With the collapsing value of the ruble and major drop in oil prices in recent months, these have been trying times for Vladimir Putin.
But one global energy expert believes that such hardships will not stop the authoritarian leader of Russia from pursuing his long-term goal of dominating the world's most crucial natural resources -- namely oil, gas and uranium -- and using such resources as a key point of leverage against those who might cross her, while working to subvert the petrodollar in a crushing blow to the United States.
Marin Katusa, chief energy investment strategist at Casey Research and author of the recently released New York Times bestseller "The Colder War: How the Global Energy Trade Slipped from America's Grasp," expounded upon Putin's grand strategy, developed in the wake of the fall of the Soviet Union, in a recent interview with TheBlaze Books [Facebook, Twitter].
As Katusa explains, there are 10 major values and principles that underlie Putin's push to return Russia to prominence as a dominant world power:
1. Russia must be secure against attack and intimidation.
2. The country with the greatest material ability for intimidating or attacking Russia is the United States.
3. For the sake of security, countries bordering Russia must serve as buffers against the West; that is, they cannot be aligned with the United States.
4. Russia should be prosperous--for the sake of prosperity itself, as a necessary element in achieving security, and for Putin's personal political survival.
5. Development of natural resources, especially energy, is Russia's clearest path to prosperity.
6. In addition to paying the bills for security (chiefly military expenditures), energy exports support Russia's security by drawing customer countries into quasi-dependence, disposing them to defer to Russia in international matters. Quasi-dependence is especially desirable in countries that border Russia or are near it.
7. Russian dominance in energy-related industries--refining, processing, shipping--reinforces quasi-dependence at least for some countries. It gives Russia the power to withhold a needed service from a target country or from the country's other suppliers of oil, gas, or uranium.
8. Speedy development of energy resources requires outside capital and technology, so foreign partners are welcome. But because energy production is part of a strategy for security, energy industries must be under the control of the Russian government.
9. Russia's position as an energy exporter implies that disruption of energy production anywhere outside of Russia works to Russia's advantage. In particular, turmoil in the Middle East is always to Russia's advantage or can be turned to it.
10. Because the United States is the country with the greatest ability to intimidate or attack Russia, anything that weakens the United States leaves Russia more secure. On that principle, Russia should subvert the dollar's position as the world's reserve currency, and for that purpose should subvert the petrodollar system.
During our in-depth interview, Katusa spoke in depth about just how Putin was applying these principles today, as well as a host of other topics including:
- Why Katusa believes "We're at the calm before the storm"
- Why the demise of the ruble is not an unmitigated failure for the Russians
- How OPEC is at war with not just Russia but North American shale
- How the new Cold War differs from the old one
- Whether or not Putin is driven by ideology
- The size and scope of Russia’s vast natural resource supply
- Everything you need to know about the petrodollar
- What the fall of the petrodollar would mean for the average American
- Whether America’s advance in fracking poses a threat to Russia
- The power of Russia’s Rosneft, the world’s largest publicly traded oil producer in the world, and the making and undoing of Russia’s oligarchs
- How America can defend against Russia, and what individuals can do to protect themselves
If you appreciate interviews like these, be sure to check out TheBlaze Books' top 15 must-listen interviews of 2014.
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