Many people imagine that geopolitics drives the energy trade between Russia and Europe. As the story goes, each side seeks to exploit gas and oil to influence the other in the big game of power politics — and Russia seems to have the upper hand. The European Union now imports nearly 40% of its natural gas from Russia. For decades, national-security specialists have recommended that Europeans reduce their dependence on these imports at any cost. Most recently, a fierce debate over Nord Stream 2 — a second Russian pipeline across the Baltic Sea to Germany — has led US congresspeople to threaten sanctions.
Political scientist Thane Gustafson challenges this view in The Bridge. He argues that the trade in gas reflects slow-moving patterns of market demand and supply, which in turn stem from incremental changes in technology for pumping, piping and consuming fuel. The result is a pattern of remarkably stable economic interdependence that seems impervious to the geopolitical environment.
Power of connection_ why the Russia–Europe gas trade is strangely untouched by politics
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