Former Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary Peter Brookes said Trump can remove Russia’s energy hold over Europe and end recklessness by opening the floodgates on U.S. oil.
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“The Russian economy is heavily dependent on hydro-carbon exports. It sends 60-70 percent of its oil and natural gas to Europe which… creates about 40 percent of the Russian federal budget. So if you’re worried about Russian adventurism… This is a point of leverage for us if we are able to get Europe to diversify their energy imports,” Brookes said during an appearance on FOX Business.
During his first stop in Poland, President Trump described Russia’s behavior as “destabilizing,” during a speech in Warsaw. In Brookes’ opinion, there was meaning behind his remarks.
“[Trump] made a point there about saying they should not be held hostage to people who would be coercive with the use of energy and Russia has done that,” he said. “In the past, they have shut off energy to Ukraine, which when you shut off energy to Ukraine, you shut off energy to the rest of Europe because that’s a major transit point."
Brookes says Putin will not want to risk access to Europe for Russian energy.
“It’s so important to them... Forty-three percent of the Russian budget comes from that and they are already hurting by low oil prices… They are hurting by sanctions that have been put on them over Ukraine.”