Grabbing at Central Asian Energy
The European Union hopes to increase significantly its on-site diplomatic muscle in Central Asia by 2008. This will expand its influence in the energy-rich region—vital to a strategy to reduce its reliance on Russian energy imports.
As outlined by an EU strategy paper dated February 2 and submitted to member states by Germany, the EU anticipates opening embassies in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan—the last two of which possess massive natural gas reserves.
The document recommends allocating heavy financial resources to support its “breakthrough” into Central Asia and to bring the four states plus Turkmenistan into the international community. Germany has specifically proposed funding development projects including the construction of a new gas pipeline from Central Asia along the Caspian seabed to Europe.
The document, according to one EU diplomat, was “designed to send a political signal to our partners, to the five states in question and to Russia, China and the U.S. We are saying—look we want to be in there, we want to work there” (EUobserver.com, February 6).
Some experts say the EU’s plans to compete with Russia and China for new pipelines are doomed to fail. Still, this recent initiative highlights Europe’s Achilles’ heel: foreign energy dependence. The Bible foretells that Europe will invade the Middle East with “whirlwind” ferocity in the near future. Energy demand will likely play a large role in instigating the next big Middle East war.