At 2:00 am on 3 January 2006, the Financial Times web site published a commentary about the Russian-Ukrainian natural gas dispute titled The Kremlin tightens the energy screw.
Fascinating analysis that even mentions the related fact of Gerhard Schroder’s new job at Gazprom. Certainly worth a read! Here is a sample quote:
As a first step, Gerhard Schröder, the former German chancellor, should reconsider his decision to work for Gazprom as chairman of the planned Baltic Sea gas pipeline. He should not lend his name to such a blatant instrument of Russia’s political power.
Mr Putin values Russia’s presidency of the Group of Eight for the prestige it will bring Russia as chair of the global elite’s top club. He also wants to use Moscow’s presidency to address world energy policies. The EU, the US and Japan must tell Mr Putin that if he wants to keep his place among the world’s leaders he must start behaving like one.
As I read more of the 2,000+ (and counting) articles published about this story, I must admit that I am surprised by the way that most writers and even some quoted politicians are treating the fact that energy supplies are being used for political purposes. They act like it is “shocking” and something entirely new.
Serious energy commentators need to study history to find out that is is quite possible to propose and support the notion that struggles over access to reliable energy supplies DEFINES modern history, certainly history since the Industrial Age began. It has often been used as a bargaining chip or even a diplomatic club.
The British Empire was established partially to provide places to store coal for steam ships; Japan attacked Pearl Harbor (and Indonesia, nearly simultaneously) partially because America had cut off its access to oil, Iraq and Kuwait owe their existence and borders to British desires for oil, the US has tried to force North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions by supplying or not supplying oil, Patton claimed that he could have changed history if Eisenhower had let him have more gas, etc.
Maybe someday soon I will get around to cleaning up and posting some of the papers that I wrote for my Navy War College graduate work that earned me the class nickname of “Fuels”.