Der russischen Bedrohung geht der Treibstoff aus

BRÜSSEL – Das bestimmende Ereignis war für Europa 2014 die Annexion der Krim und die militärische Intervention im Donezbecken in der Ostukraine durch Russland. Die Handlungen des Kremls waren eine unmittelbare Herausforderung für zentrale Grundsätze, von denen sich Europa seit über sechs Jahrzehnten leiten lässt, insbesondere den Verzicht auf den Einsatz von Gewalt zur Änderung nationaler Grenzen. Aber Russland ist nicht in der Lage, seine aggressive Außenpolitik durchzuhalten.

Es wird häufig argumentiert, dass Russland auf die empfundenen Übergriffe auf sein benachbartes Ausland durch die Europäische Union und die NATO reagiert habe. Die Geschichte freilich legt eine einfachere Erklärung nahe: Ein Jahrzehnt stetig steigender Ölpreise hatte Russland übermütig gemacht, sodass es bereit war, jede Gelegenheit zu ergreifen, um seine militärische Macht einzusetzen.

Tatsächlich hatte die Sowjetunion vor 40 Jahren ein ähnliches Erlebnis. Damals heizte eine anhaltende Phase steigender Öleinnahmen eine zunehmend selbstbewusste Außenpolitik an, die 1979 im Einmarsch in Afghanistan kulminierte. Die Ölpreise hatten sich nach dem ersten Ölembargo im Jahr 1973 vervierfacht, und die Entdeckung große Ölreserven in den 1970er Jahren stützte eine massive Ausweitung der sowjetischen Produktion. Infolgedessen stieg der Wert der sowjetischen Ölproduktion von 1965 bis 1980 um einen Faktor von nahezu 20.

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