Russia, the Asymmetric Threat to the United States: A Potent Mixture of Energy and Missiles

Overview

Russia holds the world's largest natural gas reserves, the second largest coal and uranium reserves, and the eighth largest oil reserves. Europe is dependent on Russia for 25 percent of its oil and gas. Russia is also positioning itself to play a similar role with respect to China. The key to this strategy is a network of new oil and natural gas pipelines that Russia is in the process of constructing, which will by-pass the problematic Ukraine, Georgia, Poland and the Baltic States in the West, and lock-in the ...

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Overview

Russia holds the world's largest natural gas reserves, the second largest coal and uranium reserves, and the eighth largest oil reserves. Europe is dependent on Russia for 25 percent of its oil and gas. Russia is also positioning itself to play a similar role with respect to China. The key to this strategy is a network of new oil and natural gas pipelines that Russia is in the process of constructing, which will by-pass the problematic Ukraine, Georgia, Poland and the Baltic States in the West, and lock-in the enormous potential of China in the East. Further, as the Western economies including the USA begin themselves to recover, their growing energy dependence will come back into the forefront, and therefore the need to ensure that Russia does not fail in its opening up of new energy resources in the Arctic and Eastern Siberia.

Russia is no longer a superpower, in the Cold War sense of the word, because its military is significantly weaker, and as such is incapable of conducting a regional let alone global war against either the United States or NATO. It is precisely because of its military weakness that Putin has been forced to adopt an asymmetric approach. Thus, the pipeline spigot and the proliferation of missiles and aircraft have become Russia's weapons of choice, along with an ever growing reliance on its strategic nuclear forces to provide it with the necessary deterrent to foreign aggression. In addition, Putin and Medvedev have no interest in an arms race with the United States, it is too costly and detracts from their priority, which is economic reform.

From Putin's perspective, America is in the process of imposing "absolute security" or as Joint Vision 2020 put it: "full spectrum dominance" over the world. As the sole remaining superpower, the United States enjoys a massive strategic imbalance in its favor, which it has used first to contain, but now with the intent to control the world. How? NATO expansion lays the groundwork for a U.S. global missile defense system to contain perceived adversaries, such as Russia, which in turn secures the dominance of America through its Prompt Global Strike (PGS) capability – the ability to strike anywhere on the planet with impunity within 90 minutes of the order being given by The President. Thus, PGS will be to the 21st Century, what British Gun Boat Diplomacy was to the 19th Century. In such a context, Russia is forced to respond asymmetrically.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Under the leadership of Vladimir Putin, Russia has used its energy bonanza as political leverage over Europe and other areas of the world and to fill state coffers. With the newfound riches, argues Wood (American Center for Democracy), the Russian military has been developing missile technology designed to counter American capabilities and without intelligent response by American policy makers, he warns, Russia stands poised to use its energy riches and missile capabilities to emerge as the world's superpower by 2015."

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Reference & Research Book News

"Wood (American Center for Democracy) presents a wealth of descriptive data on Russian energy and missile capabilities. . . . Recommended. All undergraduate, graduate, and research collections."

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Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313359415
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/30/2009
  • Series: Praeger Security International Series
  • Pages: 210
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

John Wood
John Wood

After earning an MBA at the prestigious Kellogg School of Management, John Wood worked for several years in banking before joining Microsoft in 1991. Through hard work and determination, he ascended rapidly, earning coveted overseas assignments in Australia and China. While serving as Microsoft's Director of Business Development for the Greater China region, Wood decided to change his life's focus to help children break the cycle of poverty through the lifelong gift of education.

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Table of Contents

1 Putin the miracle worker? 1

2 The Russian oil and gas empire 13

3 Does the emperor have no clothes? 35

4 The wounded Russian bear with sharp claws 45

5 Putin's strategic vision 77

6 Pipeline wars 99

7 Rocket man 119

Notes 137

Index 201

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