Richard Lugar, the Chairman of the US Senate Committee for International Affairs, has been paying too much attention to Russia lately. Last week the official demanded Russia should withdraw its peacemakers from the conflict areas of Georgia, Abkhazia and Ossetia. This week Mr. Lugar spoke about the energy security issue. The US official put Russia in the line with Iran and Venezuela and described them as “hostile regime countries.” According to Richard Lugar, Russia, Iran and Venezuela use their natural resources to put pressure upon other countries.
Richard Lugar was “enlightened” at the international energy summit in West Lafayette, Indiana. Lugar said in the report about USA’s energy security threats that hostile regimes of Venezuela, Iran and Russia use their energy deliveries as means of pressure against their neighbours. The senator believes that energy has become a weapon for those who have it. Mr. Lugar outlined the situation which could happen in perspective if energy exporters cut their oil and gas supplies to consuming states. In this case, Lugar said, the countries, which face the cessation of oil deliveries, may give way to despair and thereby increase chances of armed conflicts, terrorism or economic collapse.
The senator’s further remarks showed that the official did not worry too much about the countries which may “give way to despair.” The official urged the US authorities to develop the new national policy in the field of energy resources. The policy, Mr. Lugar said, needs to relieve the USA of geopolitical threats on the part of oil-rich regimes. The official calculated that the USA would spend $320 billion on oil imports until the end of the year. This number can be compare with the sum the nation has spent on the war and reconstruction in Iraq during the first three years of the conflict.
The senator released another curious statement during his report. Richard Lugar said that the USA preserves massive military presence abroad to defend its vital oil shipments.
According to one of conservative estimates, the USA’s oil-linked expenditure in the Middle East reaches $50 billion a year. The USA, Lugar continued, has no guarantee that the national armed forces will be able to prevent an energy catastrophe.
Lugar’s speech is definitely based on USA’s aspiration to develop a strategy that would decrease the nation’s dependence on energy resources received both from friendly and “authoritarian” states. However, it is obvious that the solution of the problem will take years and even decades. Therefore, the USA has to deal with other countries which contradict to the American concept of freedom. These particularly include oil-mining countries on the Arabian Peninsula, Saudi Arabia first and foremost.
It would also be interesting to know how Washington intends to use the military forces to prevent an energy catastrophe. If Russia raises natural gas prices for Ukraine or Georgia, does it mean that it does so to put pressure upon neighbouring countries, driving them into a state of despair and pushing them towards terrorism? If Washington decides to send troops somewhere abroad, does it mean that the US administration does so take care of those countries? Senator Lugar does not seem to be interested in these little things of no importance. He is more preoccupied with global issues such as energy security, authoritarian regimes, etc. We can only hope that Mr. Lugar’s report will remain only a report and does not lead to any real actions. The “Iraqi democracy” example does not serve an inspiration at this point.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov