Russian Energy: Redrawing the World’s Geopolitical Map Friday, January 5, 2007 Like it or not, there is a new global power to reckon with: Russia is once again flexing its muscles with seeming impunity. Let the world beware. The mighty Russian bear is back, and energized as never before. Under President Vladimir Putin’s stewardship, Russia may now be more powerful than at any time it its history, including its peak during the Cold War. However, the West is only beginning to wake up to this new reality. World events will no longer be directed without Russia’s explicit approval. … Putin’s plan, according to analyst Jim Willie, editor of the Hat Trick Letter, is for “Russian companies to be made majority partners on any project on its soil, no exceptions.” Consequently, Russia is confiscating (or what amounts to confiscating) billions of dollars’ worth of foreign-built infrastructure and placing it under control of state-owned corporations. … Using similar tactics, it looks like Gazprom is also set to gain control of British Petroleum’s Kovykta gas field, which is the largest in Siberia. French energy company Total is now facing mysterious “back tax” bills. Exxon Mobil’s Sakhalin-1 project is rumored to be the next Kremlin target. … U.S. scholar Marshal Goldman says that “Russia is more powerful now than it ever was during the czarist era or the Soviet era. In the Soviet era there was mutually assured destruction. They had nuclear weapons. We had nuclear weapons. We didn’t use them, because we were worried they would and vice versa. Here you don’t have that kind of restraint” (MosNews.com, Dec. 8, 2006). As energy expert and author Micheal Klare says, “A new era, where energy has replaced nuclear weapons as the medium of superpower rivalry,” has already arrived. “Vladimir Putin believes that. … And he is moving to accumulate as much energy power as he can” (Associated Press, op. cit.).
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