What does the USA want from Bulgaria?

/KROSS/ Two significant events marked the beginning of the pre-election campaign in our country, although masked behind external protocol. The first was the visit to Sofia of former US Secretary of State Michael (Mike) Pompeo. And the second – the visit of Ambassador Jim O’Brien, head of the office for coordinating American sanctions in the State Department. Pompeo’s Bulgarian business trip was related to gas diversification. And Mr. O’Brien’s task was to ask us what the hell we were doing about another touchy subject – anti-corruption. Behind these apparently logical American interests, a rather serious shift in the political strata is peeking out in our country. And a pre-election reminder from the Americans that the political factors in our country have commitments that they must fulfill.

Mike Pompeo

Pompeo is no longer part of the presidential administration in the United States, but it is no secret that American foreign policy does not change, regardless of who is in charge of the White House. Former secretaries of state and even former presidents often “descend” to missions that are important to Uncle Sam and not decided at the “ambassador” level. At the same time, officials of Pompeo’s rank travel on overseas assignments when they require more delicacy, that is, not so directly tying the US state. So what was Mike Pompeo’s mission in our country?

Bulgaria can become an energy center of Southeast Europe, said the former US Secretary of State in a diplomatic language at a lecture in Sofia. It is also clear to the children that this cannot be done – we do not have the necessary infrastructure, and the mythical interconnector with Greece cannot fully cover even our internal needs. We don’t have our own liquefied gas terminal either, but only 20% of the shares in the Greek city of Alexandroupolis.

We also have a single gas storage facility in Chiren, and while the former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov talked sweetly about an energy “cube”, countries from our region such as Serbia and Hungary built one or two new, modern gas storage facilities each. They even filled them. Mr. Pompeo is acutely aware that Bulgaria is lagging behind in gas diversification and remains highly dependent on Russia, despite the youthful talk of former prime ministers Borisov and Petkov about how we should break with the bad Gazprom forever. In his lecture, in fact, he delicately reminded the future rulers that the US will intensify its pressure for our country to accept more and more supplies of liquefied blue fuel by tankers – gas from the States and from other countries. And something else, the former secretary of state told us very clearly. Washington will strengthen its lobby in our country for the extraction of shale gas from our Bulgarian fields with the controversial fracking technology, which makes the ecologists’ hair stand on end.

“Fracking technology for shale gas extraction is much cleaner than Russian natural gas. Don’t let a handful of ill-informed activists using non-fact-based arguments destroy your future”Mike Pompeo said.

Fracking for gas extraction is extremely safe, he added. “The United States will help Bulgaria. The best American companies will come to help and teach your country to develop these resources. The answer to your energy independence is not abroad, but here, including through the potential of shale gas extraction.” said the former secretary of state. “It is necessary that local extraction of natural gas be an integral part of Bulgaria’s strategy for energy security and independence, especially in times of high energy prices, which negatively affect consumers,” he added.

When shale gas extraction started in the US, there were also rumors that it would lead to earthquakes, fires, water poisoning, natural disasters. This was promoted by leftists who had no interest in the US using such fossil fuels. America, however, referred to facts and science to explain to people how gas is extracted through fracking, Pompeo also shared. Shortly after, Pompeo met with the head of “Overgaz” Sasho Donchev and even gave an interview for his publication. By the way, the American politician and former head of the CIA Pompeo is the chairman of the advisory board of Linden Energy Ltd, which acquired 50% in “Overgas Inc.” Pompeo did not meet with politicians. His refusal to talk to party leaders, at least publicly, is understandable.

Our country is on an election campaign and there is no foreign envoy who will commit image suicide by talking to this or that. In the headquarters of the leading parties in our country, however, it is said quietly that Pompeo has clearly conveyed what the White House thinks about the situation in our country. The American administration is definitely not satisfied with the cabinet because of its flirting with Gazprom. That is why the new boss of “Bulgargaz”, appointed with a word of praise from the caretaker government, jumped to the embrasure to explain that “Bulgargaz” is not conducting any negotiations with “Gazprom”.

She made the urgent statement after a nervous meeting in Galab Donev’s office, “Gallery” learned. At the song in question, it was decided that Zlateva should fix things with the American partners, so that the ministers do not enter explanatory mode. According to our sources, “Continuing the Change” have also received a yellow card from Washington. There are two reasons – the first is that our country continues to buy Russian gas, but through intermediaries. And the second – our hesitant support for Ukraine and timid arms supplies to the belligerent country, which also happen through intermediaries.

At a public lecture in Sofia, Pompeo also officially stated that “Bulgaria will have the obligation and the privilege to help rebuild Ukraine after the end of this conflict.” The unspoken truth is that the US still insists on donating some of its old Soviet military equipment to Kyiv. We are pulling back because we don’t want to further worsen relations with Russia. And there is nothing to replace either the old Soviet T-72 tanks or the S-300 anti-aircraft system.

Contrary to the interpretations of some analysts, the Americans’ yellow card against Harvard does not mean that the trust in them has been removed. On the contrary, the States have serious geopolitical interests in our country and are ready to give the “Change” a second chance. The conditions were already unequivocally stated – complete breaking of energy dependence on Russia, purchase of American liquefied gas, development of own deposits and a more categorical position on the situation in Ukraine. The former secretary of state also spoke about the “Magnitsky” case, stating that this was not an imposition of morality, but a very serious measure based on hard evidence.

By which he proved that his visa was in perfect agreement with that of Jim O’Brien. Until recently, the unknown politician in our country is actually one of the most serious factors in the USA. He is the person who has the say on which entity the US will impose sanctions on. Whether it is countries like Iran, Russia, and North Korea, or prominent figures like Russian oligarchs and politicians.

O’Brien met with President Rumen Radev and representatives of the caretaker government, after which only protocol messages from the relevant press offices followed. The truth is that he did not fly across the ocean just to take pictures with Bulgarian politicians. Such visits usually involve “difficult conversations” behind closed doors, where the issues are put face to face. And the question in our country is obvious – why is there no high-ranking state official or prominent politician who has been convicted of corruption. No wonder Jim O’Brien delicately reminded the Bulgarian side to do its job, so that the American state does not have to open the folders in which it keeps the evidence of new sanctions under the “Magnitsky” law. That’s just how American diplomacy works. If it can’t be done with good, it will be done the hard way.

Source: in. Gallery/Konstantin Karaliyski

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