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Keep Your Eye on the Business Page

It's hard not to detect the influence of oil and gas wealth in the international events of the week. At the G-8 meeting in Russia, Vladimir Putin will be calling more shots than usual because Europe is, more than ever before, dependent on Russian natural gas. Russia's influence will extend years into the future as the West, China and India scramble to plan trade deals and pipeline projects to fuel their futures, with Russia's hand on the spigot.

As for the Middle East fighting, where would Hezbollah be without funding from oil-rich Iran? No, I'm not saying the world is run entirely by energy executives, a la Syriana. But I'd say it's always helpful to watch the business page during times like these, as well as the front page. By the way, a barrel of crude is now at $78.