Officials both in Europe and America, The Guardian reports, are convinced “that the Russians have infiltrated, or are helping to fund, NGOs campaigning in Europe against fracking and the proposed free trade agreement between the EU and the US”. The talk, apparently, among policymakers is of “Putin’s useful idiots” inadvertently giving succour to “slick Kremlin operations aimed at dividing and enfeebling Europe”.
As somebody who has written, both here and elsewhere, about TTIP, I am left wondering how idiotic I have been. I am opposed to the general thrust of the Transatlantic trade agreement because its benefits appear far fewer than the harms it may cause. I am also opposed to fracking, and for a similar reason: the benefits of extracting fuel from the ground are clearly offset by some serious drawbacks. In taking both these positions I am on the side of people everywhere, both those who want to make an honest living from their work and those wishing to avoid the worst effects of anthropogenic climate change. If that puts me on the side of Mr Putin, then whose side are those “officials” on? Continue reading »