Geo- and energy policy versus human rights

In the new Cold War, Russia delivers weapons and nuclear technology to Myanmar, the EU, under the leadership of the German Presidency, softens the sanctions imposed on Uzbekistan

Whether, in view of the increasing conflicts between Russia and the USA and the EU, one can already speak of a new Cold War is a matter of opinion. But the intermittent tendency of political rapprochement has become fragile, at least since the war in Iraq. The Russian and U.S. governments are each pursuing aggressive policies to demonstrate what Russia is capable of thanks to higher oil and gas prices and the nationalization of energy companies. With the expansion of the EU and NATO, the West has moved closer to Russia, which is symbolized once again by the planned installation of the missile defense shield.

Political Theater. At Tuesday’s meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Rice and President Putin, everything remained the same. Photo: Kremlin

In addition, Russia and the USA as well as the EU are fighting for influence on the resource-rich Central Asian countries of the former Soviet Union (The EU gives gas), Georgia, Ukraine, Weibrussia or Serbia/Kosovos are also disputed areas of influence. Geopolitical conflicts, which also involve China, are also fought out in the rest of Asia and the Middle East, Africa and Latin America were allowed to become increasingly important here.

Geopolitics and energy policy versus human rights

Demonstrated unity of the presidents of Russia, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. Photo: Kremlin

In the geopolitical conflict increasingly also by the EU the noble goals for instance of the human right policy are sacrificed. Russian President Putin has just reached an agreement with Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan on the construction of a gas pipeline that will keep Russia in a central position in energy supplies. The EU and the USA, on the other hand, had been pushing for a pipeline from Turkmenistan through the Caspian Sea and to Azerbaijan in order to cut out Russia. For the time being, the project has suffered a setback, even though it is not dead yet, because the Central Asian states naturally know how to play poker, too. Russia has also signed a new agreement with Kyrgyzstan for the development of natural gas.

Russian President Putin meets German Foreign Minister Steinmeier to calm conflict. Photo: Kremlin

However, in order not to completely lose influence on the region, which is interesting in terms of energy policy, the EU, under the German EU Council presidency, has just slightly eased the sanctions against the authoritarian regime in Uzbekistan, which were decided on because of human rights violations, and has tried to accommodate it, even if one continues to be concerned about human rights violations. After the brutal crackdown on protesters in Andijan in May 2005, in which many people were killed (the usual suspects), the EU, even half-decidedly, imposed an arms embargo and entry bans on some members of the government. In the face of opposition from some member countries, German Foreign Minister Steinmeier (SPD) has been able to push through some of the attempts to make the agreement for geopolitical and energy policy reasons. The human rights organization Human Rights Watch sees the recent tougher crackdown on opposition figures in Uzbekistan also as a result of the easing of prere and calls for a strengthening of sanctions.

This has always been called realpolitik. Such realpolitik demonstrates also Russia at present not only in Iran, but also in Myanmar, one of the worst dictatorships, which is still boycotted by the west since 1988. China, India, Thailand and Russia undermine the sanctions and also supply weapons to the militaries. The Russian atomic energy agency Rosatom announced Tuesday that an agreement has been signed with the military government for the construction of a nuclear reactor, which will be set up as part of the establishment of a nuclear research center. The project will be a 10-megawatt reactor using enriched uranium. laboratories will be set up and nuclear waste facilities will be built. Rosatom ares that both countries are members of the IAEA and have signed the Non-Proliferation Agreement.

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