Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Long Game

Today's Star Tribune carried a commentary called Meanwhile, in foreign affairs: why Russia meddled. It's a good companion to my post from a few days ago, The oil behind the man behind the curtain.

The writer, Jim Lenfestey, is a former editorial writer for the Strib, with a liberal perspective (not quite what I would consider progressive, based on his past writings). He covers some of the same ground as my Twitter sources, recounting how Russia wants to sell its oil despite climate change. His key point is that Russia began to move on the U.S. election in 2014, just after sanctions were imposed in response to the Crimea invasion.

Who would Russia want as president, if removing the sanctions is their main goal? Well gosh, surely not Hillary Clinton. Sowing discord in general was also a major goal, I would guess, but Lenfestey doesn't talk about that.

What he does say, which I've never thought of before, is that Russia doesn't just want to sell its oil to make money, despite climate change. It wants to sell its oil to further climate change, because it sees itself as a winner in a warmed Earth. And on a simplistic level, given some of the projections, they're right:

(I wrote about that map a few days ago.)

Look at all that nice green, arable land across Russia! Plus they get navigable northern ports and control of more open water. As Lenfestey puts it,

Oil-rich Russia sees itself a winner as the climate changes and thousands of miles of northern coastline melt. To it, stopping the sanctions and the transition to noncarbon sources of energy is a double win.
Enemy isn't a strong enough word for Vladimir Putin.

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