Monday, 26 February 2007

The Russian Upswing

There is one school of thought that believes that much of what happens in the world is the product of cycles. If this theory is correct, then there would be no beginnings and no endings to human affairs - just undulations revisiting territory that we had seen before.

My attention was attracted to a piece in the Engish edition of Le Monde Diplomatique that seemed to take the view that we do, indeed, live in a cyclical world. Apart from providing an interesting perspective from the non-English speaking world, the article argues that we are about to see the re-emergence of he Cold War between Russia and 'the West'. (See article) Ignoring who 'the West' are, an interesting spin in the article is that President Putin is increasingly behaving as the Tsars behaved. (See list of characters).

This resonates with a view that we have taken for some while now. Enriched as a petro-economy, there is much evidence to suggest that Russia is likely to enjoy a resurgence in the short to medium term. How profound that resurgence is will depend upon how 'the West' reacts to it. We suspect that this is an issue where the interests of Europe will diverge from the interests of the US. We produced a scenario on this last year, where the US is isolated by a resurgent Russia and Russia wins the Second Cold War by 2018. (See scenario).

Of course, a scenario is not a prediction. It is a vision of what the future could hold. If we wish to avoid this vision (I certainly do), then we need to act in the present to avert this particular future coming to pass. So, when you leave a room, turn off the lights. It will help to lessen our energy dependency.

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