Natural Gas as an Instrument of Russian State Power (Letort Paper)
ARMY WAR COLL STRATEGIC STUDIES INST CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
Pagination or Media Count:
The slow re-emergence of Russia as a world power despite its weak military force is of critical significance for the strategic interests of the United States in Europe. Since the Cold War, Russia has been perceived as a broken nation that no longer represents a threat to the North Atlantic Alliance. This monograph emphasizes that Russia overcame this major vulnerability by developing the capacity to use unilateral economic sanctions in the form of gas pricing and gas disruptions against many European NATO member states. It agrees with many scholars and politicians alike who fear that Russia will leverage its monopoly of natural gas to gain political concessions. The author suggests it is only a matter of time until Russia will use natural gas as an instrument of coercion to disrupt NATO s decisionmaking process. A key aim of this monograph is to explain why the rapid global transition from oil to natural gas will redefine the way policymakers and strategic security scholars look at the scarcity of natural gas in Europe. What is unique about this monograph is that it analyzes the oil and gas markets separately and illustrates, with examples, why in Europe natural gas is a more potent instrument of coercion than oil. Despite these revelations, only 1 month after the German Government announced its plans to abandon nuclear power by 2022, in July 2011 German Chancellor Angela Merkel disclosed that Germany will need to import more Russian natural gas to make up for the loss of over 10 gigawatts of generation capacity. Almost simultaneously, Germany s largest energy utilities group, RWE, and the Russian state-controlled gas giant, Gazprom, have agreed to form a strategic partnership. The author argues that situations like these create a delicate state of affairs that will ultimately undermine the de facto power of NATO in the contemporary security environment, particularly vis-a-vis Russia, unless the dependency on Russian natural gas is promptly addressed.
- Government and Political Science
- Military Forces and Organizations