News Release

Russia and Oil

MICHAEL KLARE
Klare’s most recent book is Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy, and he is featured in the recently released documentary “Blood and Oil.” Klare said today: “The current conflict between Russia and Georgia over the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia has been widely viewed as a throwback to the Cold War era, with Georgia seeking to reassert control over areas it considers part of its sovereign territory and Russia aiming to punish a regime it deems overly friendly to the West. Personality is also said to play a role, with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili keen to demonstrate his mettle by regaining the two rebel areas and Russian leaders equally resolved to humiliate him. But underlying all this is a larger, more significant contest: a geopolitical struggle between Russia and the West over the export of Caspian Sea oil and natural gas.

“The United States seeks to use Georgia as an ‘energy corridor’ to transport Caspian energy to the West without going through Iran or Russia; to this end, it helped build the BTC (Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan) Pipeline across Georgia and helped beef up the Georgian military to protect it. Russia seeks to frustrate America’s use of Georgia for this purpose, and uses Abkhazia and South Ossetia as daggers pointed at the jugular of the BTC pipeline. When Saakashvili sought to drive the Russians out of these enclaves, the Russians struck back.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167