With Russia’s war on Ukraine, Europe has finally come to realise that it cannot depend on dictators or states which have no rule of law for its energy supplies. In recent years, bureaucrats, politicians and academics in Brussels and in our national governments have created nonsensical and irrational energy policies leading to today’s energy crisis: high energy bills and a dependence on a psychotic dictator to literally keep warm. Europe has finally realised, albeit a bit late that energy procurement is a strategic necessity that cannot be outsourced to your potential adversaries or nuclear-armed dictators. It’s like choosing to buy your main home in a place where you know that suddenly your property can be confiscated overnight by the government. No one would do that, in fact, rich people in dictatorial countries prefer to siphon their money out to jurisdictions with rule of law. The only reason why politicians were so reckless with energy policy is that it was simply not their money and they felt they could take bigger risks for the sake of their stupid ideas.
German politicians were eager to appease Putin and do deals with him in the name of their supposedly intelligent and grand European design of keeping the peace with Russia by trade and openness. At the same time that German politicians did deals with Putin, they preached to other Europeans the importance of going “green” which meant mostly “renewable sources” such as wind turbines, solar energy, hydroelectric etc… MEPs who had absolutely no clue about the world and no ability to view things critically, like Miriam Dalli, jumped on this bandwagon and brought it to Malta: the great new green deal where you can buy over-priced electric cars which are then charged through a grid that is powered by fossil fuels. The government will also subsidise your solar panels.
Miriam Dalli, our current energy minister, did what she could do best and it’s the same thing she did throughout her career as ONE propagandist: just go along with any cliche and propaganda which is the flavour of the time. The Germans are finally having their day of reckoning and at last, even re-thinking their position on nuclear power which is probably the only way we can get off fossil fuels. On the other hand, our politicians in Malta are still living in their rent-seeking bubble. Everything is normal in the Banana Republic. Recently, Miriam Dalli told us that we don’t have a problem with energy because Malta is not dependent on Russian gas. We buy it from Azerbaijan, Socar actually. The government still hasn’t told us from where will we start buying gas as of next month.
After coming out in strong defence of passport sales to Russian oligarchs, the Prime Minister and the Minister for Foreign Affairs have shown a complete detachment from what is going on in the world. And even though they were forced to halt the passport sales to Russian oligarchs by foreign authorities, they are now still defending the scheme leaving it open for other foreign nationals including the Chinese. Their recklessness will bring a high price to pay on our country and it is a reflection of how irresponsible and dangerous our leaders are. Thankfully, the European Parliament has begun the push to completely phase out such schemes and the Maltese government will eventually have to scrap it. The fact that we have to wait for our bigger cousins to inform us of our irresponsibility and to eventually force us to shut it down is embarrassing and very telling of our leaders’ sense of responsibility.
No rational and sane individual is under the illusion that China will respect international laws. Under Xi Jinping, China has embarked on a bellicose imperialist policy and like Russia, China too has explicitly said that it will not refrain from using force to pursue and safeguard its imperialist interests. It has used force already and very recently but lightly on the Indian border, it basically took over full control of Hong Kong and suppressed the opposition and is also threatening to take over Taiwan. Putin’s war on Ukraine has closed the era of diplomatic brinkmanship: it is time to take Xi Jinping seriously and believe every word the Chinese say both through official government channels and their online propagandists like Hu Xijin who feeds the foreign press with more aggressive versions of China’s imperialist policy. The Chinese have made it very clear to us what geopolitical ambitions they have: they want Taiwan, the South China Sea at the expense of neighbours like Thailand Vietnam and establish themselves as the main global superpower. Like Russia, they don’t want anyone to stop them and they don’t care what the people of Taiwan think about this: it’s going to be China’s way because they are an empire with nuclear weapons.
Europeans may argue, in a pseudo-intelligent and academic way, that we should not worry about China because it is miles away in contrast to Russia which is waging a war on our doorstep. The reality is that China’s and Russia’s interests are aligned and they are allies by default: both have imperial interests which are limited by Western power and both are challenging the West for this reason. Had Taiwan not armed itself and had the US as its committed ally, China would have no inhibition in occupying Taiwan as it did with Hong Kong. It is clearly evident what is stopping them. This leaves the West at a very clear crossroads as it is confronted with two belligerent nuclear states with expansionist and imperialist ambitions. We are already in a global set-up of strict geopolitical division: on one side there is the West which upholds rule of law and international laws while on the other side there are two warring nuclear states who are telling us explicitly that they will not respect international law and treaties and will even start wars if necessary to uphold their imperial interests. We should also question whether the endgame will be a total and global war. Then there is Iran, Venezuela and North Korea and even Saudi Arabia which may very well be on Russia and China’s side in this new global division.
Undoubtedly we are now more than ever understandable of the risks of dealing with China – not the Maltese government though. Malta is still selling passports to the Chinese). What is more problematic is that Enemalta is 49% owned by China in a deal that Konrad Mizzi made with Shanghai Electric. Back then even I thought it was a good idea, and this deal was hardly scrutinised. Later on, it was also overshadowed by corruption allegations. Basically, the Chinese government owns Malta’s heavy-fuel-oil power station at Delimara and 49% of Enemalta which still owns the electricity grid. The Maltese government has recently also announced it is working with Shanghai Electric to install wind turbines off Malta’ coast of Mellieħa. Making a mistake once can be excused by stupidity, making a mistake twice is nefarious.
Malta like all other European countries has to ensure to secure energy supplies while safeguarding its national interests and it won’t be doing this by outsourcing its strategic interests to the dictatorships on the other side of today’s geopolitical divide. This has got nothing to do with neutrality. Malta doesn’t need to take sides in wars, but rather take the side of the emerging common sense: strategic end energy deals with dictatorships should not be made, especially if they have nuclear weapons and harbour imperialist ambitions. Their allies and partners should be treated with the same suspicion. Malta should even start making preparations to buy back Shanghai’s Electric stake and sell it to a Western partner in order to reduce our security, strategic and economic risks.