View Full Version : Dick Cheney: "I'm a travellin' man....."

Good Doctor HST
05-05-2006, 10:05 AM
Story from today's AP

ASTANA, Kazakhstan

- Vice President Dick Cheney traveled to Kazakhstan on Friday for talks with President Nursultan Nazarbayev, seeking to maximize access to the vast oil and gas reserves in the central Asian nation with a troubled human-rights record.
Cheney became the fourth top administration official to visit the former Soviet republic in recent months, underscoring the importance placed on a country that is strategically located and an ally in the war on terror, as well as rich in energy resources.

Administration policy favors development of multiple means of delivering Kazakhstan’s energy supplies to markets in the West and elsewhere.

Among them, Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher told Congress recently, the United States is “working on securing the flow of oil” from North Caspian oil fields by tanker to a pipeline terminus in Azerbaijan. That route would bypass Russia and Iran. There has also been periodic talk of building a pipeline under the Caspian Sea.

Rights record ‘remains poor’
Energy aside, one senior administration official said the vice president would prod Nazarbayev to make further democratic reforms in the country he has ruled since the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991.

“The government’s human-rights record remains poor,” according to a recent State Department report.

It was unclear how Cheney would attempt to balance the two concerns — American energy needs in a time of high prices alongside a desire for political reforms. His talks came one day after a speech to East European leaders in Lithuania that sharply criticized Russia for backsliding on democracy.

One senior administration official traveling with Cheney said the remarks, which drew quick criticism from Moscow, had been “very well vetted” in advance within the administration.

Officials disclosed belatedly that while in Lithuania to attend a meeting of eastern European leaders, Cheney had met Thursday afternoon with Inna Kulei, the wife of the jailed Belarusian opposition leader, Alexander Milinkevich.

Meanwhile, a private group said Kazakh authorities on Friday barred an opposition leader from traveling to the capital Astana for a meeting with Cheney.

Police refused to grant Galymzhan Zhakiyanov permission to leave his home city, the commercial capital Almaty, the For a Fair Kazakhstan Alliance said in a statement. Zhakiyanov and other leaders of the alliance were invited to meet with Cheney in Astana on Saturday.

Last month, Zhakiyanov and another opposition leader, Bolat Abilov, were barred from leaving the country for meetings with European officials. Sentenced to seven years in prison for abuse of office, Zhakiyanov was considered the Central Asian nation’s highest-profile political prisoner before his early release in January.

Earlier visits
The vice president’s stop in Kazakhstan followed visits in recent months by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns and Samuel Bodman, secretary of energy.

According to the Web site of the U.S.-Kazakhstan Business Association, the Asian country has potential oil reserves of as much 110 billion barrels.

American energy companies are heavily invested in that nation’s oil industry, and Halliburton, the company Cheney ran before becoming vice president, has an oil-field services presence there.

“Kazakhstan, an economic success story, is rapidly becoming one of the top energy producing nations in the world,” Boucher told a House committee on April 26.

Along with its economic reforms, Boucher said, the nation “has an opportunity to achieve stability by upholding standards of democracy and human rights.”

Nazarbayev has ruled the country, which shares borders with China and Russia, since the Soviet Union broke up, and recently was elected to what he has said will be his last term. The elections have been criticized for failing to meet international standards, but administration reaction has been muted. One official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told reporters that the “trend, even though it’s not as fast as we would like, is in the right direction.”

Still, an opposition leader, Altynbek Sarsenbayev, was killed earlier this year, prompting protests.

The vice president concludes a three-nation trip with a weekend visit to Croatia and is scheduled to return home Monday.

© 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Good Doctor HST
05-05-2006, 10:10 AM
From George Bush's State of The Union address (2006):

Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology. Since 2001, we have spent nearly $10 billion to develop cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable alternative energy sources -- and we are on the threshold of incredible advances.

So tonight, I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative -- a 22-percent increase in clean-energy research -- at the Department of Energy, to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants, revolutionary solar and wind technologies, and clean, safe nuclear energy.

We must also change how we power our automobiles. We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars, and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen. We'll also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn, but from wood chips and stalks, or switch grass. Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years. Breakthroughs on this and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. By applying the talent and technology of America, this country can dramatically improve our environment, move beyond a petroleum-based economy, and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past.