This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.View Full Document
Unformatted text preview: The Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations Playing the Field: Alleviating US Energy Dependency on the Persian Gulf with Alternative Partners by Michael Coffey E nergy security is poised to become as contentious an issue in the 21st century as ideology was in the 20th. Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for post-Soviet Russia to reclaim its great power status as an energy hegemon that doles out subsidized energy to friendly states and allies, implying that unfriendly states will find themselves short of such supplies in times of crisis. Chinese state-owned oil companies are on a procurement spree worldwide, as Beijing acquires oil and gas from rogue states otherwise ostracized by the world community, buying up stakes in future developments to ensure a long-term flow of energy. President George Bush committed the United States to energy independence (and even self-sufficiency) in his 2006 State of the Union address to Congress when he expressed a desire to make US reliance on Middle Eastern oil “a thing of the past.” 1 Despite the president’s optimism, the goal of eliminating America’s dependency on Persian Gulf oil remains far-fetched. Energy independence for the United States will require as-yet undeveloped technologies and resources and, until these goals are realized, the United States must counterbalance current energy consumption trends by boosting supplies from non–Middle East producers. What follows is an assessment of countries outside of the Middle East that will have a direct impact on Washington’s energy security as the United States works to alleviate its Persian Gulf dependency. Some potential secondary producers of oil and gas that are expected to alleviate US dependency are illustrated in case studies on Azerbaijan, Nigeria, Venezuela, and Trinidad & Tobago. Many of these energy partners share key aspects of insecurity common to developing states; they are often engaged in two of Charles Tilly’s four characteristic state activities. 2 Extraction, primarily conducted through energy rents, allows these regimes to acquire the resources necessary to battle internal rivals. Eliminating internal threats, or state making, is a common preoccupation of developing states. The current international system usually obviates (or precludes) war making against external rivals. Thus, US security assistance to these countries can play a crucial role in supporting the state Michael Coffey is a former linguist and intelligence analyst for the US Navy, as well as editor for Military Periscope . He recently completed an MA in European and Eurasian Studies at George Washington University. 37 COFFEY The Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations making process. Support for states that have a limited capacity to deal with internal threats, precisely because they are rentier states in a formative phase, will help the United States and its energy partners achieve their ultimate security goals....
View Full Document
- Fall '09
- Energy, Peak oil