CASPIAN ENERGY RESOURCES AND THE “PIPELINE WAR” IN EUROPE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: ENERGY GEOPOLITICS IN NORTHERN EURASIA
Arbakhan MAGOMEDOV, Ruslan NIKEROV
Arbakhan Magomedov, D.Sc. (Political Science), Professor, Head of the Public Relations Chair, Ulyanovsk State University (Ulyanovsk, Russian Federation)
Ruskan Nikerov, Ph.D. Candidate at Ulyanovsk State University (Ulyanovsk, Russian Federation)
In the post-9/11 world, energy resources have become the most coveted trophy, and force has become the main instrument, while national interests are prevailing over the hopes and illusions of the “democratic transit” of the 1990s.
Russia and the United States are locked in rapidly accelerating rivalry over the Caspian’s gas and gas pipelines (South Stream of Russia vs. Nabucco of the West).
While at the turn of the 21st century, Russia did not have a trump card it could successfully use to oppose the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline, later it armed itself with the South Stream to fight the “gas war.”
The two projects competed in the “dilemma of simultaneity” regime, which describes the dynamics of the struggle over several alternatives for the limited resources. The resultant “diversification race” started the European “pipeline war” of the 21st century.
What triggered the race? Never before, even at the height of the Cold War, has the West been so vehemently determined to lower Europe’s dependence on Soviet fuel; never before has the Caspian basin attracted the clashing political and economic interests of so many countries.
“Resource Accumulation” and the Crushed Hopes of Putin’s Russia: The Macropolitical Context of the European “Pipeline War”
The macropolitical context throws into bolder relief the logic of the geopolitical struggle over the Caspian pipelines and Caspian gas, which owes its intensity to three key factors.
The first factor: the worldwide struggle for “resource accumulation” and geopolitical expanse. Energy has become another element of the confrontation between Russia and the West. The new century has created new priorities: control over natural, mainly hydrocarbon, resources and the globally important transport corridors, while energy has been gradually developing into a key information issue.
According to Russian academic Irina Tsurina, “never before has the Western world been as keenly aware of its energy vulnerability as it is now; for the first time in recent years, it has interpreted this dependence as a threat to its development;” its anxiety is fed even more by global energy fears, transportation threats, and political bluffs.
The resultant tension added vehemence to the sides’ political motivations, while energy became another cutting edge of…………..