Monthly Archives: July 2006

OIL – Major trade Movements (2005)

Source BP
Don’t miss the chance to visit BP webpage, if you need some information about energy issues (Oil, Gas…) You can even build your own Charts and Graphs, with an exceptional tool. It is a very useful source.
Even so, don’t trust that ‘bio’green corporative color, and the nice sunflower on the top…. You are not in Greenpeace webpage!

The Dark side of natural resources

The Dark side of natural resources

Maybe you could be interested in this section I found in Global Policy web page. It is clear and well structured. Let’s talk about ‘power’!

North Korea and Japan in Atimes,…

N Korea’s missiles met by Japanese sanctions
By Hisane Masaki TOKYO –

Just hours after North Korea’s provocative series of missile launches, Japan has reacted by banning the docking of the Mangyongbyon-92, a ferry that shuttles between Wonson in North Korea and Niigata, and which is the main direct link between the two countries. As of Wednesday morning, the ship was anchored in the Sea of Japan about two kilometers off Niigata prefecture. Also on Wednesday morning, the United Nations Security Council held an emergency, closed meeting to discuss the issue, after a request to do so by Japan’s ambassador to the UN, Kenzo Oshima. The request followed an emergency meeting of Japan’s national security council, convened by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Additional Japanese sanctions are in the pipeline. Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said “Japan will take any kind of sanctions we can” against North Korea, including economic and financial sanctions. Japan also plans to bring up the issue at the Group of Eight (G8) summit to be held in St Petersburg later this month, Abe said. North Korea staged a series of missile tests in the early hours of July 5, which was still July 4, Independence Day, in the US. One of the missiles launched was the Taepodong-2 long-range missile, which some claim can hit the western extremities of the US. It fizzled out, crashing into the Sea of Japan less than a minute after launch. The other half dozen launches were various versions of shorter-range Scuds and Rodong missiles, some of which have a range sufficient to reach virtually any target in either South Korea or Japan. They all fell harmlessly in the Sea of Japan (which Koreans call the East Sea). “North Korea has gone ahead with the launch despite international protests,” Abe said. “That is regrettable from the standpoint of Japan’s security, the stability of international society, and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. This is a grave problem in terms of peace and stability not only of Japan but also of international society. We strongly protest against North Korea.” Meanwhile, Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Aso was consulting by telephone with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The two agreed that the UN Security Council should take up the issue. Washington denounced the launches as a “provocation” soon after they were confirmed. “You’re going to see a lot of diplomatic activity here in the next 24-48 hours, said National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley. US anti-missile systems based in Alaska, California and at sea were on alert but not activated. Japan and the US had warned in recent weeks that a Taepodong-2 launch would violate Pyongyang’s self-imposed 1999 moratorium on ballistic missile tests, a 2002 agreement with Japan, and also its implicit agreement in the six-party nuclear talks last year. Pyongyang had claimed, however, that its moratorium on ballistic missile tests no longer applied as it was no longer in direct talks with Washington. While stepping up diplomatic efforts to rally international pressure on Pyongyang to halt its preparations, Japan had threatened to impose economic sanctions in close cooperation with the US if the Taepodong-2 was launched, with or without a sanctions resolution of the United Nations Security Council. Even before Wednesday’s missile tests, Japan and the US reportedly had already begun discussions on a prospective Security Council resolution harshly condemning such action. Foreign Minister Aso said recently that it would be “inevitable” for the Security Council to consider imposing sanctions on Pyongyang if a launch went ahead. But it remains to be seen how much support Japan and the US can garner. When Pyongyang test-launched a Taepodong-1 missile over Japan’s air space in 1998, the Security Council only issued a statement to the press – not a binding resolution or even a chair’s statement – expressing concerns. That was because China objected to discussing the matter in the Security Council. However, this time China may agree to take up the issue because it must be aware of the seriousness of the situation and because of its position as the chair of the six-party nuclear talks. But Beijing’s support for sanctions appears unlikely. Among the participant countries in the talks, China, Russia and South Korea have advocated a softer approach to Pyongyang, while the US and Japan have taken a harder line. China and Russia appear unlikely to agree to economic sanctions against Pyongyang. Because of this prospect, Japan and the US have been poised to cooperate in imposing economic sanctions of their own, even without a UN resolution. Japan has already passed the necessary bills to do so on its own. In 2004, Japan revised the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Law to allow the government to halt trade and block cash remittances to North Korea – or to any other country, without a UN resolution. Japan also enacted a law that year that authorizes the government to ban the docking of North Korean ships, or ships that have visited North Korea, at Japanese ports. The Mangyongbyon-92 ferry had been widely considered to be among the most likely targets. Pyongyang has often warned that economic sanctions would be tantamount to a “declaration of war”. To be sure, North Korea would suffer if Japan went that far. But the impact of the Japanese punishment would be limited unless other nations, especially China and South Korea, join in the sanctions. Until 2002, Japan was North Korea’s second-largest trading partner after China, facilitated in part by the large ethnic-Korean community in Japan. However, the two-way trade has shrunk considerably in recent years, reflecting increasingly tense relations. Japan has fallen behind China, South Korea and Thailand. Japan now appears very likely to accelerate work on implementing recently enhanced security arrangements with the US and bilateral cooperation on a missile defense system. In April 1996, then prime minister Ryutaro Hashimoto and then US president Bill Clinton issued a joint security declaration in Tokyo reaffirming the importance of the bilateral security alliance in the post-Cold War era. The next year, Japan and the US adopted new defense cooperation guidelines to flesh out the declaration. Beginning in May 1999, Japan set about enacting laws needed to put these agreements into effect. The government initially faced opposition the Diet (Japan’s parliament). But the increased sense of crisis among many Japanese over threats posed by North Korea smoothed the way for passage, helped by provocations from Pyongyang. Heading the list of provocations was the multi-stage Taepodong-1 missile the North sent without warning over Japan into the northern Pacific in August 1998. Also, two North Korean spy ships were spotted in March 1999 in Japanese territorial waters off the Noto Peninsula, central Japan. In December 2001, a North Korean spy ship blew itself up and sank after a fire fight with Japan Coast Guard patrol boats in waters off the Amami Islands, Kagoshima prefecture. North Korea’s 1998 Taepodong-1 missile launch also spurred Tokyo to begin joint technological research with Washington on a missile defense system the following year. In December last year, the Koizumi government formally committed to the joint development of a new sea-based interceptor missile, called the Standard Missile-3 (SM3), as a main pillar of the US-led system. The joint development cost is estimated at a maximum of $2.7 billion, with Japan shouldering up to $1.2 billion and the US paying the rest. Japan also decided in late 2003 to introduce a defensive system, using existing interceptor missiles, by 2007. Well over 100 Patriot Advanced Capability 3, or PAC3, surface-to-air missiles will be procured by the end of fiscal 2010. PAC3 missiles are intended to hit incoming missiles at an altitude of up to 20 kilometers that have escaped missiles launched from Japanese destroyers. In July last year, Japan revised the Self-Defense Forces law to allow the Defense Agency chief to order emergency missile interceptions without waiting for approval from the prime minister and the cabinet. Since North Korean missiles would reach Japanese territory in about 10 minutes, the defense chief could not afford to follow normal procedures. On June 23, Japan and the US signed an agreement to formally begin the joint development of an advanced SM3. And recently, the Bush administration reportedly notified Tokyo that it would deploy PAC3 missiles at a base in Okinawa by year’s end. The deployment will be the first time the surface-to-air missiles have been installed to defend US forces in Japan from possible North Korean missile attacks. On June 22, a US Navy ship intercepted a medium-range missile warhead above the earth’s atmosphere off Hawaii in the latest test of the US missile defense program. The US said the test had been scheduled for months and was not prompted by indications that North Korea was planning to test launch a long-range missile. The Japanese destroyer Kirishima practiced tracking the target, marking the first time that a Japanese Aegis destroyer had participated in a US interception test. Hisane Masaki is a Tokyo-based journalist, commentator and scholar on international politics and economy. Masaki’s e-mail address is (Copyright 2006 Asia Times Online Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing .)

Les enjeux géopolitiques,…

Une diplomatie au bord du gouffre, par Philippe Pons
LE MONDE 05.07.06 13h26 • Mis à jour le 05.07.06 13h26

arement Pyongyang aura été aussi loin dans la gesticulation militaire. Considéré comme un acte de provocation par les Etats-Unis et le Japon, le “feu d’artifice” de missiles auquel vient de se livrer le régime ne peut que mettre davantage la République populaire démocratique de Corée (RPDC) à l’index de la communauté internationale et entraîner de la part de Tokyo et de Washington un renforcement des sanctions économiques à son égard.

Geste désespéré d’un régime aux abois ? Pari risqué pour tenter de rétablir un rapport de forces à son avantage ? Jusqu’à présent, le régime de Pyongyang a démontré qu’il est moins imprévisible qu’on le dit et qu’il joue relativement habilement le peu de cartes qu’il a en main, au fil d’une “diplomatie au bord du gouffre” dont les tirs de missiles sont une nouvelle expression.
Du point de vue nord-coréen, l’accord nucléaire passé par les Etats-Unis avec l’Inde et les négociations en cours avec l’Iran – qui a un programme nucléaire moins avancé que celui de la Corée du Nord – témoignent du peu de cas qui est fait à Washington de la position de la RPDC. Les pourparlers à six (deux Corées, Chine, Etats-Unis, Japon et Russie) sont dans l’impasse depuis la signature de l’accord du 19 septembre 2005. Profitant de la généralité des termes de cet accord-cadre, Pyongyang a précisé ses exigences que Washington rejette.
Mais le régime refuse surtout de revenir à la table de négociation tant que les Etats-Unis n’auront pas levé les sanctions (gel de ses avoirs à l’étranger et blocage partiel de ses flux financiers internationaux), prises pratiquement au moment où cet accord était signé. Celles-ci visent à étrangler le régime sans avoir besoin d’obtenir un aval – improbable – du Conseil de sécurité des Nations unies en raison de l’opposition de la Chine et de la Russie à des sanctions. Le Japon soutient la position américaine et, en 2005, ses échanges avec la RPDC ont diminué de moitié.
Pyongyang peut penser que le moment est opportun pour ouvrir un nouveau front, ou du moins créer une diversion alors que Washington est empêtré dans le conflit irakien et condamné à patienter dans son bras de fer avec Téhéran. Ce que voient les Coréens du Nord, c’est que “finalement, l’administration Bush est contrainte à négocier avec les “méchants” : Iraniens, insurgés irakiens”, souligne Robert Dujarric, chercheur associé à l’Institut japonais pour les affaires étrangères. “Le seul risque que prend le régime est la réaction de la Chine : jusqu’où tolérera-t-elle ses provocations ?”, poursuit-il.
Condamnée par la Russie, la gesticulation de Pyongyang embarrasse Pékin, mais aussi Séoul où elle donne des arguments aux adversaires de la politique conciliante du président Roh Moo-hyun. Elle va surtout renforcer l’alliance militaire américano-japonaise dans le domaine du bouclier anti-missile qui doit être mise en place fin 2006 ou début 2007. Même en matière de renseignement, le Japon dépend largement des satellites américains. Bien que la crise ait pour théâtre l’Asie du Nord-Est, l’archipel est largement impuissant pour la désamorcer, d’autant moins que ses relations avec Pékin et Séoul sont des plus froides, et que l’opinion publique est remontée contre le régime de Pyongyang depuis l’affaire des kidnappés japonais par des agents du Nord dans les années 1970-1980, dont le dénouement n’est pas en vue. Le Japon, qui se sent directement menacé par les menées jugées bellicistes de la Corée du Nord, est partisan de la plus grande fermeté vis-à-vis de Pyongyang.
Aux Etats-Unis, l’impatience commence à gagner du terrain et des voix mêmes modérées – telles que celle de l’ancien secrétaire à la défense William Perry, qui préconisa en 1999 un plus grand engagement de l’administration Clinton vis-à-vis de la RPDC – s’élèvent pour suggérer une action préventive contre les bases de missiles de Corée du Nord, l’option militaire semble écartée pour des raisons géopolitiques (proximité de la Chine et de la Corée du Sud, qui s’y opposent). En outre, la détérioration de la situation en Irak ne plaide guère en faveur d’une telle initiative, compte tenu des risques de conflit qu’elle pourrait entraîner alors que les forces américaines y sont lourdement engagées, ainsi qu’en Afghanistan.
L’évolution de la crise sur le nucléaire iranien pourrait être un autre élément qui a poussé Pyongyang à se “manifester”. Comme la RPDC, l’Iran refuse de se plier aux exigences de la communauté internationale en matière de non-prolifération nucléaire, et continue à affirmer son droit à enrichir de l’uranium. Mais elle vient de se voir proposer par les grandes puissances une série de mesures incitatives à la suspension de son programme qui rappellent étrangement l’accord de 1994 entre les Etats-Unis et la RPDC (fourniture de deux centrales à eau légère, dont l’énergie est plus difficile à détourner à des fins militaires, en échange du gel du programme nucléaire à base de plutonium). Cet accord a été considéré comme caduc par l’administration Bush à la suite des accusations qu’elle a portées en octobre 2002 à l’encontre de la RPDC, selon lesquelles celle-ci poursuivait un programme clandestin d’enrichissement de l’uranium. Accusations qui, à l’exception de l’acquisition par Pyongyang de centrifugeuses au Pakistan, n’ont jamais été étayées de preuves par Washington. L’Iran a annoncé qu’il répondra en août à la proposition qui lui a été faite le 6 juin et, apparemment, Pyongyang entend rappeler avant cette échéance que, dans son cas, l’impasse n’est pas uniquement son fait.
Une impasse qui pousse des démocrates mais aussi des républicains américains à encourager le président George Bush à changer de tactique à l’égard de la Corée du Nord. L’attentisme, assorti de sanctions et de moulinets qu’elle poursuit en refusant tout dialogue direct avec Pyongyang, ne semble guère efficace : depuis 2003, la RPDC est sortie du traité de non-prolifération (TNP), a repris sa production de plutonium, a annoncé en février 2005 s’être dotée de l’arme nucléaire – sans toutefois avoir procédé à un essai -, et elle vient de démontrer ses capacités en matière de missiles.
Après avoir fait de la Corée du Nord un “Etat voyou” et l’avoir inscrit en compagnie de l’Iran et de l’Irak de Saddam Hussein dans l'”axe du Mal”, Washington semble aujourd’hui minimiser la menace qu’elle représente. “Les tirs de missiles sont une provocation, mais non une menace”, a déclaré Steve Hadley, le conseiller présidentiel américain pour la sécurité nationale.
Une retenue qui pourrait indiquer un certain embarras.
Philippe Pons
Article paru dans l’édition du 06.07.06

Sobre l’Estratègia de Seguretat Nacional

Ja vàreu comentar l’altre dia aquest ARI de El Cano que parla sobre l’estratègia de seguretat nacional:

Hi ha molts elements importants en aquest article, especialment la consideració de la nova doctrina Bush com a, ja no realista, sinó neorealista. Amb tot, en l’apartat final, crec que confon una mica l’idealisme, el realisme, neoconservadurisme i neorealisme.

Certament, els EUA, com els neorealistes, creuen que el poder no és una fita en si mateix sinó un mitjà, i per això explica que la nnova preocupació dels estats no és tant el poder sinó la seguretat. Però com us deia en anteriors missatges, crec que del que s’ha de parlar no és tant de neorealisme (que l’entenc més com un paradigma que corregeixes les mancances científiques dels realistes clàssics) sinó de realisme democràtic (democratic realism), que entenia l’expansió selectiva de la democràcia com a mitjà d’aconseguir “global safety and security”.
Bé, seguirem parlant de neorealistes, neocons i realistes democràtics,…

USA unilateralism: Is China the next step?

Hi again,

I put an interesting article on American foreign policy’s unilateralism, specially on China. The basic hypothesis is American foreign policy did not with the Bush Administration, but it has its roots even with the Clinton Administration. The Clinton Doctrine point out that in order to maintain the stability in core regions of US interest (chiefly Europe and Japan) the instability in periphery regions should be combated. And the questions is: should USA act preemptively with China before it gets too powerful and threatens USA interest?

Krauthammer –I enjoy reading this neo-con so much!- put it clear: “The essence of foreign policy is deciding witch son of a bitch to support and which to oppose?”

Russia Far (and Empty) East

For more than a decade, the country’s population has steadily shrunk from 150 million in the early 1990s to just more than 140 million today. According to official statistics, unless the situation changes, the Russian population will drop to 80 million by 2050, leaving the country’s Far East virtually vacant.’

However, particularly the remote far eastern regions are being abandoned in what seems to be a flow of migration towards the west which obviously is set to have important consequences should the trend not be reversed.

‘Russian officials concede that the country’s Far East risks becoming a no man’s land. The population in the area has declined by 20 per cent in the last 15 years, despite a revival of the regional economy, Kamil Iskhakov, the presidential envoy to the Far East said on in mid-May. “People are leaving because they can not find acceptable living conditions,” he told an 18 May meeting in Khabarovsk.

Improving the demographic situation is a “matter of survival” for the Koryak Autonomous District, said governor Oleg Kozhemyako. The region still faces high mortality rates and significant population outflows, he conceded on 10 May.’

And this should be seen in the light of a especially well endowed territory which, at least at a first glance, bodes well for opportunities.

‘The Russian Far East comprises 13 regions, stretches over 40 per cent of Russia’s territory, and is home to vast natural resources, including virtually all of the country’s diamonds, two-thirds of its gold deposits, and major timber and fishery resources.

Yet despite these opportunities, in recent years many Russians have been moving back to the European part of the country from the remote regions of Siberia and the Far East. As such, Russia’s expansionist trend of the past several centuries is being reversed, leaving hardly populated stretches in the Asian part of the country.’

As the article also reports, Kremlin is hard at work to reverse the demographics trends in Russia and specifically the Eastern regions, will Moscow come through?

by democracy matters