Yesterday, I suggested that the best way to undermine Putin's regime and his ability to project power into Europe is for America to develop the infrastructure to sell natural gas cheaply to Europe.
Now, here is some data to show just how strong a stranglehold Gazprom, the state-owned Russian gas company, has on European energy markets:
This position — in which Putin can turn off the gas in the middle of winter, and plunge countries into an energy crisis — has given him the ability to strong-arm European countries into accepting Russian foreign policy. This position of strength has blunted the European response to Russian soldiers taking over Crimea.
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By providing competition to Gazprom, America can give European countries more leverage in negotiations with Putin, and more ability to sanction Russian incursions into Eastern Europe.
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