If Europe and the United States decide to pressure Russia with sanctions targeting the energy sector, which accounts for more than 50 percent of the Russian economy, will the big American and Western oil companies stand in the way? As Putin increasingly acts out his dreams of grandeur – his ridiculous Eurasian Union idea, his fantasies of restoring czarist “novorossiya” or the U.S.S.R. – he is testing the edges of his power. He wants to be seen as too big to fail. Big Oil siding with him could make those dreams come true.
Demanding that other countries choose to be “with us or against us” was one of the Bush administration’s many regrettable failures after Sept. 11. But if we asked the big Western oil companies the same question now, how would they answer?
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