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US Energy Independence and GeoPolitical Strategy
This is my site Written by Neil Palmquist on May 17, 2013 – 9:55 am

I hate politics, but I love strategy… and when Daniel J. Graeber’s Wednesday 15th article “U.S. Energy Independence Weakens its Power” came out touching on U.S. energy independence and strategy, I couldn’t help but let my mind’s little wheels start spinning. The article touches on political theorist Walter Russell Mead’s reflection nearly a decade ago that superpowers cannot maintain dominance via force into perpetuity and that gaining geopolitical influence over global markets, such as OPEC members did in the 1970’s, is a greater guarantee of superpower continuity. The U.S. has been using wealth and food as its means of “geopolitical influence” for decades now, but gaining a “sticky power” via energy, would trump them all.

It actually makes me cringe a bit to think of the enhancement of power and influence the U.S. would gain should it develop the energy resources (oil production) that are predicted. U.S. wealth is rapidly depleting and food supply is less helpful a resource when it comes to influencing other 1st world political partners. Energy, however, is used in abundance by both first world and developing countries and unfortunately for the world and perhaps ironically fortunate for the U.S., the present predominating oil producing region of the world, the Middle East, seems always on the cusp of war with the United States.

If oil development in the United States follows the predicted path of upwards to over 4 million barrels per day, they not only gain energy independence, but the threat of a near global monopoly. In fact, typical Middle Eastern hatred for the United States could spring such a near monopoly upon the world without even any intentional effort on part of the United States, as a single act of terrorism could result in another retaliatory war that disrupts oil production in the region. However, this time, rather than the war driving the U.S. into further debt, the country prospers as the largest controlling producer of the world’s predominate energy source. Would the U.S. greedily seize upon such power… or behave as the gracious steward. Let us hope the latter.

Perhaps even more concerning, however, are the prospects of a Chinese-US conflict resulting from heightened relations with the Middle East and an energy hungry China. Certainly the U.S.’s growing and direct strength in the industry could prompt such a scenario and while the strategic possibilities are many… and nearly all concerning, this one is uncomfortably plausible and perhaps represents the greatest potential global risk.

Here’s to strategy… and hoping that new hydrogen, solar, and other alternative energy breakthroughs will come and save us from these possibilities.

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