Negotiating With Russia

As hot weather in New Zealand melts the Desert Road, Europe cointinues to freeze.  And thanks to the Russian Government some parts of Europe are now in their second day without gas (we are OK here in Geneva).  EU negotiators are flying to Moscow for emergency talks.

This reminds me of one of my final acts for the New Zealand Government – tidying up unfinished business over the bilateral elements of Russia WTO accession deal.  This all happened in the margins of the 2004 APEC Leaders’ Meeting in Santiago.  The Russian side tried every trick in the book to intimidate the New Zealand team Ministerial threats, intimidation etc. but we held out and they had to back down in the end (I remain proud of the stories the Russian side told others about how difficult the New Zealanders were to negotiate with).

The point is that the Russians still don’t behave according to the norms the rest of the WTO do.  This blackmail over gas is a classic example.  Until Russia changes its ways there should be no place for them in the WTO.  Unfortunately every few months someone in the US or Europe (or even MFAT) will try and argue that principle should be put aside and Russia should be allowed in for “political reasons”.  Lets hope the gas crisis is not forgotten fast.  And lets hope that Russia mends its ways fast, before people start dying.

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2 Responses to “Negotiating With Russia”

  1. Owen McShane Says:

    I suppose my New Year prayer is to wish for global warming.
    As you are discovering the alternative is so much less attractive – as this report in Pravda explains:

    Article
    Earth on the Brink of an Ice Age

    The earth is now on the brink of entering another Ice Age, according to a large and compelling body of evidence from within the field of climate science. Many sources of data which provide our knowledge base of long-term climate change indicate that the warm, twelve thousand year-long Holocene period will rather soon be coming to an end, and then the earth will return to Ice Age conditions for the next 100,000 years.
    Ice cores, ocean sediment cores, the geologic record, and studies of ancient plant and animal populations all demonstrate a regular cyclic pattern of Ice Age glacial maximums which each last about 100,000 years, separated by intervening warm interglacials, each lasting about 12,000 years.

    Most of the long-term climate data collected from various sources also shows a strong correlation with the three astronomical cycles which are together known as the Milankovich cycles. The three Milankovich cycles include the tilt of the earth, which varies over a 41,000 year period; the shape of the earth’s orbit, which changes over a period of 100,000 years; and the Precession of the Equinoxes, also known as the earth’s ‘wobble’, which gradually rotates the direction of the earth’s axis over a period of 26,000 years. According to the Milankovich theory of Ice Age causation, these three astronomical cycles, each of which effects the amount of solar radiation which reaches the earth, act together to produce the cycle of cold Ice Age maximums and warm interglacials.

    For the whole story go to:
    http://english.pravda.ru/science/earth/106922-0/

  2. stef Says:

    Lets hope the gas crisis is not forgotten fast.
    Didn’t they get up to similar shenanigans a few years ago?

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