“From Russia, with…Energy?o:p>

By

Elizabeth A. Cason

October 2007

ebcason@uga.edu


 

In recent years, China and India have been growing in economic power, diminishing the relative power of the United States.?World governance has been dominated by the United States hegemony since the Breton Woods conference in 1944 and the United States has enjoyed its position as the big man at the table.?However, beginning in about 2004 or 2005, the U.S. centered system began to crumble.?Eventually another nation will fill the power vacuum left by the United States and China seems to be the most likely candidate.?With an exponentially growing economy and population, China is quickly gaining power in the world.?If China continues at the current pace, it will soon take over the position as the big man at the table.?Some analysts fear that if this scenario plays out, China will cause the global market to collapse due to their unfair competitive advantage and their infrastructural problems and will also contribute to increased instability in the world system. International relations professor and former advisor to the Italian government Carlo Pelanda says that it is important to protect the global market because it is an “engine of wealth for everyone.?span style='mso-spacerun:yes'>?He says that with China participating in the global market without mind to the Western that govern the system like transparency, the global market would disintegrate and this would bring less equality and the breakdown of capitalism.

In his book The Grand Alliance, Carlo Pelanda suggests that in order to counteract this effect, the great democracies of the world—the United States, the European Union, India, Japan, and Russia—must form a matrix-style alliance to keep China from gaining world dominance.?The Grand Alliance would integrate the great democracies?economies first by increasing the interaction between the U.S. and E.U. markets and encouraging monetary convergence.?The next step after Euro-American economic integration is accomplished would be to recruit Russia into the alliance. Russia, however, has resumed an imperial position since about 2004 and appears to be unlikely to want to readily join such a Western alliance.?This begs us to ask the question: Why is Russia an important member of the Grand Alliance?

Russia offers a number of assets to the Grand Alliance, should it become a member.?Most important are the energy resources that Russia possesses and the energy alliances that Russia has already formed.

Rising energy prices and heightened tensions with the Middle East have left the United States in a vulnerable position.?With U.S. oil consumption estimated at approximately 20.73 million barrels per days according to the CIA, the United States cannot afford to depend on an unstable oil supply.?The United States and European Union nations need to find a stable source of energy that also offers reasonable prices.?According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Russia has the world’s largest natural gas reserves, the second largest coal reserves, and the eighth largest oil reserves.?As the owner of these energy reserves, which are mostly located in Central Asia and Siberia, Russia may be vulnerable to future Chinese desires to expand into these areas to gain control of these resources and the economic compensation that they provide.?If Russia joined the Grand Alliance, not only would the members of the Grand Alliance benefit from access to Russia’s energy reserves, but also from China’s exclusion from access to these resources.?With the Grand Alliance supporting Russia, China would be less tempted to try to take these resources from Russia by force.

Another aspect of Russia’s advantageous energy situation is the numerous critical energy alliances Russia has already formed in Central Asia, Africa, and South America.?By including Russia in the Grand Alliance, these countries would also be incorporated into the markets of the great democracies and encouraged to behave according to what would most benefit these nations.

Another advantage to having Russia on the side of the Grand Alliance is simply its geography.?Its shared border with China puts Russia in a prime strategic position in case there is ever a military threat from China.?China will be much more reluctant to make any moves to take over Russian territory or make any other military decisions knowing that it has the force of the Grand Alliance on its doorstep.

Russia will be a vital part of the Grand Alliance.?We must recognize Russia’s importance and find ways to ensure its inclusion in the Alliance.?While it is important for the sake of the Grand Alliance that Russia joins, Russia also benefits from joining the Grand Alliance.?The challenge is to demonstrate the benefits to Russia to ensure that it does in fact join.?By showing Russia the benefits it would receive from the Grand Alliance, it is much more likely that Russia will cooperate on the issue of energy and provide the stable, reasonably priced energy supply that the Western world needs.

Were Russia to join China, Russia would have to give up some of its own power and submit to China’s power due to its larger economy and population.? It would be of much greater benefit to Russia to join the Grand Alliance’s matrix-style alliance and have an equal amount of power as the other major democracies in the world than to submit to China’s power.?It is not in Russia’s best interests to be subservient to another power, but rather it would be better for Russia to participate as an equal partner in the global governance of the Grand Alliance.

One important part of the battle to convince Russia to join the Grand Alliance is the current friendly relation that Russia maintains with China due to the large amount of arms China buys from Russia.?Probably the best way to discourage this relationship is to use Western investments in the Russian economy to create better sources of income as an alternative to arms dealing.?If the United States and the European Union allow Russia access to the Euro-American market, it can develop economically and find other areas in which to specialize.

As proposed in the Grand Alliance, Russia should be offered negotiating power in the G-8. Russia is already a member of the G-8 group but is not currently allowed to participate in negotiations.?Such power would greatly increase Russia’s ability to affect decisions in the group.?Russia should also be offered inclusion in the World Trade Organization—allowing Russia access to the world market and giving Russia further opportunities to develop its economy.

Only through Western investments in Russia’s economy and access for Russia to the Euro-American market will Russia be willing to provide the stable, reasonably priced energy supply that the United States and the European Union needs.

 


                                               References

 

Akbar, M.J. "Adversaries Will Capitalize on a Distracted America." The Washington Post 16 Sept. 2007. 2 Oct. 2007 <http://www.washingtonpost.com/>.?

Pelanda, Carlo. The Grand Alliance. Milano, Italy: FrancoAngeli, 2007.?

"Russia Energy Data." Energy Information Administration. Apr. 2007. Energy Information Administration. 2 Oct. 2007 <http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/Russia/Background.html>.?

"The Global Realignment: the End of a US-Centric World?" The Washington Post 16 Sept. 2007. 2 Oct. 2007 <http://www.washingtonpost.com/>.?

"The United States." CIA World Fact Book. 20 Sept. 2007. CIA. 2 Oct. 2007 <https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/print/us.html>.?

Trenin, Dmitri. "Russia Leaves the West." Foreign Affairs. July-Aug. 2006. 2 Oct. 2007 <http://www-stage.foreignaffairs.org/20060701faessay85407/dmitri-trenin/russia-leaves-the-west.html>.?