Deflection is the word of the week when it comes to the situation between Russia and Ukraine

The only word to describe all the media surrounding the strained situation between Russia and Ukraine over the last week is, “deflection,” which has significant meanings when used in sports, politics, and everyday conversation.

My definition of deflection is an act or statement that suddenly changes direction or meaning to the confusion of the recipient. In hockey for instance, when the forward redirects a shot from the point, the goalie has little or no chance to make the save because of the shot’s split second change in direction.

In politics we see deflection happening with frightening frequency to the horror and amazement of we the tax laden consumers. The incursion of Ukraine by Russian forces upon the direction of Vladimir (Don’t Call Me Blinky) Putin spiked natural gas, crude and rack prices in Europe and the NYH.

I find it curious that the Russian action occurred almost immediately after the closing of the Sochi Olympics with the tension now ebbing with the commencement of the Para Olympics, which runs until March 16.

Beware the Ides of March!

Response to the events in Ukraine from the G-7, G-20 or G-Whizzes, has been confusing, producing nothing more than a shoulder shrugging smirk from Peppy Putin.

Despite the media’s intense efforts to focus on every move of the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry – when it comes to trade in general, and energy products in particular, this situation is a European, not North American problem.

Crude oil and natural gas are the life blood of the Russian economy. The European Community (EU) imports 84% of all Russian oil exports and 76% of Putin’s Natural gas (not literally).

Going the other way, The Russians are dependent on the EU for transportation, heavy machinery, agricultural and chemical products. Any pronouncement by President Obama for an embargo is just a ‘huff-and-puff,’ as it has no impact on U.S. trade with the Russians, and it will not blow their house down. The mild winter in Europe has left inventories in good shape as we head into spring, so supply and price is not a top shelf, out of reach issue right now.

Some in Congress are asking why the U.S. hasn’t offered to ship LNG to Europe to stave off the Russian squeeze play. The answer is that the current U.S. Administration has no infrastructure in place to play Good Samaritan to the EU because exporting Natural Gas would increase prices to the U.S. consumer in a mid-term election year; and approval of LNG exporting terminals is choking on red, or dare I say, green tape.

The EU needs crude oil, right? Sorry but that means we have to get our American Bakken oil to the Gulf to say nothing of that Canadian tar sands stuff.

So with whom does the decision lie?

With John Kerry of course, but he’s kind of busy saving Iran, Israel, Syria, Libya, and now the whole of Europe for gosh darn sakes.

And Mr. Obama conveniently continues to deflect any decision making onto Mr. Kerry!

Ever play hockey Mr. President?

Not too fast and you have to make quick decisions like… when to block a shot!

But don’t worry about blocking the shot. You’re a master at it.
~ The Grouch

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Roger McKnight is the Chief Petroleum Analyst with En-Pro International Inc.
Roger has over 25 years experience in the oil industry, and has held senior marketing management positions responsible for national and international accounts. He is the originator of the card lock concept of marketing on-road diesel that is now the predominant purchase method of diesel in Canada. Roger's knowledge of the oil industry in North America, and pricing structures has resulted in his expertise being sought as a commentator by local, national, and international media. Roger is a regular guest on radio and television programs, and he is quoted regularly in newspapers and magazines across Canada.

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