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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Reagan administration warned Russian pipeline through Ukraine would weaken West -- By Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, Special to The Washington Times

In a memo to the White House in July 1981, advisers in the Ronald Reagan administration urged opposition to a new pipeline from Russia's oil- and gas-rich regions to Europe, warning that it would weaken the West's bargaining hand.

"Our strategy is aimed at limiting Soviet economic leverage over the West," Pentagon aides told the White House in the memo.

The Trans-Siberian Pipeline, which crosses modern-day Ukraine, was built nonetheless, and it helped transform Russia into an energy superpower that nurtures the European Union's dependence on its fossil fuels.

Nearly 33 years later, the warning from Reagan's defense advisers stands prescient, as President Vladimir Putin, the KGB-bred successor to the Soviet empire, has muted the West's response to his military incursion in Ukraine by relying on Europe's addiction to Russian resources.

"President Reagan clearly understood at the time that Russia was not interested in being part of the family of nations," said Larry Eastland, a State Department official in the Reagan administration. "Anytime you allow someone to have their hand on the spigot, you've not only given them economic power, you've given them military power as well."

Since Mr. Putin came to power as prime minister in 1999, Russia has become the largest exporter of oil and natural gas to the European Union. According to a 2007 European Commission on Energy Issues report, Russia supplies one-third of Europe's oil imports and nearly 40 percent of its gas imports.

In November, Forbes magazine summarized today's reality in an article titled "Pipelines of Empire": "At this juncture of history, the fate of Europe is wound up not in ideas, but in geopolitics. Armies are not marching; rather, hydrocarbons are flowing. For that is the modern face of Russian influence in Europe. To understand the current pressures upon Europe from the east, it is necessary to draw a map of energy pipelines."

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