Western values and the Russian energy weapon
Domingues, Bennett Katrina.
Thesis (M.A.)--Georgetown University, 2010.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. This thesis explores the competition between Russia and the West for the oil and gas resources of the Caspian Sea region, an area where far more is at stake than simply acquisition of new energy supplies. Ultimately, the "winner" of the competition for Caspian Sea energy resources will determine whether Russia will become the primary energy supplier for Europe in the future, or whether there will be alternative, non-Russian energy routes from East to West. The thesis uses a qualitative approach, drawing on scholarly books and articles, current affairs publications, energy firm websites, and other sources to compare the ethical aspects of the strategies used by Russia and the West, to determine whose strategy has been more successful, and to analyze what this means for the political, economic, and security future of Europe.; As this thesis demonstrates, Russia recognizes the importance of energy as both an economic and foreign policy tool. To secure access to the resources of the Caspian Sea region, Russia has used bribery and strongman tactics to secure arrangements and contracts favorable to Russian interests. When a country does not capitulate to these tactics, Russia applies other measures to influence these countries' policies. This thesis draws on two recent examples, Ukraine and Georgia, to demonstrate how Russia has used its position as a supplier of energy resources to influence countries to adopt policies complementary to Russian interests, or to punish them for failing to do so. The effectiveness of these Russian tactics is an important precedent for the countries of the Caspian Sea region to keep in mind as they make decisions that will determine their economic and political future for decades to come.; In contrast, the western strategy of promoting quality products and services, while ensuring safety and conducting business according to western ethical norms, has been less successful than western firms originally envisioned. Undoubtedly western firms have become heavily involved in oil and gas extraction projects in the region, in particular in Kazakhstan. Yet, efforts to transport that energy to western markets without Russian involvement have met with strong resistance. This thesis demonstrates that part of the reason western firms have been less successful than they hoped to be is because western firms, in particular American firms, are so bound by western ethical norms and the statues that codify them, that they have lost their competitive advantage.; The thesis concludes with a discussion of the current day balance of energy resources in Europe, noting that Europe is rapidly growing heavily dependent on Russian oil and gas resources. Given the precedents shown in Georgia and Ukraine, it is only a matter of time before Europe grows so dependent on Russian energy that the individual countries will lose their political and economic independence and in turn, their ability to project western values and values-based ideas throughout the world with impunity.
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