Mar 9 • 20M

Muddying the Waters of Nordstream, NATO's ammunition woes, French pension protests and more...

Radio Inteview on Sputnik's The Political Misfits 08/03/23

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Mark Sleboda
Mark Sleboda's Radio Interviews and podcasts on International, affairs and security from a realist, Russian & multipolar PoV
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We’re on a roll now when it comes to Nord Stream news. Yesterday we got the NYT report that a “pro-Ukraine group” but definitely not Ukraine or any state actor, no way, might have been behind the pipeline sabotage, according to their anonymous sources. Now we have German media saying German investigators think they might have found a yacht used in the bombing - rented from a Poland-based company that’s owned by Ukrainians. They say five men and one woman were involved - glad to see the ladies represented here. Now, of course, who the hell knows if this will end up being even close to the truth, but after a period of quiet on the Nord Stream front, leaks are coming thick and fast. And generally speaking, it seems significant that these reports are dropping idea that Russia blew these pipelines. Not totally, but it’s going away. What do you make of this yacht story and this new proposition that independent Ukrainian partisans were behind this explosion?

Talk to me about the capabilities angle. From the start, I’ve heard that this was a very sophisticated operation, it was beyond the capabilities of any old Joe, it had to be a state actor or a state-supported actor. But lately I’ve also seen people saying, eh, you know what, maybe this wouldn't have been as hard as people are saying. What can you tell us about how difficult an act of sabotage like this would have been to pull off? 

Multiple countries are investigating the pipeline explosions, but from what I can see, we’re only seeing leaks from German investigators. Why not from Sweden or Denmark, do you think? Or are they just not getting picked up in English?

Let’s talk about France, where bless them, somewhere between 1.2 and 3.5 million people took to the streets in something like 250 locations to say to French President Emmanuel Macron “you absolutely cannot raise the retirement age from 62-64. From over here, it looks like they achieved their goal of bringing France to a standstill - the Guardian reports that 30% of flights were canceled, bus and rail routes were also cancelled or delayed. 39% of state rail workers were striking, a quarter of public sector workers stopped work, fuel deliveries were blocked, meaning gas stations could run out of fuel, and students at some universities began blocking facilities, some schools were just closed, as were some power stations. The protests were, of course, not without some violence and violent repression. I wonder who you back in this showdown between the unions and Macron - and why you think Macron won’t back down. 

Where are other French political parties here? I don’t see them getting much mention in English write ups of the strike.

I also wanted to ask you about shale oil and geopolitics. The WSJ today has an article about the end of the shale boom - and of course, I’ll point out that articles like these have been coming out for a couple of years now. But eventually, I guess, the boom will go bust, and as the shale explosion had such an impact on oil prices nearly a decade ago, I imagine its decline could also be significant. How should US oil production affect how we understand the geopolitical storms we’re experiencing now, do you think? 

Finally, I wanted to get an update on ammunition. A week or so ago, we had European leaders saying “we have to get Ukraine more ammunition in weeks, or this war is over.” Was that an exaggeration? Is the ammo coming? I see Ukraine is still asking for it.

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