Putin Invades Alaska

Apparently, while Alaska’s eagle-eyed governor has been traipsing about the lower 48 inciting lynch mobs, the Russians have invaded Alaska.

OAO Gazprom offered to help Alaska develop its natural resources, as Russia’s largest energy producer seeks to expand into the U.S. amid the worst chill in relations since the Cold War.

State-run Gazprom sent eight senior executives to Anchorage for talks yesterday with Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources and ConocoPhillips Chief Executive Officer Jim Mulva, state and company officials said.

Gazprom, which already supplies a quarter of Europe’s natural gas, is seeking to increase its reach with projects around the world, including in North America. The courtship of Alaska comes three weeks before the U.S. presidential election, in which Russia’s resurgence has become a campaign issue.

"The timing is as interesting as the visit itself,” said Chris Weafer, chief strategist at UralSib Financial Corp. in Moscow.

Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska and Republican candidate for vice president, has criticized Prime Minister Vladimir Putin for "rearing his head” over Russia’s sea border with her home state. Relations between the countries hit a low after Russia routed U.S. ally Georgia in a five-day war in August.

"Gazprom’s entire senior management goes into Sarah Palin’s backyard during a contentious election,” Weafer said. "There’s a message there.”[my emphasis]

Actually, I think one of two things is going on. Vote for which you think it is–or give your own explanation in the comments.

It’s possible that Vladimir Putin took one look into Sarah Palin’s eyes (between winks, of course) and saw they were soulmates: authoritarian, vindictive, and power hungry. So he decided Alaska was a place he wanted to be. (Plus, Putin’s been known to be impulsive when it comes to beautiful women.)

More likely, he saw Sarah Palin as an easy mark, and thought it’d be fun to fuck with Palin’s bid to be Vice President.

Update: Looks like the answer’s B! Putin snuck into Alaska and negotiated with Palin’s direct appointees without Palin knowing about it. 

Palin has argued that her state’s proximity to Russia, as well as trade missions between the between Alaska and Russia, have helped give her the foreign policy experience necessary to be Vice President. But the campaign said the governor did not know that the Gazprom delegation was meeting with the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, who is a Palin appointee. [my emphasis]

 Ut oh. I guess Putin found the weak point in our defenses…

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  1. dakine01 says:

    I vote B with a sprinkling of A on top (at least the Putin being impulsive with women aspect – called Little Head thinking)

  2. Neil says:

    Putin’s Gazprom foray into Alaska does pose some problems and problematic choices, such as who’s guarding the air space while Palin is comparing Obama to terrorists, whether to do business with Russia, how not doing business with Russia could impact her reputation as a competent resource manager. I’d say Putin had many reasons to make the move, not the least of which is to exert some influence in our backyard with so little risk, there. You think they called the state department to let them know they were coming?

  3. drational says:

    Hmmm Putin and Palin; Reminds me of the Ali G interview with Newt Gingrich

    Ali G: [On a woman President] Ain’t You worried that the whole cabinet would be like Brad Pitt on defense and George Clooney on ‘ealth- you know, cuz him from ER? You know, and yous just got like all these other good looking geezers, and King Dong in the background.

    Newt: We’ve already been through it before. As I said, Margaret Thatcher was probably one of the three best Prime Ministers of the 20th Century.

    Ali G: But wouldn’t there be a danger that they’d like fall in love with someone bad like Saddam Hussein?

    Newt: No more than there is for a man.

    Ali G: Yeah, but women, they love bastards…..

  4. Minnesotachuck says:

    My vote is for Reason B, but not because Putin just wants to have some fun. He reasons that by embarrassing the GOP ticket in its own back yard he’ll influence the election toward Obama. He would rather have a rational person in the White House than an impulsive, aging loose cannon on whom the actuarial odds are 20% or more that he’ll croak in office and be replaced by a VP even less tightly tethered to the deck. He may also think that he will be able to push Obama around, but I suspect he’ll be wrong on that. The GOP will no doubt push this meme in the remaining campaign, however.

    • emptywheel says:

      Dunno if I agree that Putin thinks he can push Obama around. I think he sees the reaction to Georgia clearly–and knows that McCain will fly off the handle, and therefore push to hot war.

      But at the same time, I think Putin appreciates Obama for the strategist he is. You don’t beat Hillary and (fingers crossed) the GOP money machine without playing chess rather than checkers.

      • Minnesotachuck says:

        I’m not sure I “agree with myself” either, but on the other hand foreign leaders have a long history of misunderstanding the innards of American politics. Khrushchev thought he could push Kennedy around at Vienna during the Berlin crisis in September, 1961, and for a time appeared to succeed. One year later, however, the Kennedy brothers had the coolest heads in the room during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I emphatically agree with your point that Obama’s handling of his presidential campaign has been masterful.

        • james says:

          Great book on the back channel communications between Khrushchev and JFK: JFK and the Unspeakable by James W. Douglass. Excellent book with many new insights into Kenedy’s foreign policies and his murder. Extensive discussions on JFK/Khrushchev collaboration seeking to end the cold war.

  5. Loo Hoo. says:

    Hey, Putin’s got a great sense of humor! Sarah better skedaddle back and take care of business. He’s rearing his head!

  6. radiofreewill says:

    The ‘Right Stuff’ – in men and women – clothed in conscious reserve proves to be durably irresistable, and respectable, at the same time.

    Sex-Appeal on display, however, gets old quick.

  7. james says:

    I go with option B because Putin and Gazprom know that the GOP will go for the dollar (or ruble) first and the country’s economic and national security second.

  8. JimWhite says:

    Shock therapy prescribed for Cheney:

    Vice President Dick Cheney will visit George Washington University Hospital on Wednesday after doctors discovered a recurrence of an abnormal heart rhythm, his spokeswoman said in a written statement.
    /snip/
    Cheney also experienced an abnormal rhythm in the upper chambers of his heart November 26. His normal heart rhythm was restored through a procedure called cardioversion, which uses an electrical impulse.

  9. pajarito says:

    The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming!!!
    (Que clip of Alan Arkin in the movie, 1966)

    Quick, call out the AIP. Alaska sovereignty is at stake!!!

  10. brendanx says:

    More likely, he saw Sarah Palin as an easy mark, and thought it’d be fun to fuck with Palin’s bid to be Vice President.

    Not out of a sense of fun. A need to communicate a forceful message to a party that started a war to benefit its candidate. From the wryly funny Putin interview bmaz linked to:

    I have said to you that if the presence of U.S. citizens in the zone of hostilities is confirmed, it would mean only one thing: that they could be there only at the direct instruction of their leaders. And if that is so, it means that in the combat zone there are U.S. citizens who are fulfilling their duties there. They can only do that under orders from their superiors, not on their own initiative.

    Ordinary specialists, even if they train military personnel, must do it in training centers or on training grounds rather than in a combat zone.

    I repeat: This requires further confirmation. I am quoting to you the reports of our military. Of course, I will seek further evidence from them.

    Why are you surprised at my hypothesis, after all? There are problems in the Middle East; reconciliation there is elusive. In Afghanistan, things are not getting any better; what is more, the Taliban have launched a fall offensive, and dozens of NATO servicemen are being killed.

    In Iraq, after the euphoria of the first victories, there are problems everywhere, and the number of those killed has reached 4,000.

    There are problems in the economy, as we know only too well. There are financial problems, the mortgage crisis. Even we are concerned about it, and we want it to end soon, but it is there.

    A little victorious war is needed. And if it doesn’t work, then one can lay the blame on us, use us to create an enemy image, and against the backdrop of this kind of jingoism once again rally the country around certain political forces.

    I am surprised that you are surprised at what I’m saying. It’s as clear as day.

    • bluebutterfly says:

      I agree with you. Pravada has had some scathing articles about Palin. She is viewed as a joke; not the next VP.

      Pravda had an article on 08.10.2008 that is worth a read. ‘Embargo Russia? America Had Best Get A clue’

  11. Ishmael says:

    I suspect that the Gazprom initiative is linked to the invisible $40 billion Nowhere Pipeline that Sarah claims to have built with her bare hands and unrivalled energy knowledge. Seriously, the pipeline is going nowhere unless Alaska can get the energy majors to play ball, which is one of the reasons Sarah and Alaska gave Trans Canada Pipelines $400 million in seed money. Perhaps bringing Gazprom to the table is another step in that diversification strategy, and a way to find common ground with Exxon et al?

  12. scribe says:

    At the risk of getting slapped down, I note that outtakes and stills of the Larry Flynt-produced Palin biopic are posted on line (they’re easy to find, so I won’t put up a link). Having stopped by there for a look, I noted two things immediately: (1) the lead actress bears a striking resemblence to Mrs. Palin, and (2) some of the male actors are wearing Russian (actually Soviet) Army uniform jackets.

    Draw your own conclusions….

  13. emptywheel says:

    Added this update to the post:

    Looks like the answer’s B! Putin snuck into Alaska and negotiated with Palin’s direct appointees without Palin knowing about it.

    Palin has argued that her state’s proximity to Russia, as well as trade missions between the between Alaska and Russia, have helped give her the foreign policy experience necessary to be Vice President. But the campaign said the governor did not know that the Gazprom delegation was meeting with the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, who is a Palin appointee. [my emphasis]

    • Neil says:

      Who’s the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, that Palin appointee, there? A real maverick for sure there bringing the message of change. Insubordination, you say? If so, get Todd right on that there. If he should have his hands full with Troopergate, then maybe Bristol or Piper could add that to their portfolio. They are real mavericks too, to that America here, no they wont be pallin’ around with Russians or terrorists, here or there. No, they are real Americans bringing the message of change.

      Palin Cartoon

      • LabDancer says:

        Is it her former high school classmate who was appointed because she’s kinda all’ays liked cows?

        Seriously folks – as we’ve come to know by now, half the oil bid’ness is goin’ out an’ findin’ it an’ puttin’ a straw inta th’ groun an’ suckin’ it all outta there – and the other half is keepin’ tabs on ever’ one else who’s got hisself a drill crew and a place to put it.

        Finally, I’d like to know what yesterday’s election results in Canada means for the prospects of a pipeline from the folks wastin’ away in Wasillaville into the lower 48 – seein’ theres a punch of hundreds of miles of Canada sittin’ between the two.

  14. JohnJ says:

    I always thought that Putin was our one hope of publicly making a fool of the dumb-as-a-turd-in-chief. I suspect that he was either too busy with his own work or he knew how dangerous the BigDick really was.

    • bluebutterfly says:

      Putin is … he is making trade agreements in many countries…While Bush sends men and women to fight and die for oil; Putin signs agreements.

      You just don’t read about it in the US.

      For example Russia and China are aligned..especially in trade with Iran. If either Israel or the US attacks Iran, Russia and China are going to get involved fast. Why would they not? All we hear is threats against Iran which I find rather ignorant and unwise.

    • bluebutterfly says:

      Helen is soooo on target. I want to reach her age and be as astute and outspoken as she is. We need a million more just like her!

  15. freepatriot says:

    putin was just being neighborly

    he can see princess palin’s porch from the Kremlin, you know

    and with all the reports about princess palin’s new house being built by crooked contractors, Putin realized the he forgot to get the palins a house warming gift

    so Putin did the right thing, brought a whole pot of Russian moose grease stew AND some Russian bread

    he even brought a box of todd’s favorite wine …

  16. freepatriot says:

    wolfie is gonna ask donald trump if trump trusts princess pandora to be vice presnit

    millions of Americans have seen trump fire women who were WAAAAAAY smarter than princess pandora

    the answer is gonna reveal a lot more about trump than it does about princess pandora

    think the donald is smart enough to realize that ???

    it’s called “self awareness, it’s a word, you could look it up …

  17. Blub says:

    Seward’s Folly in reverse… let’s sell Alaska and its governor to Putin for the estimated cost of the bailout/economic reconstruction. If Putin can’t afford such a high price, perhaps the Chinese would be willing to do a joint venture. :P.

      • Blub says:

        ‘cept I like the Taiwanese and wouldn’t want to turn them over to this empire or that one…. leave Taiwan alone. They’re delightful people with the misfortune of occupying an extremely lousy piece of real estate.

            • Raven says:

              Had a buddy that went to Cornell who had a friend there. They took us to this “cabaret” where these incredible women served the food (no hanky panky). Then, totally hammered, we went to a mineral bath somewhere in the boonies. There were blind girls there that were masseuses (Both Taiwan and Korea are famous for massage. The masseuses are blind so you can shamelessly get a full body massage.) The next night we went to downtown Taipei where we went to a little joint serving authentic Peking Duck. After dinner we played drinking rock, paper scissors with a bunch of Nat Chinese soldiers none of us speaking the others language. Oh yea, it was pretty there I think.

      • jayt says:

        Too bad she’s not behind bars.

        A little bartender chicanery, and she could end up in the alley behind at least one tonight.

        “That beer tastes like it has whiskey in it? Nah, that’s just the way beer tastes here in the Great Northwest….”

  18. nonplussed says:

    Yeah, you could get an Engineer’s Desktop Reference for $5.00 but it was printed on tissue paper. Any and every title was available, all on the same shitty paper stock and poor printing with the mispellings.