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The Colder War: How The Global Energy Trade Slipped From America’s Grasp- Book Review

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Sumaya Malik

The Colder War: How The Global Energy Trade Slipped From America’s Grasp. Publisher: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New Jersey 2015.

Marin Katusa’s brilliant forethought on the geopolitical scenario of the near future in his masterpiece The Colder War is hair-raising in unexpected ways. The book immaculately deals with the question of substantial energy trade that has slipped from America’s grasp and has been taken over by the shrewd leadership of President Putin.

Being a former Math professor, Marin Katusa turned his head toward portfolio management of energy exploration. He is the founding director of the Copper Mountain (Canada) that directed property acquisition, funding, construction and operation in a matter of four years. He has been working as an author for Casey Research and has published multiple energy reports. This comes with his first-hand experience from touring project sites all around the world. If the world needs to understand how the energy sector runs the geopolitics, Marin Katusa is their go-to man.

The book falls under the genre of economics and is framed around the question of the “financial tsunami” that awaits the US evermore keenly (p. 211). The world is in for a head-on collision with, what Katusa calls a Colder War that will leave US with no choices than to accept one calamity or the other. For a common man grappling with the subject matter, an understanding of the history beginning from the first drop of oil blowing out of the Spindletop oilfield in Texas would be needed. And not to forget the misjudged and stereotyped Vladimir Putin, whose life as a KGB agent and his ascent in political hierarchy of Mother Russia is essential to understand the global energy trade; all of which has been deftly put together under Katusa’s masterpiece.

With the masterly use of a descriptive approach, Katusa delivers extensive research on Vladimir Putin and what plans he has for his state. Putin who has been disregarded by the West as a mere “passerby” or as a “Cold War relic” has been used to his advantage and he has been provided the time and space to equip Mother Russia with what is needed (p. 02). Katusa goes on explaining what drives the policies of Putin as the strongman of Russia. He has, like his inspiration Peter the Great, been increasingly invested in the task of modernizing Russia and dragging it to the pedestal of glory that it had lost in the Cold War. He defends his argument with an account of Putin’s carpe diem in Second Chechnya War, in taming the oligarch and his “measured military response” in Georgia (p. 63). A detailed record of the challenges that Putin has not only put up with but swiftly dealt with, to get his hands on energy pools, is what makes Katusa’s write up remarkable and interesting to read.

In addition, the author has extensively developed the theme of The Colder War and his argument with a powerful blend of qualitative as well as quantitative data. He uses data published under Energy reports to show how the “Putinization” of energy sector, be it oil, gas or uranium has occurred (p. 91). From what the pie charts and graphs tell us, the predictions of Katusa, however bleak they may be, might prove right. As of 2014 databases of Casey Research, Russia has crossed all the states in oil production leaving behind Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by a small margin whereas it has proved to be the largest Natural gas holder surpassing Iran by a huge margin. Alongside, it sits on untapped reserves of oil and gas with numerous drilling operations underway in the Arctic region. Consolidating his findings with exploratory approach, Katusa informs the readers about Uranium enrichment and conversion capacity which is by and large being regulated by Russia.

Putin has with his St. Peter boys, as Katusa narrates, engaged with Europe, with Africa, Middle East, China and Mongolia. He set out in search of energy resources and has gained political leverage through vast supply lines that run to the “near-beyond”, westward and eastward as well (p. 134). Putin can turn those on and off whenever he wants and however he wants, to squeeze the countries at the receiving end into a pincher. By the time it would dawn on US that they have lost the reins of the global energy market and its petrodollar system, its policy makers would be unable to do anything other than pacing up and down the room, dithering on what to do next.

The book is a spectacular mix of various research techniques inked onto pages that will be read over and over again in the years to come. I find myself quite convinced by the conclusions drawn in the write up. In agreement with the significance of the energy as explained by Marin Katusa, energy is sine qua non of civilization itself and will be in the driving seat for all the history that has yet to be made. It possesses in its clasp the fates of all those that depend on her and those who are chasing it today, will stay protected while the rest will starve in the freezing dark. The gradual buildup of the history and a story-like narration of the events gets ingrained onto the mind of the reader and he is left with an increasingly vivid view of the subject matter. Connecting the dots becomes easier when the relevant history is accounted for.

I would definitely classify it under the must-read section for all those who want to comprehend the creation of the international political economy, a sketch of a gloom and doom situation in the wee hours of the Whitehouse, restoration of Mother Russia to its former glory and the energy supply chains held in the clenched fists of Russia’s Slavic warrior.