European endeavour to contain Russia stands severely compromised. As West Asia spirals out of control, the Western world’s dependence on Russian energy exports is steadily on the rise. Russian oil and natural gas resources account for about 25% of EU’s oil and natural gas requirements, and is estimated to reach up to 70% by 2030 AD. The story doesn’t end here, as the US has clearly stated its intention of importing around 10% to 20% of its natural gas needs from Russia.
This dependence on the erstwhile enemy has been stupefying, as critics have alleged that Russians have used their energy reserves both to arm-twist recalcitrant neighbours and also to consolidate authoritarianism in its country. Using the trump card meticulously, the Russians have made headway in Central Asia and East Europe. The turning off of natural gas supply to Ukraine in January this year was considered unprecedented as even during the cold war years, pipelines were quarantined from the bitter rivalry of the big two.
As the North Sea production declines and West Asia remains in turmoil, Russian moves to open up the supply line to China and East Asia is likely to draw the Europeans more into the clutches of the Red Bear.