According to information linked to by Glenn Reynolds, the New World is poised to become the center of gravity for oil production by the end of this decade. There is as much as 2 Trillion Barrels in the US; another 2 trillion in South America and 2.4 Trillion reserves in Canada.
This affects the Middle East but it hits Russia even more. Over the last decade two of their big earners have been oil exports and aerospace. These have been just about the only sources of national power they have. Oil and gas exports have been used as a carrot and stick against the Europeans. The need for Soyuz launches to the International (but mostly US funded) Space Station have softened reactions from the US congress. The Russians know the US can only make noises about sales to Iran and others like them because ISS is and has been essentially hostage to their good graces for years.
SpaceX and American companies like them are about to shift the center of gravity for space systems back to US dominance. This has huge geopolitical implications. Cargo and crew flights to ISS will be fungible. If the Russians threaten a stand down, all that is needed to counter it are extra purchases from an American provider. That assumes we are even still buying Soyuz as the desire for Congressional ‘pork’ will almost certainly be overwhelming. It will result in a ‘buy American’ requirement for all US Government space flight as soon as SpaceX proves they can handle the job. On top of it all, if SpaceX delivers on the low prices it is quoting, and there is no reason to believe they will not, Russia and China and Europe are all going to be priced out of the commercial launch business in short order.
That is why the Russians are not happy about the SpaceX Dragon rendezvous and docking with ISS in December. With that docking and the shift in global energy production the writing is on the wall for Russia. Its days as even a minor world power are numbered. The implications of that are not necessarily good. Russia’s ruling classes have been known to do very bad things when they feel threatened.
Whatever the case, we are going to find out by the end of this decade.