COMMENTARY | Back when the Soviet Union was still in full bloom, its government was the master of a strategy known as disinformation. Much of the 1980s nuclear freeze movement could be linked to this strategy, for example.
Now, according to Robert Zubrin, Vladimir Putin, that old former KGB agent who has found himself in charge of Russia, is taking a leaf off of the old play book and is trying to convince European nations to eschew hydraulic fracking. It has less to do with the environment and public health than it does with preserving continued Russian domination of European of oil and gas markets. If European countries begin to frack and tap their own energy reserves, Russia loses not only leverage but also a source of hard currency.’
This is obviously something that need contemplating as the debate over hydraulic fracking continues to rage. Who would benefit over restrictions on the techniques that has brought a boom to areas such as Texas and North Dakota that have permitted it? Clearly Vladimir Putin is among those people.
Ironically, the Ukraine and the Baltic states, both on Putin’s target list, have abundant reserves of shale gas. If those countries had exploited their native energy reserves they would have been less prone to Russian economic pressure. Even more ironically, one can look to Russia to exploit those reserves to the hilt if and when it gains control of them.
A part of a long term strategy for countering Putin’s imperial ambitions would be the ruthless exploitation of energy sources in the United States and the encouragement of Europe to follow suit. In this way not only does the West become more energy independent, but Russia’s ability to influence events becomes diminished. That the Obama administration seems thus far to be willing to eschew this strategy speaks volumes for the triumph of ideology over common sense.