You regular readers of this blog (all 3 of you and a few Viagra bots) will know I’ve been warning about Russia’s new aggressiveness for a while now. Just search for “energy bully”.
It’s not surprising that Putin’s Russia is interested in taking over Georgia. The country stands between Russian and Turkey and, no surprise here, Iran. Putin gets two things with a pacified Georgia: additional port space on the Black Sea and a new conduit to pipe up Iranian oil to Gazprom. Note that Iran and Russia have been getting cozy for a while. Russia wants Iranian oil, and clearing out any possible problems with Georgia and Armenia will allow for a direct pipeline up from Iran to Russia.
Some people are warning Ukraine that Russia may eye it. According to the CIA, Ukraine imports 3/4 of its energy needs. It doesn’t have much to offer Russia besides steel, so it’s more profitable for Putin to keep Ukraine dependent upon its natural gas resources.
Ukraine is the testing ground for Putin’s regional domination strategy. He tested it out with the natural gas shutoff in 2006. Countries are dependent upon petroleum resources, and if those resources are threatened or embargoed, those countries will suffer.
For this reason alone it’s imperative we switch to alternative energies. Solar power should be this country’s number one priority, not so we can reduce carbon footprint, but so we can sell this technology to the world to thwart the growing threat of an energy-monopolized Russia.
Armenia should be the next state threatened by this model. Then Russia will have a clear path to Iran. The question is how will Russia go about getting Iranian oil– force or coercion? The former would alarm the world, which is why it would be the last big block in the scheme. The latter would be the first method– until it’s deemed time for Iran to go. Then watch China panic.
There’s many dominoes here. I don’t like the direction they’re falling.
UPDATE: Condi Rice has set up new cease-fire agreement which has been signed by both sides. It’s better than Sarko’s agreement, and we should see some movement of troops back to the border of Georgia. I think we’ll see Georgia have to give up its claim to any of Ossetia, which may stabilize the region to a degree.