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U.S. secret weapon to thwart Putin?

(Click for video linked to a searchable transcript of this Mad Money segment)

Chatter on Wall Street suggests that the U.S. wants to develop a secret weapon to thwart Vladimir Putin.

According to the chatter, it's a modern evolution of gas warfare.

But before anyone invokes the Geneva Conventions, this weapon won't violate any humanitarian treaties.

That is, according to a story in the New York Times, the Obama administration is interested in using our nation's glut of natural gas to help ease Europe's dependence on gas exported by Russia.

The belief is that Moscow's influence over many European nations should ebb, if the need for Russian gas ebbs too.

And it would seem that the U.S. generates enough nat gas to make a substantial dent in Russia.

"We have a gigantic glut in natural gas here in America, such a surfeit of the stuff that we literally burn off more of it in the oil exploration process than we actually use to heat our homes," Jim Cramer noted.

Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Sasha Mordovets | Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The rumored strategy seems like a no-brainer except for one major problem.

"We don't have most of the infrastructure needed to ship liquefied natural gas, the only form that can be transported by sea to Europe," said the "Mad Money" host.

And it doesn't look like that's going to change anytime soon. Only one plant is coming online by 2016. "That's Cheniere's Louisiana facility," Cramer added.

Although it promises to be a large-scale operation, Cramer's research shows the natural gas Cheniere plans to export is already promised to buyers. "And none of those buyers currently depend upon Russian gas," Cramer explained.

Although Cramer concedes that two other plants may come online within the next 5 years, he doesn't believe the capacity would be nearly enough to make any meaningful difference in Europe's dependence on Russia's energy.

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Cramer feels that if the administration does want to leverage America's vast energy reserves as a weapon against Putin, it needs to embrace nat gas for domestic needs and speed up the expensive, time-consuming process of building natural gas export facilities.

Until that happens, Cramer doesn't think the abundance of natural gas in the U.S. presents a threat to Putin, whatsoever.

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