To date, one of President Donald Trump’s biggest achievements has been unleashing the American energy industry. Early in his tenure, he took direct action on energy, demolishing regulations and promoting the energy sector through executive action. Likewise, he withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Accord, which would have negatively affected America’s energy industry. In a speech from late June, he also discussed some future projects, including expanding the US nuclear energy sector, making it easier to finance overseas coal energy plants, a new petroleum pipeline to Mexico and the creation of a new offshore oil and gas leasing program.
In the same month, the United States delivered its first ever liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipment to Poland. In July, Trump wasn’t exactly shy about promoting US LNG exports at the Three Seas Initiative Summit in Warsaw. Some of the attendees, besides Poland, included Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. Well, Trump gleefully told them “We are sitting on massive energy and we are now exporters of energy. So, if one of you needs energy, just give us a call.” He’s right. The data strongly suggests the United States will be a net exporter of natural gas on an average annual basis by 2018. The US is on track to “become one of the world’s top gas exporters by 2020.” Unsurprisingly, it was reported in July that Poland expected to sign a long-term deal for US LNG. In addition, Lithuania signed a deal to receive US LNG for the first time.
It’s not just liquefied natural gas. The coal industry has seen a huge bump since Trump took office. In fact, US coal exports are up more than 60 percent this year. There has been a 175 percent increase in shipments to the United Kingdom alone, and the number of shipments to France has doubled. It’s not just Europe. The Department of Energy announced on Twitter in late July that “Ukrainian state-owned power company Centrenergo PJSC will purchase American thermal coal ahead of the upcoming winter season.”
While this is obviously great news for the American economy, it will definitely have a negative impact on other energy-exporting countries, most notably Russia. I mean, just look at the countries that are going to be using American energy. Ukraine isn’t exactly on friendly terms with Russia right now, and they’re buying American thermal coal. Poland and Lithuania are both highly suspicious of Russia, and they’re both buying US LNG. What about the UK and France? They’re clearly storing up coal for the winter so they aren’t as reliant on Russian energy during the high-demand winter months.
The significance of all this hasn’t been lost on President Trump. Indeed, a CNBC article summarized his thoughts in July, saying “Trump pitches US natural gas to European leaders, suggests Russian gas holds them hostage.” Trump’s exact quote was “We are committed to securing your access to alternate sources of energy, so Poland and its neighbors are never again held hostage to a single supplier of energy.”
That’s right, Trump is poking the Russian bear and there’s really nothing Russia can do to protect its energy monopoly on Europe. While the Russian economy may not take a major hit, although it will definitely be affected, Russian influence will suffer greatly. It’ll be a lot more difficult for Russia to exert influence over the Baltic States and Central Europe when they aren’t held hostage by Russian natural gas.
Just as a reminder, the Antichrist will be an underdog from the East taking on the global elites of the West. He’s described as a ‘little horn’ from Russia who rises to power in Syria with a small group. Obviously, Russia is already in Syria. Well, waning influence abroad and economic contraction at home is generally a recipe for one thing: war. In other words, with less influence in Europe and a contracting economy, Russia is likely going to cling more tightly to its only military foothold in the Middle East: Syria.