Like Venice, the reason for Istanbul is geographically more than obvious–at the south end of the Bosporus, with a perfect harbor in the Golden Horn, giving access to the north entrance of the Sea of Marmara.

      The Turks cannot bend on this issue–nor should those of us who are outsiders expect them to. Allowing NATO warships in the Sea of Marmara and Bosporus is like letting the Mexican navy sail up and down the Hudson River in NYC.

      Also, too, Americans being so darn pushy, the U.S. Navy would soon be cutting in line in the Sea of Marmara and claiming that U.S. oversized floating moneywasters had priority. And then the doddering English Empire would show up, too. What could possibly go wrong?

      Looking at this situation disinterestedly, I see no reason for the U.S. of A. to be in the Black Sea at all. It will end up as the new Red Sea.

      1. vao

        Allowing NATO warships in the Sea of Marmara and Bosporus is like letting the Mexican navy sail up and down the Hudson River in NYC.

        How is this compatible with what Rev Kev stated:

        a British warship went into Crimean waters while pretending that they were actually Ukrainian waters. And you had NATO warships sailing directly for Crimea until told to knock it off by the Russians.

        So NATO warships, from non-littoral countries, are already in the Black Sea, which of course means that Turkey let them pass through the straights, despite all those assurances about the Montreux treaty and all those Turkish strategic considerations.

        I therefore do not understand the argument that Erdogan will block NATO navies from the Black Sea: he already let them through, and therefore there is a precedent to hold against Turkey.

        What am I missing?

        1. Maxwell Johnston

          Those particular UK warships performed their little stunt prior to 24.2.2022. The USA also frequently sent warships to patrol the Black Sea way back then. On 27.2.2022, Turkey officially recognized the events in Ukraine as a war, and it exercised its rights under the Montreux Convention to close the Bosphorus to military vessels. The only warships that can enter the Black Sea are those belonging to Black Sea littoral nations (Russia, Rumania, Bulgaria, Georgia, and of course Ukraine and Turkey) which are returning to their home port.

        2. Jams O'Donnell

          You are missing the terms of the Montreux Convention, which are approximately as follows (from Wikipedia):

          “In peacetime, military vessels are limited in number, tonnage and weaponry, with specific provisions governing their mode of entry and duration of stay. If they want to pass through the Strait, warships must provide advance notification to the Turkish authorities, which, in turn, must inform the parties to the convention. In wartime, if Turkey is not involved in the conflict, warships of the nations at war may not pass through the Straits, except when returning to their base.[8] When Turkey is at war, or feels threatened by a war, it may take any decision about the passage of warships as it sees fit. The USA is not a signatory to the Convention.”

    2. Polar Socialist

      We saw an example before the war when a British warship went into Crimean waters while pretending that they were actually Ukrainian waters.

      The funniest part of that stunt was the fact that only if Crimea is not “contested area”, does the Royal Navy have the right of passage. Should Criema be contested area, then the rights are more limited and Russia – being in de facto possession of the said area – can actually ban entry to certain maritime areas. As they actually did, according to the maritime law.

  2. Ignacio

    The return of investment of neocon plans must be measured in… in… I don’t know.

    Apart from this stupid commentary, Thank you for the post Conor.

  3. A Guy in NH

    “The return of investment of neocon plans must be measured in… in… I don’t know” wrote Ignacio.

    Ignacio, the answer is obvious. Chaos, blood, death, destruction, and suffering societies for any nation that fails to bow to the dictates of the Anglo Zionist Western empire, i.e. the “Rules Based International Order.” Just look at the most recent examples of Iraq, Libya and Syria to see how after we “brought democracy” in the form of jihadist proxy armies those nations are being further raped by loss of control of their natural resources (energy and food) to the financial and geopolitical benefit of the Empire.

    Palestine is but a side job and work in progress; Lebanon is next; final target Iran.

    The Empire is patient; we still have 2 targets left to destroy from the neocon’s project circa 2001. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWxKn-1S8ts

  4. JW

    Some strange logic behind these apparent US moves. They are destabilising Armenia yet losing Azerbaijan to the ‘Turk’ initiative in their desire for the pipeline from Azer and Kazahkstan to go anywhere but through Russia or Iran. The Turks are probably not too keen on it going through an Iranian corridor rather than Armenia.
    Georgia and Bulgaria are increasingly not ‘anti-Russia’, taking a more neutral stance, Romania remains so as does of course Moldova , but its access to the Black Sea would be constrained if Russia were to take the Ukrainian coast line.
    Turkey is the key as the article says, with the aim of a gas hub joining the Russian gas with that from central Asia ( and maybe in the future from west Asia). A NATO ally and EU aspirant ( or maybe not anymore). But just as likely to become a BRICS+ member if Erdogan gets out of bed the ‘wrong’ way one day. Putin seems to be able to deal with him, but it must be hard work.
    By the way Austria gets almost all of its gas from Russia, as does Slovakia (as well as Serbia and Hungary). Currently the Czech republic is still heavily dependent on gas and oil from Russia, its plans to access LNG at reasonable prices via Germany have been somewhat thwarted by Biden’s latest moves, which in practice has increased the amount of Russian LNG ( not currently subject to sanctions) into the EU in general. As an aside the Biden initiative on LNG means that its likely the newly planned CCGTs in Germany will need Russian LNG as well.
    Its all going swimmingly well isn’t it.

  5. NN Cassandra

    I don’t know, but all this geostrategic (or rather just imperial) game seems like bullshit to me. So USA wants to make Black sea into NATO’s Lake. Fine. And then what? NATO already has Baltic Lake and as far as I know, Russia is sailing ships there uninterrupted. They blew the Nord Stream pipes, which presumable they could do regardless of whose lake it was, but it didn’t have any measurable effect besides tanking EU economies.

    It really looks like it boils down to some Blob apparatchik randomly sticking finger into rotating globe, pronouncing the place where he lands The Most Important Place in The World Which We Must Own, then completely arbitrarily inventing conditions under which he will claim we own it, then failing to meet them but still claiming victory, then going to the globe to spin it again and find another Black Sea or Afghanistan.

    High school cliques fighting over cafeteria tables make more sense.

  6. Kilgore Trout

    Methinks the blob is busy trying in desperation to figure out some way to get rid of Erdogan. They tried and failed before. Possibly some kind of false flag assassination attempt will be next up for the neocons. And we should expect continued attempts to wreak the Turkstream pipeline as a parallel track to coup/assassination efforts. Since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the US is the “indispensable nation” in sowing gratuitous death and destruction over the planet. And no nation’s people are more blind to what is done, thanks to our corporate corrupted “free press” with its Geobbels’ level propaganda that effectively projects our own acts onto others.

    1. Gregorio

      “Possibly some kind of false flag assassination attempt will be next up for the neocons.”
      Is it too soon to recycle the “Putin poisoned him with Novichok/Polonium” narrative?

  7. John

    I am in Canada and have never visited the Black Sea. However, we do have a lot of immigrants from that part of the world.

    My observation is that Turkish People, and Ethnic Russians from Ukraine seem to have a lot in common. Not surprising since they are neighbors, and have a long history. Over the long term, relationships with ones neighbors is more important than the Games of people who live a long way away.

  8. Watt4Bob

    “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

    Something important is going to end up on the bottom of the ocean.

    I don’t expect that to bring the neocons to their senses.

    In fact, I’d expect them to roll out the big guns, like HRC, to explain to us what must happen next…

  9. Feral Finster

    “That’s the thing about neocons. Even when one scheme fails, there’s always another harebrained plot in the works.”

    This is because the neocons themselves never face consequences, no matter how disastrous their outcomes.

    Anyway, as we have seen from previous about-faces, Turkiye will sell out to the West for the right price.

    1. Lee

      As John noted above, proximity matters, and the right price might just be comity with one’s near neighbors.

  10. Maxwell Johnston

    Thank you, Conor, for an excellent summary.

    This 2019 article from Forbes has been overtaken by subsequent events, but it has two informative maps. One shows how much EEZ (exclusive economic zone) Russia acquired (and Ukraine lost) by its annexation of Crimea. A huge chunk of the Black Sea is now de facto, though not de jure, under Russian jurisdiction. A second map shows the location of the possible hydrocarbon deposits in the Black Sea:


    Many of these neocon plans have a Rube Goldberg quality to them; they’re just too complex for the real world. All of these schemes to move Central Asian hydrocarbons to Europe (bypassing Russia) require transiting the Caspian Sea (which is pretty much a Russian-Iranian lake). Hence, they assume that Russia will meekly stand by with its hands in its pockets and do nothing, which post-Nordstream strikes me as a heroic assumption.

    1. elkern

      Good maps, thx. And even with the conservative guess that Russia will end up with the southern half of Kherson Oblast when the war finally ends, they will pick up even more of those gas fields.

      We shouldn’t be surprised at the political/financial alliance between the NeoCons and [US?] Oil/Gas Corps; after all that’s what defined Foreign Policy of the Cheney/Bush regime. I would love to see some good “follow the money” journalism about this unholy alliance.

      IMO, the most important schism in US “Elites” is between coastal Financial interests and flyover Extractive Industries. The Financial Elites are urban, and therefore socially “liberal”, so they largely support the Democratic Party (since 1992). Extractive Industry execs are socially conservative, so they continue to support the GOP.

      The NeoCons are completely agnostic on Social issues (except for occasional propaganda attacking some “enemy” using Culture War themes) so they are acceptable to both groups. And of course, their expansionist agenda serves both camps; the Banksters get new assets (and more Interest on US Nat’l Debt!), and the Oilmen expand their Oiligopoly.

      But the big problem with NeoCon plans is that they *never* work. Maybe the Banksters and the Oilmen will notice this some day?

      Nah, that’s just me smoking Hopium again.

    2. zach

      Per the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea, signed by the presidents of the littoral states (RF, KAZ, IR, AZR, TM), Aug 12 2018.

      Article 3, Section 6

      Non-presence in the Caspian Sea of armed forces not belonging to the Parties;


      I remember some shrill notes come whistling out of DC town when this treaty was signed. I suppose a tight reading would allow for a littoral state to join an outside military alliance (such as NATO) but would disallow for the stationing of armed forces.

      Do armaments (missile batteries crewed by a native force for example) count as armed forces?

      Also, Section 7

      Non-provision by a Party of its territory to other States to commit aggression and undertake other military actions against any Party;

      Does anyone speak lawyer? Tf does non-provision by a party of its territory mean. Don’t start nothin, ain’t gonna be nothin?

  11. Craig Dempsey

    Speaking of Hopium, there is also the issue of Anthropogenic Global Warming. We topped the 1.5 C limit in 2023. Climate disasters are getting worse year by year. Everything looks set up for a dangerous hurricane season coming up. And then there are environmental writers such as Jem Bendell who think that world society collapse is already beginning (he says sometime before 2016). Plug the neocons into that equation! By the way, if you check the link to Jem Bendell, at the end of the article is a link to a free download of his book, Breaking Together.

    1. Paris

      Oh yeah, every year is the same, “this year we will have the worst ever hurricane season” because people are not into electric cars. Then…. pretty much nothing. Try something new…

  12. Oh

    Thank you Conor for the write up and for including the map so that I can visualize the various countries in the region. The Neo-cons and neo-libs (including the administration) pushing for war in this region and elsewhere (in the ME) are are paid servants of the international oil companies. They want to steal more energy resources around the world and they’re aided and abetted by the Democrats and the Republicans. It’s not to matter whether Biden or Trump is President. One way to thwart this is to vote for Senators and Reps who will try to slow down this stealing frenzy. I fear that there will be few that will be on our side. The only thing that we can do is to slow down our use of energy – drive less and consume less.

    I noticed that Exxon has mounted a propaganda push by pretending to be working on alternate energy on ads during podcasts. I’ve heard these blatant lies before but people will believe them because they’re easily fooled.

  13. Susan the other

    Once again, the “consumer” is the real prize – not the oil. If all paths lead to the Black Sea it indicates the energy rush is to supply the EU. And who will control it. This has been an ongoing effort from WW1, thru WW2 and the Cold War. That explains why we are so willing to destroy Europe’s economy, because if we can’t control the energy market to Europe then nobody can. It’s almost amusing that Europe, the great colonialist, has been so ruthlessly colonized. Now taken one step further so that what was once colonized to benefit seafaring adventures of mercantilists and monopolists is now being colonized to prevent the rise of Eurasia – Russia and China. It looks like just another power play. If it were for international economic and environmental sustainability that might make sense, but greed for economic power is off the charts, along with global debt. I get the feeling that we have spent ourselves to death trying to control oil and we are so single-minded that we can’t get out of our mental rut. Money is exponentiating in lock step with our insanity.

    1. Paris

      I was thinking the same. Why the need to control energy if the economies are being wrecked lol. It would be funny if it weren’t sad. And yes, the irony of the ex-colonizers being colonized by the Yankees is pretty good. Their choice, I guess. Nobody’s using force.

  14. John k

    Imo these are fantasies. What Black Sea nation could miss the Ukraine example? I assume the result there is Ukraine loses all of the Black Sea coast. Beyond that, perhaps Russia will let nearby countries know that nato membership will not prevent intervention if they step over red lines. Good relations with Russia is rapidly growing more valuable.
    Realities in east Europe have changed, and maybe we will see that in ME, too.

    1. Paris

      Never underestimate the stupidity of people. There are some Eastern Europe countries (like Romania, cited above) that are hysterically anti-Russian.

  15. ChrisPacific

    I’m trying to think of what might be an equivalent body of water for the US. Perhaps the Gulf of Mexico or Caribbean Sea. Imagine a Russian policy statement laying out objectives like this – for example, a reduction in US naval presence so that it couldn’t menace Mexico, Cuba or Venezuela.

    We’d think it was utterly deranged. Yet when the US does the same in Russia’s backyard, we’re expected to just take it as business as usual.

    1. Paris

      Or China, in the South China sea, for that matter. I totally support their decision. Keep the Americans out. And they go nuts lol.

  16. WillD

    Extraordinary that the US should have the gall to legislate for the so-called security of the Black Sea – as if they any jurisdiuction over it!

    I can imagine their anger and shock if Russia or China introduced legislation for the secuirty of say the Gulf of Mexico. They would be outraged!

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