Symposium: The Geopolitics of U.S. Energy Independence
Question to authors:
It is possible that within a decade the United States will become an energy exporter as a result of new deep drilling oil exploration and natural gas shale "fracking" techniques, as predicted by noted energy expert Phil Vedeger in the lead article of the Spring 2012 issue of The International Economy.
How would or should U.S. foreign policy change in this new era of energy independence? Would America become less concerned with providing military security in the Middle East? What would this mean for the future of U.S.-Israeli relations? With the European countries becoming more dependent on Russia for energy supplies (at potentially far higher costs than Americans would face), and with Russia and Germany becoming closer economic partners, what are the implications for the future of NATO? On a broader note, to what extent would U.S. energy independence bolster isolationist foreign policy tendencies already in force in the United States?
An energy self-sufficient United States will have a particularly dramatic impact on the Middle East. First, Washington will be largely freed from having to kow-tow to the oil and gas pashas. Second, a loss of control over the price of energy will weaken the perceived strength of the oil-exporting countries. Third, they will probably experience lowered income.
In all, one of the core reasons that make the Middle East so prominent in world affairs will diminish and with it the outsized presence of the region on the world scene. As it is a region suffering from deep maladies – extremist ideologies, conspiracy theories, tyranny, a culture of cruelty, a tribal social order, and more – that lesser role will be a healthy change. No longer quite so buoyed by energy revenue power and money, perhaps a more sincere confrontation with modernity will take place.
In short, U.S. energy independence promises many benefits in the Middle East.
Related Topics: Oil & Gas | Daniel Pipes
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