Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Energy

Why Russia is Going to Win in Ukraine, For Now

UPDATE:

I’ve noticed a handful of people each day are searching for information on the Ukraine crisis and finding this piece. While I think it’s certainly interesting and you’re welcome to read it for information on the Ukraine-Russia relationship during the 00’s and in the months running up to the start of the Euromaidan protests, I wrote it in December of 2013–you might be more interested in my more recent writings on the crisis. Here are two such pieces:

February 22–this piece covers the various reasons Russia considers Ukraine a core strategic interest.

March 5–this piece covers the role the United States has played in pushing the Russians into intervening in Ukraine.

I have a certain fascination with the way that Russia conducts its foreign policy, particularly under Putin. It has an old fashioned, 20th century feel to it. It is bereft of the idealism that so often accompanies American and European policy and is consequently less prone to naïve mistakes. The Russians play hard, they play to win, and they often outplay their western counterparts despite economic and military inferiority. The recent series of events culminating in the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine is a tour de force of Russian foreign policy acumen, and is worth examining the way an art student would a Picasso.

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Keystone Pipeline: To Build or Not to Build

An interesting new report is out from the US state department about the Keystone XL pipeline, a proposed oil pipeline running from Canada’s tar sands to the United States. Key to the report is this line in particular:

Project is unlikely to have a substantial impact on the rate of development of the tar sands, or on the amount of heavy crude oil refined in the Gulf Coast area.

This may have some interesting implications for the question of whether or not the pipeline ought to be built. Let’s discuss them.

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Venezuela under Chávez

The 14 year reign of Hugo Chávez as President of Venezeula has come to an end with his death at the age of 58. Chávez is a polarising figure; people in the developed world tend either to love him or hate him. There isn’t a lot of nuanced, considered judgement about Chávez on the internet. So today I aim to fill that gap in our collective literature. Let’s find out what, precisely Huge Chávez did for the Venezuelan state and its people, for good or for ill.

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Stagflation: What Really Happened in the 70’s

If you argue long enough about economics, you are bound to run into the stagflation argument. The stagflation argument claims that the big state and stimulus caused high inflation, high unemployment, and poor growth during the seventies. Usually this argument is not fully argued by those who believe in it–it is merely asserted, and the rest of us are expected to accept that it is simply the case that the seventies happened that way. Today I’d like to endeavour to illustrate what actually happened in the seventies, what the real causes of stagflation were, and what sort of lessons might be pulled from it.

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Democratic Party Platform Expedition Part I: Economic Policy

As promised, the Democratic Party platform is to receive a similar treatment to the one recently given to the Republican Party platform. Get out your grappling hook–we’ve got a mountain to climb.

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