Why Putin won’t suffer any serious consequences

Because Europe is just too dependent on Russian gas and oil.  Here’s a map/infographic from Vox:


And Slate’s Daniel Gross on the issue:

But a look inside the trade numbers reveals that Europe’s ability and willingness to punish Russia economically is severely compromised. Simply put, Russia is Europe’s gas station. If you refuse to patronize the gas station, you’ll certainly inflict some pain on the owner. But then you wouldn’t be able to get to work or drive to the mall or get your kids to school…

In fact, the trade between Europe and Russia largely consists of fuels. In 2013, the EU imported 166.3 billion euros of fuels from Russia, accounting for about 80 percent of Russia’s total exports to the EU. In 2011, Netherlands—which has the most reason to be angry at Russia—imported virtually all the petroleum it used, and about one-third of that oil came from Russia. The Netherlands also runs the largest trade deficit with Russia of any EU country.

And I love this conclusion:

Taking serious steps to reduce purchases of Russian energy would require European leaders to show both moral courage and an overt willingness to inflict financial pain on large and well-connected companies. But both of these things are in short supply—just like natural gas and oil.

Again, just amazing what your country can get away with if you have enough gas and oil.  Pretty depressing.

Photo of the day

Via Wired.  So this is a crazy animal:

The incredible satanic leaf-tailed gecko does a spot-on impression of a leaf. “Thank you, thank you,” the gecko says. “I’ll be here for the three to five years of my expected lifespan.”  PIOTR NASKRECKI / CORBIS

Quick hits (part I)

Another double quick hits weekend!  Here goes…

1) Arthur Brooks (whom I am generally not a fan of) has a nice NYT column on happiness.  Nice pithy headline: love people, not pleasure.

2) RFK Jr is a rabid anti-vaccine advocate.  That’s good for viruses; bad for humans.

3) I loved my summer break from school (and hey, still do) and I love my kids’ summer break.  But I do get why maybe it is not such a good thing.

4) Want less polarization in DC?  Give the political parties more money.  Seriously.

5) How reading on-line is different from reading on paper.  I so much prefer the “real” version and will always choose it when given the choice.

6) TNR’s Danny Vinik on Paul Ryan’s anti-poverty plan.

7) Jeffrey Toobin on redistricting in Florida.

8) Maybe there’s more to it (surely there is) than that everybody needs seven hours of sleep.

9) Oh man, I love the trolley problem in ethics.  Shame to think it might not actually be all that helpful.

10) So, the New Yorker has completely opened up their on-line archives for the next few months.  That’s free access to so many amazing articles.  Here’s a nice compilation of recommended ones.   And another from Slate.

%d bloggers like this: