In an effort to rid its country of dependency on Russian energy, the German government has reached out to Qatar in the hopes of securing natural gas supplies. Euractiv reports that the German vice chancellor, Robert Habeck, paid a visit to the Persian Gulf nation over the weekend of March 19-20th, quoting Habeck as saying:
It is the Ukraine crisis that has brought me here and the attempt to get off Russian gas and oil and coal as quickly as possible.
In a tweet upon his departure for Qatar and Abu Dhabi, the vice chancellor mentioned that these two nations are not perfect democracies, a reference to the “value-based energy policy” that his coalition government has committed itself to.
The German government’s search for alternatives to Russian energy parallels the efforts by the U.S. government to find non-Russian alternatives for oil imports. In a recent visit to Venezuela, representatives of the Biden administration inquired about opportunities for petroleum imports to the United States.
American efforts toward the authoritarian government in Caracas come despite sanctions placed against Venezuelan oil exports in 2019 by the Trump administration. The Biden administration may ease those sanctions in order to win oil contracts with Venezuela.
According to the human-freedom index published by the Fraser Institute, a Canadian think tank, Russia ranks better than Qatar in both personal and economic freedom. Venezuela ranks 164th in the Fraser index, which is second to last. Only Syria scores worse.
Sven R. Larson is a political economist and author. He received a Ph.D. in Economics from Roskilde University, Denmark. Originally from Sweden, he lives in America where for the past 16 years he has worked in politics and public policy. He has written several books, including Democracy or Socialism: The Fateful Question for America in 2024.