Transforming the U.S. energy policy – Strategic Analysis VS Politics (Part I)
Recently I. Bremmer-President of Eurasia Group and K. Hersh-CEO of NGP Energy Capital Management published an op-ed in the New York Times : “When America stops importing energy”(1) that at first sight can be assessed as innovative strategic thinking predicting a future “energy revolution”.
Nevertheless there are a few rhetorical questions related to the op-ed:
Did the axiom of “resource scarcity “really shape global geopolitics after WWII or was the divide based on an “ideological” axiom? Does the op-ed try to predict or advocate for an energy market where “less power is concentrated in the hands of select producers”? Who are the “select producers”-countries or global energy companies? What would be a “normal” energy market and who would set the standards for this new “normality”?
Does the op-ed advocate for isolationism and a “world where the United States is less involved”? Do Eurasia Group and NGP Energy Capital Management imply that energy has been the driving force behind the U.S. involvement in world affairs? If America will no longer have a strong presence in unstable regions such as the Middle East should the U.S. global energy companies also withdraw from these regions with everything that this would mean for their assets and for the global energy market in general?
What are indeed the predictions about the “new world” after the energy revolution?
Is this op-ed really a strategic analysis of the future of the U.S. energy policy in a world where the geopolitics of energy is here to stay or the authors are trying to shape (sell?) a political agenda?
The complex global energy market requires adaptive strategies for transforming the U.S. energy policy and achieving energy independence. The “energy axiom” has indeed been one of the main elements shaping the global environment since the end of the Cold War and this not because of “energy scarcity” but because energy is a source of geopolitical power and according to the energy axiom every decision in the energy field is political.
The U.S. has the opportunity, the resources and the technologies to become energy independent but it also has the ability to shape the future global energy security environment by not advocating the creation of a fragmented global energy market but above all by not choosing the option of isolationism. Whether or not the U.S. becomes energy independent the geopolitics of energy will continue to be one of the most important elements to determine the global environment and the associated strategic risks. An energy independent America aspiring to become a key energy exporter will have to be a player in this global energy market. This is why isolationism is not an option in times when the rules of functioning of this market are gradually changing and especially not the right approach/example when we consider the consequences of the resource nationalism re-emerging as a new asymmetric threat.
An energy independent America could be a “game changer for international politics and the global economy”… but from the point of view of strategic risk a new world with an energy independent America should not be more volatile, insecure and governed by forces and actors that would induce high levels of instability and insecurity.
The point is not to advocate for global interventionism. From the point view of complexity, in times of globalization a strategy of energy independence based on isolationism is certainly not evolutionary. In terms of long-term strategic thinking the transformation of the U.S. energy policy based on cooperation in the global energy market would be the best approach to build a new world and transform the geopolitics of energy into a developmental tool. Everything else is politics.
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