If you had to put that Euro part of Pipelineistan into a formula, you might do so this way: Nabucco (pushed by the U.S.) versus South Stream (pushed by Russia). Be patient. You’ll understand in a moment.
At the most basic level, it’s a matter of the West yet again trying, in the energy sphere, to bypass Russia. For this to happen, however — and it wouldn’t hurt if you opened the nearest atlas for a moment — Europe desperately needs to get a handle on Central Asian energy resources, which is easy to say but has proven surprisingly hard to do. No wonder the NATO Secretary General’s special representative, Robert Simmons, has been logging massive frequent-flyer miles to Central Asia over these last few years.
Just under the surface of an edgy entente cordiale between the European Union (EU) and Russia lurks the possibility of a no-holds-barred energy war — Liquid War, as I call it. The EU and the U.S. are pinning their hopes on a prospective 3,300-kilometer-long, $10.7 billion pipeline dubbed Nabucco. Planning for it began way back in 2004 and construction is finally expected to start, if all goes well (and it may not), in 2010. So if you’re a NATO optimist, you hope that natural gas from the Caspian Sea, maybe even from Iran (barring the usual American blockade), will begin flowing through it by 2015. The gas will be delivered to Erzurum in Turkey and then transported to Austria via Bulgaria, Romania, and Hu… >>>