Ukraine War Day #430: The Doors Of the Castle – Part I

Legyen csukva a két ajtó.
Téljen dallal az én váram.
Gyere, gyere,
csókra várlak!

Nyissad ki még
a két ajtót.

Judit, Judit, csókra várlak.
Gyere, várlak. Judit várlak!

Nyissad ki még a két ajtót.
Keep the two doors closed.
Let my castle sing in winter.
Come come,
I'm waiting for a kiss!

Open it again
the two doors.

Judit, Judit, I'm waiting for a kiss.
Come, I am waiting for you. I'm waiting for you Judith!

Open the other two doors.

(Béla Bartók, “Bluebeard’s Castle”)

Dear Readers:

America to Europe: “Your place is on the floor, begging for my affection while I prepare my torture implements…”

Bartók’s brilliant opera tells the story of a beautiful but over-curious gal who fell for the wrong guy. For whatever reason: She coveted his castle and wealth; perhaps truly loved him; or was just obsessively drawn to this abusive type. Either way, Judith ended up paying a terrible price for her fatal attraction. As fans of the opera know, Judith does succeed in achieving a type of immortality, but definitely not what she expected; and more creepy than even her masochistic nature would have desired.

This story is obviously a metaphor for current events. Allow me to decode: Judith is Old Europe. Beautiful and cultured, but also fragile and needy. Bluebeard is the United States of America. A kind of demonic subjugating force in the world. So, why did I not pick a more American kind of analogy? Like Billy the Kid vs Pat Garrett, or something like that. Well, honestly, the only reason my mind went to Bartók first is because his characters share the same beautiful language with one of Europe’s great statesmen, Viktor Orbán. And because yesterday I just happened to see this clip on Twitter. Wherein Orbán, in just 5 minutes, gives the clearest possible explanation of what is actually going on in the world; and why Old Europe is doomed. I highly recommend watching the clip, Orbán speaks in Hungarian with English subtitles. It’s all off the cuff, he even jokes about it a bit; but, like I said, absolutely mind-blowing in its grim clarity. Once people absorb these truths, they can never go back to believing that things will ever be like they used to be. Like a visionary prophet, Orbán sees the Geopolitical Plan in all its malicious glory: The debasement of Old Europe (especially Germany and France); the rise of the Polish-Lithuanian-Ukrainian Reich; a series of endless wars; the Carthage-like destruction of Russia; and the final closing of that Seventh Door of the Castle.

Thus, let us examine, one by one, the doors of this dreadful castle that Bluebeard aka Uncle Sam is building for his new wives:

Door #1: Energy Independence sans Russia

For starters, we need to stop dismissing the Americans as just dummies under the thumb of their senile Emperor Caesar Dementius. Nor are the Europeans themselves total morons. There are some brains out there who have actually thought this whole thing through; and not all of their ideas are bad either. Let’s start with their project to keep Europe supplied with non-Russian gas, hopefully at reasonable prices. To help explain what is going on, I have this analytical piece by reporter Sergei Savchuk:

Spring has barely sprung, but Europe is already busily preparing for the following winter. Brussels has already published its decree whereby all the energy companies working in the EU space must submit their data into a single data clearinghouse; communicating what exactly will be their volumes of natural gas needed for the upcoming winter. The time has passed when each nation will struggle on its own, trying to find a deal on the spot-market. From now on, a centralized purchasing agency will do all the buying for everyone. This mechanism goes by the name AggregateEU. It will operate with transparency and publish all data except for truly national or commercial secrets; this way everybody can see what everybody else is paying for gas.

Béla Bartók, a mad genius

So far so good. Private gas traders and brokers have until May 2 to present the requested data, with a list of their needs. And then the buying and selling process will begin. The hope is that centralized purchasing will result in much lower prices for everybody, because they can trade in volume; and because everyone can see what the bidding prices are. Gas producers are expected to compete eagerly for the business; and the buyers can pick and choose which vendors they like.

Recall that the United States has pounded into the heads of European businessmen, that long-term contracts with Russia are just horrible, they go against all the principles of the free market and lead to dependence on a monopoly. Europe harkened to these ideological talking points and cut itself off from cheap gas coming out of the Russian pipeline. Replacing it with more expensive LNG from the spot market.

But currently the main task of the Europeans is to make sure their underground reservoirs have an adequate supply at least by September. Not yet having this centralized purchasing plan in place, gas traders are just buying whatever they can get, at whatever prices. The main suppliers, Norway and the U.S. are raking in record profits.

For example, at the beginning of March, America’s Deputy Energy Minister David Turk uttered the following: Europe lucked out this past winter, the weather was unusually mild, that helped them get through the season without Russian gas. But next winter might be tougher. The hint was very broad: Buy what you can now, at whatever price we ask. Otherwise you might freeze in a few months.

Of course, by this time next year, Europe should be in better shape, with the centralized purchasing plan in place. But there are still a lot of questions, and a lot of issues that have yet to be addressed. For example, how will collective purchasing work if the value of the product varies from country to country? Different nations have different budgets, and production costs also vary. For example, in Hungary natural gas costs 2 cents for one kilowatt-hour. In Lithuania the number is 11 cents; and in Sweden 22 cents. Your average Hungarian consumer will pay 9 cents for 1 kilowatt-hour; a Frenchman 26 cents; and an Irishman 49 cents. How do the bureaucrats plan to factor in these differences when formulating tariffs? While also factoring in inflation, etc.

Different countries also need different amounts. For example, Germany needs 96 billion cubic meters per year; but Czech Republic only needs 9 billion. And so on. Nobody has figured out all these details just yet.

As for Russia: She already accepted the fact that the divorce with Europe is final. And none of these machinations will really affect the Russian economy that much. So is allowed to just sit back and watch bemusedly while the Europeans struggle to to restructure their energy needs.

Next: The German-Lithuanian military threat. Russia can live without European customers. But can it survive a series of endless wars?

[to be continued]

This entry was posted in Economics, Military and War and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Ukraine War Day #430: The Doors Of the Castle – Part I

  1. raccoonburbleca says:

    Reblogged this on Adults in Charge and commented:
    Yes, here is something very rebloggable, from my electronic ally, Yalensis. I wonder if I can find a good video, subtitled, of this opera “bluebeard’s castle.”

    A big theme of my own writing is people’s compulsion to self destruct under the influence of psychopaths.

    I await the second half of this, probably reblog it as well.


    • yalensis says:

      Thanks, Raccoon, I appreciate your reblogging of my piece.

      Now, as to this opera, it is very rarely performed, and the version that I saw was a very good one at the Metropolitan Opera. It starred Russian bass Evgeny Nikitin who put out an amazing performance as Bluebeard. (Singing in Hungarian too!)
      This was pre-war, when Russian singers were still allowed to perform at the Met. The LOL is that Nikitin was, around that same time, banned from singing in Germany because of his Nazi tattoos; yep, he’s a real live Russian Nazi! Which makes him perfect for the role of Bluebeard. Although he tried to claim later that his swastika tattoo was just an act of misguided youth when he was only 15.

      Anyhow, I don’t know how you can view the opera online unless you subscribe to the Met’s website, in which case you can watch all their repertory on your computer. I used to subscribe and watch their old repertory all the time. But then, after the war started and they banned Russian singers and Peter Gelb came out in support of Ukraine, and they did this really nauseating “Evening for Ukraine” gala, I cancelled my subscription. As an act of boycott and protest; which I am sure they never even noticed!


  2. “So, why did I not pick a more American kind of analogy?”

    Because most people aren’t American and most people know the Bluebeard story, and also because you’re good enough to realise this?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Liborio Guaso says:

    Russia loses nothing without Europe.
    It must be borne in mind that Russia did not participate in any of the great crimes that served as the foundation of Western civilization, from the papal struggles and the crusades to the present day, and that left hundreds if not millions of millions dead in two millennia across the planet.
    That gives the Russians a very important moral advantage, no people in the world can say that it was invaded and colonized by Russia, killing its population and stealing its wealth.


    • Beluga says:

      Hardly the case.

      I had a roomie at college, the already born son of Hungarians who escaped in 1956 to Canada. I had a Czech classmate later on in 1968 in Canada who had managed to exit Prague. There were revolutions in those two countries in the years I mention. I personally travelled by car in East Germany on route from Hamburg to West Berlin in 1980, and back. I guess all those Soviet Red Army soldiers and their base easily observable from the highway we saw outside near Berlin were just ghosts. Or tourists.

      There was a reason it was called the Iron Curtain, and most of the countries in it had not fought the Soviet Union in WW2, but were taken over anyway. As buffer states against the West, and against their will. So, yes, they were invaded, unless my understanding of English is incorrect.

      So this aura of innocence you project about some blameless Russia/Soviet Union is feeble. Did Czechoslovakia or Hungary ask to be invaded and turned into puppet states for 45 years?

      The answer is obvious.

      Liked by 1 person

      • yalensis says:

        That’s different. The Soviet bloc countries were not economically colonized in the same way as, say, Africa. Due to the fact that it is not physically possible for a socialist-based country to act in the same way as a capitalist-imperialist based metropolis.
        It’s true that they were cynically converted into a military buffer zone. And mostly against their will, although in the case of Czechoslovakia there was actually a vibrant Communist Party which enjoyed significant support among the proletariat.
        Although that was Stalin and Communism and so on, I can’t help but wonder whether Capitalist Putin will be forced to do the same thing after this war; namely build a buffer zone of sometimes disgruntled and resentful countries. He has to place Russian needs first (just like Stalin had to place Soviet needs first), even if, say the Lithuanians beg to disagree. Hey, it’s Realpolitik out there.


        • Liborio Guaso says:

          The western trick has always been threats, the economic power inherited from the Second World War allowed them to put pressure on small players until they subjugated them and create an apparent political majority in their favor, today the economic and military conditions are different and the results for his method are doubtful.
          The cases of Hungary and Czechoslovakia were the first cases of attempted Color Revolution and with the security of the system at stake, the USSR had to intervene, this was not the result of having a colonialist vocation.
          In politics there are things that seem the same but when you look closely they are different and the possibility of confusing has always been very well exploited by the West.
          It happens like the military operation in Ukraine, it was carried out or it was sin of fools.


          • yalensis says:

            “In politics there are things that seem the same but when you look closely they are different…” That’s a very good point. True analysis consists of seeing beneath surface similarities, to differences in actual essences. This is where Marxist method comes in useful: it teaches to first look at economic and class forces at work, as opposed to getting stuck on less important factors and superficial behavioral similarities. It’s like the classic Greek philosophers joke about “Humans are the same as birds because we walk on two feet!”

            The modern equivalent being: “Russians invaded a neighboring country, therefore they are the same as Nazis.”


  4. S Brennan says:

    As to the plan being some well thought out scheme? To quote the great bard “too clever by half”. Indeed.

    And the people, the people of Europe, of Russia, of Ukraine…of the US? They have no say in the matter, indeed, they have not been INFORMED..nor will they. Any person willing to tell truths has been spirited away. Any person willing to legally act on truths has been deposed.

    We are entering a very dark age where the 3LAs, the steely mechanical hand of elitists economic interests, rule openly and…unquestioned. That is until western society fails again. And again, it’s the usual suspects..venality, ineptitude and insatiable greed.

    Not much of a plot line if you ask me, it’s shopworn and except for the climatic ending, a bit of a bore.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Liborio Guaso says:

      In the differences in the price ratio per KW, it can only be thought that they are made taking into account how far the population of each country can be squeezed, that is why the West is going from bad to worse and the state of the economy is defined by how it increases the fortune of a privileged few.
      I recently read an article that defined that the worst thing we face is not social inequality but the inequality in opportunities that maintains the state of affairs.


  5. countrumford says:

    This is a very interesting blog


    • S Brennan says:


      Were the blog wildly popular, “influencers” would appear out of thin air to divert the conversations away from anything meaningful; instead conversations would be an equivalent of medieval times “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? “.

      …and I add, to my great delight, “influencers” have not shown their butt ugly face here….yet.


      • yalensis says:

        And that’s why I prefer to fly under the radar. Not just the influencers, I worry sometimes about actually being arrested, or something like that…
        I think what saves me is that I am not monetized, and I have relative few (but very excellent!) readers.


    • yalensis says:

      Thanks, countrumford!


  6. countrumford says:

    This cleaving off old Europe from Russia is addressed by Michael Hudson. He sees the war as USA against Germany.

    President Biden’s spokesperson called the pipeline “Nordstroms” which is a high end department store.


  7. Daniel Rich says:

    As a businessman, you want to secure import lines, as best [and as much] as you can. Nobody really controls the economy, and nobody knows what tomorrow’s, next week’s or next year’s economy will look like. However, [in energy’s case], you have to be a complete idiot [and I’m being very polite here] to throw away cheap energy, so you can remain that trusty lapdog [aka the US’ bitch].


    • yalensis says:

      In a way, though, putting aside all the geopolitical stuff, if there were no Cold War going on, etc., then it might make sense to purchase needed supplies à la mode on the spot market, as opposed to multi-year contracts with a single supplier. Russian energy was cheap, but the Russian vendors also demanded long-term contracts. I reckon it just depends what your needs are. A big corporation might have long-term contracts with very reliable suppliers (as Russia was) for large products, but flexibility to pick and choose for smaller items. In any case, none of this is driven by real economics or needs of the purchasers, they are just being muscled into complete dependency on the U.S.


  8. Beluga says:

    Bartok was a nutter, but I like him. Darn fine pic, btw.

    Once again, an interesting take on what’s happening in Europe from a somewhat different angle. Just as I could not get my English friends a few years ago to realize Brexit was the same as kicking oneself in the goolies, the attitude of Europe to cut off long term cheap contracts for natural gas, oil and special low sulphur diesel from Russia is an act of pure idiocy. And everywhere except France has US military base(s) on their soil. Why Euro-politicians take orders from Washington, barring Orban who ex-pat Hungarians do not like at all, let me tell you, regarding him as a right wing autocrat, is beyond my ken. Suicide is what Europe faces, and they seem belligerently happy to continue on a path to self-ruin.

    Larry Johnson’s blog, which I personally can only take in fits and starts, has a great article by a sane Pole today:

    Imagine a world where Trump and Orban make more sense than progressives, or the excuses for dumbbells who call themselves progressives these days. I was always left of progressives, a social democrat of the old school, but didn’t “mind” progressives too much. Now, they’re war hawks and I hate their guts. As for the far right, I have no time for them whatsover, except for the occasional policy as Trump and Orban now seem to evince on Russia.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yalensis says:

      Thanks, Beluga! I am very keen on Bartók. I searched the internet to find a photo of him that expresses how intense his music is.
      As for Orbán, this is a very smart European politician who can see through American B.S. This is why their media demonize him and decide he is an autocrat, fascist, etc.

      It’s interesting what you say about the “progressives”. I am obviously quite to the left of that, an actual socialist. And yet we live in a world where people of my ilk can find more common ground with the Trumps and Orbáns than the so-called liberals or progressives. Actual there is ZERO common ground with the so-called “progressives”, they are just raw war-whores.

      I think the main reason for this topsy-turvy world being that the American Democratic Party is the source of most of the evil in the world, they are owned lock stock and barrel by international Finance Capital. Then they set up phony “lefty” wings of the Party to sheep-herd the restless masses back into their bowels. Their main agenda being world domination and getting all the money for themselves. And they own all the international institutions as well, not to mention most of the politicians in Europe and other places.


  9. Australian lady says:

    Old Europe-New Europe.
    On the eve of the Iraq war, in early 2003, the then Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, made reference to “Old versus New Europe”, and it became one of his infamous quotes, much more ominous than the somewhat whimsical “known unknowns”.
    It rattled me then…I mean, just what is this sinister personage hinting at? And now 20 years later, I can begin to see the outlines of a diabolical plan. The Rumsfeld-Cebrowski- Wolfowitz-Bush doctrine continues apace.
    These people are complete losers. Decency must prevail. For us ordinary people, patience is indeed a virtue.
    Here are 3 references from early 2003, from U.S., British and German sources. The comparisons are interesting.


    • yalensis says:

      Thanks for that research, Australian Lady. I think you hit the nail on the head, this “diabolical plan” has been in action for many years. It is noteworthy that “Old Europe” with all its colonialist experience, had some rational reservations about the Americans neocons with their rash new crusade against the Arab world and the Muslim civilizational sphere. So, Americans started to rely on help from “New Europe” such as Poland, Ukraine and the Baltics.

      I think the plan, back in those days, was to conquer the Arab world first, and then move on to Persia, the Caucasus, bring Russia down (of course, that goes without saying), and then China. They actually had a list, and they were going to destroy nations in a certain order. Things didn’t work out exactly as they planned, so they had to start improvising a bit. But the plan itself never changed.


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