Golunov Sergei
Энергетические рычаги внешней политики // Международные процессы. 2021. Т. 19, № 1 (64). С. 56-73. DOI 10.17994/IT.2021.19.1.64.3.
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ISSN 1728-2756

DOI 10.17994/IT.2021.19.1.64.3

While employing their energy potentials for advancing their foreign policy interests, Russia and the USA apply various political tools and practices, that can be classified as “positive”, “negative”, regulating energy markets, and reinforcing one’s own potential. The author argues that in both cases the application of energy-related statecraft is largely related either to energy security or to advancing ideologically inspired political interests. These two kinds of incentives can both work together or conflict each other. To pursue their relevant interests, both Russia and the USA have distinctive potentials, resources, and instruments that to a large extent were developed under influence of geopolitical and economic shocks: dramatic growth of global oil prices in 1970s for the USA and centrifugal post-Soviet geopolitical processes in 1990s for Russia. As a negative tool, the USA most often uses various kinds of sanctions to target energy sectors of their opponents, while the strongest Russian weapon is energy supply restrictions. To safeguard one’s own energy security and solidify their political influences both states manage bilateral complementary “producer-consumer” relations, while to stabilize global oil price, both states participate in international energy alliances. For instrumental purposes, both states also take advantage of purposeful or spontaneous transformations of their energy sectors (e.g. consolidation of the Russian energy sector and the U.S. ‘shale revolution’) for foreign policy purposes. In most cases, the effectiveness of applying statecraft tools for advancing energy-related interests proved to be limited. Those sanctions and other ways of pressure that targeted opponents’ energy sectors (especially if applied unilaterally) themselves rarely led to desirable alterations in those opponents’ policies. The results of energy alliances building also have proved to be limited both for Russia and for the USA as those alliances do not secure full-fledged control over global oil prices and are not solid or representative enough.


Keywords: statecraft | foreign policy tools | energy security | pipeline politics | Russia | USA |

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