Our favorite ex-KGB agent, Vladimir Putin, is in the news and following up with his strategy for domination of Europe and Asia through energy market manipulation.
Putin made calls this week to scrap the architecture of the G8 (a funny thing to say while attending a G8 summit) to include other nations, mainly China. It’s a reasonable request, actually, as China has certainly progressed to the head of the world economic stage. In addition, it’s reasonable to consolidate the UK, France, Italy and Germany into one unit to represent the EU.
But why is Vladimir so eager to get China recognition? It boils down to energy.
China’s energy demands are skyrocketing. One estimate said the Chinese are building one coal-fired energy plant a week in 2007. I’m sure Al Gore’s not too happy about that, but if China wants to be an industrialized partner in the G8, it needs energy to support the 1.2 billion people and the economy that comes with them.
Russia has been strategically consolidating regional power assets in Gazprom, and it’s something I’ve been blogging about for a while now. By putting a stranglehold on natural gas, oil, and coal resources (and trust me, Russia is full of them), Russia can control other states by controlling their energy needs.
Putting all of your eggs into one basket isn’t a smart move, and the Eastern European nations, as well as some Asian nations, have diversified their energy needs to other companies. However, Putin has been making great strides in absorbing those assets into Gazprom. We’ve already gotten a taste of how he’ll act when he has even more control of foreign energy markets. And if he can exert control over China using energy as a lever, then he’ll do so.
Putin knows this is a long-term goal, which is why he’s not going to step down anytime soon. He’s a patriot who wants Russia to do well, but he’s stuck in a Kremlin mindset. He won’t be happy unless Russia is doing well, and it will be doing well when it drives its neighbors to their knees. So he may have a puppet in office for four years, but don’t expect any deviation from Putin’s policies. Otherwise he may get a polonium salad.