Wednesday, August 30, 2017

For Russia, an Opportunity in US Sanctions

By Ekaterina Zolotova Aug 29, 2017

The standoff between the West and Russia got more complicated when Washington imposed new sanctions against Moscow. The Europeans were quick to criticize the sanctions. Germany’s foreign minister raised concerns about U.S. intentions, France questioned the sanctions’ legality, and the European Commission president made threats that he later had to walk back. Suddenly, to the Kremlin, the sanctions looked less like a setback and more like an opportunity. If Russia can play the victim, it may be able to drive a wedge between the U.S. and the EU, more sympathetic as Brussels may prove to be.

There’s just one problem: Sanctions are just one way the U.S. is pushing back against Russia.

Russia has long been a major supplier to the European energy market. Put another way, Russia’s economy depends on its sales to Europe’s energy market. So Moscow took notice when recently the U.S. delivered its first shipment of liquefied natural gas to Lithuania, a country that at its nearest point is just more than 400 miles (650 kilometers) from Moscow. In fact, U.S. natural gas shipments have been appearing all over Europe lately in the wake of the American shale gas boom. This is the sort of encroachment that Russia is compelled to respond to. The challenge for Moscow is to do so without appearing threatening to Europe and thus pushing it closer to the United States. One place it might be able to do that is the Caucasus, specifically around Georgia and its breakaway republics, the very place where Russia announced its return to history in 2008............  For Russia, an Opportunity in US Sanctions appeared first on Geopolitics | Geopolitical Futures.

My Take - It's going to take the world a few more months to grasp the importance fracking in the U.S. is going to play in the world's geopolitics - and maybe the U.S. Congress a bit longer - but that day is coming - just as soon as the 2018 election blood bath is over.  As for Russia and Putin - they get it already, and Putin is doing what he's doing in order to just survive.  But he and Russia are toast as a world power.  He'll continue playing with the little kids in the Middle East as the big bully on the block - but that's about it - and they're toast also, and we can thank fracking for that. 


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