Despite the fact that national interests of the US and Russia often contradict each other, the state of bilateral relations between those states over the past hundred would dictate the course of international politics.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States assumed that it came victorious out of the so-called Cold War, which doesn’t mean, however, that it had any interest in actually ending that war. American politicians are known for their remarks about Russia being number one enemy of the United States and that Washington must oppose each and every attempt that Moscow takes to increase its influence on the international arena. Those politicians seem to be sorry for the fact that the West did not destroy Russia in the 90’s when it actually had an opportunity to do.
The politico-ideological and military-strategic rivalry between the United States and Russia of the previous century, in recent years has been aggravated by the new struggle for dominance in the international financial markets. These days Washington seems to be aggravated by the fact that Russia occupies leading positions in terms of oil and natural gas production, thus exerting a huge financial and political influence over the international arena. In a bid to contest these positions, Washington is getting into a more bitter rivalry, especially in the European energy markets, as those have acquired a special significance for Washington over the past three years.
This situation occurred largely due to the fact that about three years ago, Americans made a historic decision to invest in the production of shale oil and gas, in spite of the fact that prices were dropping rapidly back then. Under these conditions, both the Obama and Trump administrations have been busy removing various obstacles to that could obstruct rapid development of this area of American economy. Once Washington decided to pursue total domination of the international energy markets, the US has been using all sorts measures to destroy competition, even though it would, more often than not, contradict the existing international law. We’re not just speaking about the countries of the Middle East, but Venezuela as well. However, there’s little doubt that all through the years the tip of Washington’s spear has been pointed at Russia.
When OPEC member countries and independent oil producers decided to cut oil production to increase prices, it was not enough to absorb the surplus of oil produced by the shale bonanza in the US. Thus, the existing oil and gas producers were doomed to be challenged by a new crowd of shale companies.
As a result, shale-producing countries led by the United States decided to use it as a strategic weapon to strengthen their positions in the world. All this has made America the leader in the field of gas production, which resulted in an abrupt decline in gas prices. If we look at the map of the world, we will see that the countries that were affected the most by a sharp drop in gas prices are the states of the Persian Gulf, along Iran, Russia and China.
However, this didn’t seem enough for Washington, which resulted in the United States into an intesne fight for the most profitable gas markets, the largest of which is the European market, where Russia has been consistently strengthening its positions over the years. As a result, Washington would abuse a number of dirty tricks, including propaganda campaigns that were aimed at persuading the general public that Europe is harming itself by getting dependent on Russian energy supplies. Now, as the campaign against the construction of a new Russian gas pipelines to Europe starts to take shape, we can now distinguish the forces that oppose Moscow, that couldn’t care less about the fact that vast majority of Europeans is convinced that there’s no alternative for Russian gas supplies, since Moscow has proven itself to be a reliable supplier of cheap gas.
However, in this bitter war for energy markets, Washington has been abusing all sorts of dirty tricks. This notion can be confirmed by the downing of the Malaysian Boeing MH17 over Donbass, which was stated by US special services. This catastrophe allowed Washington an opportunity to introduce sanctions against Russia, undermining its gas industry, while undermining the strengthening of Moscow’s growing role in the international arena. This was the conclusion made by Kees van der Pijl, a Dutch political scientist who is emeritus professor of international relations at the University of Sussex. As of now, he’s finishing his new book on the issue, where this topic is going to examined in much detail.
As for the notorious Law on Countering America’s Opponents through Sanctions that Donald Trump signed into law last month, it’s been noted time and time again that it contradicts the US Constitution. Yet, mere days after the signing the Politico would feature an article claiming that the US is preparing a “second round” of anti-Russian legislation measures for the American president to sign.
Specifically, the above mention article would inform us that Congress is going to force America’s withdrawal from the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate Range and Short Range Missiles of 1987 down Trump’s throat through the National Defense Authorization Act for the Fiscal Year 2018, that is being prepared by Congress. It is noteworthy that three sections of this draft are specially devoted to Russia, with their total volume exceeding 1329 pages! It turns out that the latest “sanctions act”, adopted in July 2017, was just an act of preparation for an all-out institutional confrontation with the Russian Federation. It’s clear that American lawmakers were not satisfied with their creation, as they’re going to up the ante even further.
However, such a Russophobic position of US lawmakers is unlikely to serve as a solid ground for the development of business cooperation between the two countries for sake of international peace. Russia expulsion of 755 American diplomats from the country has shown that it is prepared to answer any anti-Russian step Washington is going to take, which will not simply cause a significant amount of damage to US interests, but will also affect America’s prestige on the international arena.
Grete Mautner is an independent researcher and journalist from Germany, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”