For those baby boomers who grew up during the cold war and remember vividly WWII, a story came out this weekend that is sure to have people scratching their heads as they think back to the past and think to the future of possible geopolitical solutions involving the still vast oil and gas resources in the Middle East. Haaretz newspaper published an article outlining how Germany initially retracted a $382 million discount for Israel in the purchase of three missile boats built to sell to Israel to protect its gas rigs. Highly political, the reneging came about over breakdown in Palestinian/Israeli peace talks and EU sensibilities. With diplomatic loops being played all the way up to the head of state on the German side, the discount was re-credited.
Those knowing basic history might remember that the mid 1940’s saw the official end of ownership not only to German oil fields of North Africa, but also of her occupied colonies. (Fossil fuels were lean up to this point- during the latter part of the war Germany was using wood biomass to keep some residential vehicles moving!). At the same time, the Soviets came rushing into Germany/Eastern Europe as an occupier. And many Jewish immigrants coming from Germany went through a war of their own to settle into what has turned out to be a very fossil fuel rich region.
With almost three-quarters of a century of nationalistic developments since, and as diplomacy politics often go, the motives of Germany’s move this year to retract and then reassign the discount for Israel run the gamut in the comments section of the Haaretz article. Probably one of the more solid tidbits to go along with ideological EU ‘decolonization’ pressures being put on Israel is the idea that a recently aggressive Russia (i.e. Georgia and Ukraine) close to home may be prompting desires by EU/Germany to help keep Israel safe due to its natural gas reserves. While Germany itself has dropped nuclear and gorged on solar and now offshore wind, it is the underpinning of the EU’s cohesion and may see Russia’s strong market position on gas pricing (at least in the short run) as a danger to Europe- especially going into abnormally cold winters for the continent. And Israel’s generous gas position is in the context of an unpredictable Iran as a neighbor in the Gulf.
Read the article, and comments, and see what you think! Feel free to make comments after the article or on this blog to promote discussion. Along with the twists and turns of national relations having been astounding the last century, one of the more fun things of this speeding age, I think, is the ability for anyone (with a username and password) to put their brain noodling – regardless of understanding and background -up on comments after articles (and in blogs…)