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A negotiated settlement is the only solution for the Ukraine crisis

Seven reasons the US shouldn’t help Ukraine’s fight with Russia MIA ΔΙΑΦΟΡΕΤΙΚΗ ΑΠΟΨΗ By  1/29/15 
As I pointed out on, “Only a negotiated settlement, no matter how unsatisfying, offers a possible resolution of the conflict. The alternative may be the collapse of the Ukrainian state and long-term confrontation between the West and Russia.”
Ukraine’s most fervent advocates assume anyone not ready to commit self-immolation on Kiev’s behalf must be a Russian agent. However, there are numerous good reasons for Washington to avoid the fight.
1) Russia isn’t Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya.
While the Obama administration has resisted proposals for military confrontation with Moscow, a gaggle of ivory tower warriors has pushed to arm Ukraine, bring Kiev into NATO and station U.S. men and planes in Ukraine. These steps could lead to war.
Americans have come to expect easy victories. However, Russia would be no pushover. In particular, Moscow has a full range of nuclear weapons, which it could use to respond to allied conventional superiority.
2) Moscow has more at stake than the West in Ukraine.
Ukraine matters far more to Moscow than to Washington. Thus, the former will devote far greater resources and take far greater risks than the allies will. The Putin government already has accepted financial losses, economic isolation, human casualties and political hostility.
3) Alliances should enhance U.S. security, not provide foreign charity.
It’s impossible to blame Ukraine for wanting the West to protect it. But it makes no sense for the allies to do so. Adding Ukraine to NATO would dramatically degrade U.S. security by transforming a minor conflict irrelevant to Washington into a military dispute between America and Russia.
4) Security guarantees and alliance commitments often spread rather than deter conflict.
NATO advocates presume that membership would dissuade Russia from taking military action. Alas, deterrence often fails. In World War I alliances become transmission belts of war.
5) U.S. foreign policy should be based on the interest of America, not other nations.
The greatest distortion to U.S. foreign policy may come from ethnic lobbying. There’s nothing wrong with having affection for one’s ancestral homeland, like Ukraine. But U.S. foreign policy should be designed to benefit America, not other nations.
Some advocates for Kiev argue that Ukraine deserves support since France helped the American colonists win their independence. But France intervened in the American Revolution because Paris believed it was in France’s interest to weaken Britain. Going to war with Moscow would offer Americans no similar benefit.
6) It’s Europe’s turn to act.
If Ukraine matters geopolitically, it is to Europe. But most NATO members continue to shrink their militaries. It is time Europe did the military heavy lifting.
7) A negotiated settlement is the only solution.
Unfortunately, weaker parties often must make accommodations. During the Cold War, Finland maintained its domestic liberties by not antagonizing the Soviet Union.
The world is similarly unfair to Ukraine today. Military victory is unlikely. Stalemate threatens Ukraine with economic crisis.
The allies hope that sanctions will force Russia to concede. But Vladimir Putin won’t retreat voluntarily.
Massive public discontent could spark a popular revolution. However, foreign penalties more often cause people to rally around their governments. As of last month, Putin’s popularity was at 85 percent.
Moreover, the prospect of Weimar Russia should cause Ukrainians and their friends in the West to be careful what they wish for. A Russia in crisis likely would not be democratic and docile.
Moscow could say no. If so, it is better to find out now than to do so only after suffering through an extended Cold War lite.
The Ukraine-Russia conflict is an unnecessary tragedy. Thankfully, the ongoing battle doesn’t much threaten America. However, the only ending in something other than disaster is likely to come through negotiation. Instead of acting as a belligerent party, Washington should focus on shaping a diplomatic solution.

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.


January 30, 2015 Posted by | politics international, Ukraine | 1 Comment

Pennsylvania Nuclear-Dump Cleanup Gets Complicated

wastes-1Nuclear-Dump Cleanup Gets Complicated –  Federal Report on Pennsylvania Site Foresees Costlier Work WSJ By  JOHN R. EMSHWILLER Jan. 29, 2015 The cleanup of a radioactive-waste dump in a small Pennsylvania town will likely be more complicated and potentially riskier than originally envisioned, and cost nearly 10 times as much, according to a revised federal plan.

Meanwhile, some officials, spurred by a citizen activist, are trying to determine whether all the waste in the area has been located………

Several decades ago, large amounts of radioactive waste were buried at the dump site by Nuclear Materials & Equipment Corp., or Numec, a local company that did atomic work for the federal government and other entities.

Numec was subsequently bought by Babcock & Wilcox Co. , an energy products and services provider. A B&W spokesman declined to comment.

The Corps, after years of planning, began excavating one of 10 known waste trenches at the site in the summer of 2011. Digging abruptly halted several weeks later and hasn’t resumed……….

Among the added costs are further measures to prevent a “nuclear criticality.” That can occur if enough fissionable materials, such as bomb-grade uranium or plutonium, are brought together to produce a chain reaction, said Robert Alvarez, a former Energy Department official. Such an event could produce dangerous quantities of radiation, he added.

The Corps document said officials now believe they might find more types of radioactive materials buried at the site than previously anticipated. Michael Helbling, the Corps’ project manager, said he couldn’t be more specific. “We want to be prepared for anything we find,” he said, adding that excavation is expected to resume in 2017 and take as long as 10 years to finish.

January 30, 2015 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

40% drop in renewable energy prices predicted for next few years

Renewable energy costs expected to drop 40% in next few years Solar price drops won’t be affected by plummeting oil prices By  Computerworld | Jan 29, 2015 The cost of generating power from renewable energy sources has reached parity or dropped below the cost of fossil fuels in many parts of the world, according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

IRENA’s report, “Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2014, states that biomass, hydropower, geothermal and onshore wind are all competitive with or cheaper than coal, oil and gas-fired power stations, even without financial support and despite falling oil prices. The report was released at IRENA’s annual conference in Abu Dhabi this month.

Solar photovoltaic (PV) power generation is leading the cost decline, with solar PV module costs falling 75% since the end of 2009 and the cost of electricity from utility-scale solar PV falling 50% since 2010.

In a separate report issued by Deutsche Bank this month, the cost to generate power through solar power was predicted to drop by 40% over the next three to four years. Deutsche Bank has also reported that the cost of rooftop solar power is expected to beat coal and oil-fired plant energy costs in just two years……….

The most competitive utility-scale solar PV projects are delivering electricity for $.08/kWh without financial support from governments, and lower prices are possible with inexpensive financing costs from solar providers.

“It has never been cheaper to avoid dangerous climate change, create jobs, reduce fuel import bills and future-proof our energy system with renewables,” Amin said. “This requires public acknowledgement of the low price of renewables, an end to subsidies for fossil fuels, and regulations and infrastructure to support the global energy transition.”

January 30, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

Renewable Energy Is the Future – says Robert Redford

Robert Redford: Fossil Fuels Need to Stay in the Ground, Renewable Energy Is the Future (VIDEO)   Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman sat down today with Robert Redford, the Oscar-winning director, actor and longtime environmentalist, at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

In the interview, Goodman jumps right in by asking Redford, founder of Sundance Film Festival, about last week’s vote where half of the Senate refuses to formally acknowledge the existence of man-made climate change.

“I think the deniers of climate change are probably the people who are afraid of change. They don’t want to see change,” Redford tells Goodman. “Too many in Congress are pushing us back into the 1950s.”

Goodman also asks Redford, a long-time opponent of the Keystone XL, about the attempt by the new Republican majority in Congress to approve construction of the controversial pipeline. “I had a lot of experience with oil,” he says, noting that he once worked in the oil fields. “I think it should stay in the ground. We’re so close to polluting the planet beyond anything sustainable.”

January 30, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Construction of a radioactive waste storage complex in a 16-square-kilometer area straddling the towns Futaba and Okuma to start

map of daiichi okuma futaba

Jan. 29, 2015
Japan’s environment ministry plans to soon start building initial facilities for storing radioactive waste stemming from decontamination work in Fukushima Prefecture, northern Japan.They are part of the intermediate storage complex to be built in a 16-square-kilometer area straddling the towns of Futaba and Okuma.The government earlier planned to start moving the waste to the site by the end of this month. But it canceled the plan due to delays in purchasing land and building facilities.The government now plans to start the transport by March 11th, the 4th anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that led to the nuclear accident in 2011.
The ministry says construction of 2 initial storage facilities, each 10,000 square kilometers, will start next Tuesday at industrial parks in the intermediate site.The waste is to be kept there until intermediate storage facilities are completed. It remains unclear when their construction will begin, due to lack of progress in purchasing land.Huge amounts of radioactive soil and other waste stemming from decontamination work have been kept in each municipality of the prefecture.

Municipalities are asking the government to provide a concrete schedule for transporting the waste.


January 30, 2015 Posted by | Japan | Leave a comment

The Dynamics of Possible Nuclear Extinction – theme for February 2015

The thought is so unpleasant, so confronting, that most of the time, we all avoid that thought.

That avoidance is a mistake. Now there’s an opportunity to learn the facts – not only on what a nuclear catastrophe, a nuclear war would be like,  but also about what positive steps the people of world can take to prevent those global horrors, and remove those threats.

Symposium: The Dynamics of Possible Nuclear Extinction – February 28-March 1, 2015 at The New York Academy of Medicine

A unique, two-day symposium at which an international panel of leading experts in disarmament, political science, existential risk, artificial intelligence, anthropology, medicine, nuclear weapons and other nuclear issues will be held at The New York Academy of Medicine on Feb 28- March 1, 2015. The public is welcome.
A project of The Helen Caldicott Foundation  Venue: The New York Academy of Medicine. 1216 Fifth Ave @ 103rd St. NY, NY 10029

The symposium will  be live streamed around the world and the Proceedings will be published in a book by the New Press


January 30, 2015 Posted by | Christina's themes | 1 Comment