Congress' Energy Role in The Ukraine Crisis
This article was originally published in The Hill. Read the full article here.
Congressional leadership is critical to rebalance the energy terms of engagement in Europe. Energy is at the heart of the ongoing crisis. President Putin relies on oil and gas revenues to pay for his military adventurism and to maintain domestic political support. He wields influence through corporate tie-ups and direct control of gas supplies to individual states.
An ocean away from European markets and a Constitutional Article away from executive power, Congress nonetheless has an affirmative and unambiguous role to play in grounding Putin's energy arsenal. First, renewed Congressional leadership to advance proactive energy solutions is needed. Unlike Russia that coerces and buys influence through energy, the United States relies on diplomacy and market forces.
First, renewed Congressional leadership to advance proactive energy solutions is needed. Unlike Russia that coerces and buys influence through energy, the United States relies on diplomacy and market forces.
Over the past decade, Congress convinced, cajoled, and flat-out required Bush and Obama administration activity to loosen Putin's energy stranglehold. After an August 2005 meeting in which then Prime Minister Tymoshenko warned former Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) that Russian gas pipelines were a dagger at the throat of Ukrainian independence, a bipartisan Senate crusade propelled strategic energy projects, diplomatic capacity, and NATO engagement.
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Neil Brown is a non-resident fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the U.S.