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Next up on The Real World: Geopolitics

One of the reasons I love geopolitics is that it gives me the same sort of Schadenfreude that I imagine a lot of people get from watching Reality TV or bad Soap Operas (but I repeat myself). There are well-established characters, many of them with foul tempers, who get into pissing matches and generally wind up being conniving asshats. It’s good entertainment!

The latest in the Eastern European saga is that the fight amongst Ukraine, Russia, and the EU over Russian natural gas is heating up again (half-assed pun totally intended). This is the same fight that left millions of Europeans without gas in January of this year.  But this time, in advance of Ukraine’s upcoming 2010 elections, there’s the added bonus of Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko (obligatory fanboy squee) are trying to throw one another under any number of convenient buses, all while still trying to score the best deal for their own country.

Tymoshenko, with her strong platform of fiscal responsibility, economic prosperity, and fighting corruption, has proposed the radical idea of only buying the amount of natural gas that Ukraine actually uses.  President Yushchenko, on the other had, still wants Ukrainian firm Naftogaz to buy as much as it pleases, it just doesn’t want it to do it with government money any more.  (Up until last month, Yushchenko has basically handed Naftogaz the government credit card and said “do what you want with it, just don’t show us the bill.”  That, uh, didn’t work out so well.)

Meanwhile, Putin is suggesting that maybe the EU should be throwing some money Russia’s way, as well.  Maybe, you know, a billion or so.  The EU meanwhile, is just hoping not to get its junk frozen off come January.

So yes.  Interesting times in Eastern Europe.  I’m curious to see how it plays out.  While it seems unlikely that there will be a repeat of last year’s gas shortages, it definitely wouldn’t surprise me.  I’m also interested to see what effect (if any) this has on next year’s Ukrainian elections.

However it turns out, it’s going to be a good show.

Posted in Politics.