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15 Jan, 2009 12:29

Thursday's press review

Thursday's press review

This Thursday Russian newspapers comment on the ‘gas war’ and try to predict Hillary Clinton’s first actions as the next U.S. Secretary of State.

ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA publishes a column by Vitaly Dymarskiy who writes that in spite of the rhetoric used by some European politicians in their calls to alternate the energy sources used by EU member states, Europe cannot rid itself of Russian natural gas imports in the foreseeable future. The columnist writes that both Russia and Ukraine are suffering severe losses to their international image. Russia is losing a lot of money too, says the columnist, and adds that so far there has been no sign that the hostilities may end any time soon.

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA quotes experts saying that the ‘gas war’ will not end earlier than one to two weeks from now. The paper says Europe has turned to direct threats addressed at Russia and Ukraine: in case gas supply is not resumed soon, European nations are going to file lawsuits against Russian and Ukrainian suppliers. The paper says Russia should not be concerned all that much because it never stopped fulfilling its obligations.

For Ukraine, says the paper, the situation is totally different: besides stopping the gas deliveries and siphoning off gas belonging to other countries, Ukraine is maintaining such a non-yielding stance that it is losing the support of its former European allies by the hour. Analysts quoted by the paper suggest that there could be an agreement between Ukraine and a third party, most probably the U.S. In that case, continues the paper, the Ukrainian leadership may use it in the hope of striking a more accommodating deal with Russia and Europe.

The same paper says that Hillary Clinton, appointed by President-Elect Barack Obama to the position of Secretary of State is going to introduce significant changes in the U.S. foreign policy. The paper says she considers negotiations with Russia on the further reduction of nuclear weapons an immediate priority.

Apart from that the new head of the foreign policy branch of the U.S. administration is concerned about the unnecessarily high role of the Pentagon in the forming and implementing of foreign policy under the Bush administration, as well as the perspective of Russia and other natural gas exporters forming a cartel that may become as much of a threat to U.S. interests as its oil analogue, OPEC, ‘has been for the past 36 years.’

IZVESTIA writes that in spite of the changes promised by Hillary Clinton in U.S. foreign policy, the team that is going to be involved in the forming of that foreign policy consists of the same familiar faces from the Clinton administration. The paper reminds the readers that during the Clinton Administration, in spite of the widely promoted friendship between the U.S. President and his Russian counterpart Boris Yeltsin, many actions of the U.S. were aimed at ‘teaching Russia how to behave’ and often consisted of deals reminiscent of the exchange trade between the early white colonists and native Americans: precious stones against mirrors and glass necklaces.

The paper says it may be strange but the fact has been confirmed many times: a Republican administration usually treats Russia more as an equal, while Democrats prefer lecturing and ‘teaching lessons.’

VREMYA NOVOSTEI writes that Hillary Clinton is going, first of all, to shift the balance in foreign affairs back from military solutions to diplomacy. The paper says that by acting in that way she hopes ‘to earn more friends for America, and fewer enemies.’ Apart from negotiations with Russia on the reduction of strategic arms, says the paper, Hillary Clinton plans to create other priorities in the U.S. foreign policy, including ‘the safety of Israel and the legitimate political and economic hopes of the Palestinians.’

KOMMERSANT quotes international analysts saying that Hillary Clinton as the new Secretary of State is going to be more of a figurehead and representative of her husband’s political clan in the government than an actual creator of foreign policy. The paper says, the main decisions would be made or advised upon by such members of the administration as Vice-president Joseph Biden and National Security advisor James Jones.

Evgeny Belenkiy, RT