Over the past years the United States has been trying to ensure that it could still occupy the dominant positions in the world through a variety of means, including those those prohibited by international law.
Today the burning desire of the White House to preserve its alleged “sole superpower” status includes the use of military means in various regions of the world. It goes without saying that such a modus operandi results in thousands of civilian casualties and massive outrage of the international community which seems to be fed up with countless bloody wars, cases of armed aggression and new weapons sales that provide the US with billions and billions of dollars in profits.
However, lethal weapons alone could never have allowed the US to get away with all the crimes it has been committing.The power of the American dollar in the post WWII world helps account for this.
According to economists from different countries, the United States share in the world gross domestic product does not exceed 22%. In comparison, the share of US dollars in international transactions exceeds 80%. Washington reacts with concern when any state tries to move away from US dollars and over the years we’ve seen a number of such attempts. Among them was the intention of French President Charles de Gaulle to abandon American currency all together. Toward this purpose, French banks collected as many US dollars as they possibly could, placed them on a ship and sent to the US to exchange for the much more substantial currency of the time – gold. And although the operation was a success, the metal wasn’t used in transactions at French banks and provided the economy of France with zero benefits. As for Washington, it didn’t take this development lightly, turning its back on guarantees to back every US dollar banknote with a gold equivalent.
Among the latest tools that Washington has used lately are its sanctions regimes, which are being introduced by the US against certain states, with all of Washington’s satellite states demanded to observe them. It’s hardly a secret that Europe has been suffering the most from such policies, since such sanctions ruin the economies of EU states eventually by imposing significant financial losses .
However, the US doesn’t seem content with the amount of tools it has to meddle with the processes of international geopolitics. As it’s been recently announced by the White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, US President Donald Trump is striving to ensure the “energy domination” of Washington around the world. Last April, Trump made his first steps by ending restriction on the extraction levels of offshore drilling, thus increasing the production of oil and gas in the areas of the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans as well as the Gulf of Mexico.
Trump has also significantly expanded his rhetoric regarding American energy dominance, describing his desire to transform the US into an exporter of oil, gas and coal as an attempt to stabilize world markets.
Trump’s Special Assistant for International Energy and Environment, George David Banks, would comment on these plans by noting that high hydrocarbons production levels will allow the United States to occupy an advantageous position, thus obtaining an upper hand in global competition.
Similarly, Spicer would describe this strategy as an attempt to strengthen America’s “leadership abroad”. When demanded by the media to clarify America’s intention of competing with the Persian Gulf states by undermining hydrocarbon prices, Spicer announced that by selling oil and gas, the US will be able to obtain certain economical advantages, while admitting that there’s a political dimension to this decision as well.
The “political aspect” of this new US strategy can be seen in the incredible amount of pressure the US applies on its EU allies in a bid to put an end to the construction of Russia’s “Nord Stream-2″ gas pipeline that would provide Europe with cheap gas when completed. To strengthen this position, Washington used its propaganda machine it controls to launch a massive disinformation campaign aimed at persuading the global public that it was Russia that made energy trade a political issue, while the US seeks merely to create a cheap LNG route from the US to the EU to replace cheap Russian gas with its own supplies.
The current increase in America’s oil production levels has already affected oil prices, but only to a certain extent, with growing production levels of Nigeria and Libya doing more to drive down prices. The US has announced that local producers can still continue operations if oil prices hit $25 dollars per barrel. This was stated by the chairman of the board of directors of Pioneer Natural Resources, Scott Sheffield in an interview with Bloomberg.
Should the oil prices be kept at the level of 40 dollars per barrel for an extended period of time, half of the world’s oil production sites will become unprofitable. Extraction will be equally unprofitable both at the deep sands of Brazil and the oil sands of Canada. A great many oil producers will have to leave the market if they they do not reach a political agreement with the United States.
Last year, the United States began exporting LNG from the Gulf of Mexico and shipped more than 5 billion cubic meters to various countries of the world. By 2020, the total amount of gas shipped is expected to reach 83 billion cubic meters a year.
Recently, Washington has been forcing the EU countries to abandon Russian gas supplies in favor of American LNG imports, although this is economically unprofitable. According to the IMF, in April the price of Russian gas at the border with Germany reached 183 dollars per thousand cubic meters of gas. At the same time, across the EU market, gas is being traded at the level of 188 dollars per thousand cubic meters of gas without delivery, and the price of American LNG is even higher than that. According to the US Energy Agency (EIA), in February, its customers in Spain, Portugal and Turkey had to pay 245 dollars per thousand cubic meters of gas.
Nevertheless, in April the Polish PGNIG announced a contract with the only American LNG exporter, Cheniere, and the Minister for Strategic Energy Infrastructure, Peter Naimsky, in order to please his masters in Washington, announced that America’s LNG supplies would significantly reduce Europe’s dependence on Russia’s Gazprom. The government spokesman, however, indirectly confirmed that the supplies are cheap and its alernatives would be expensive if suppliers were required to pay transport costs on their own. Vice-president of PGNIG Maciej Wozniak, however, refused to announce the price of the LNG supplies that are to be delivered to Poland this summer.
Of course, it is up to Polish politicians to decide whether or not Polish consumers must pay extra simply to appease Washington.
But it also perfectly illustrates the future of this new energy policy for many countries, with Washington now forcefully imposing American energy deliveries.
Grete Mautner is an independent researcher and journalist from Germany, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”