WATCH: Global Energy Markets and Geopolitics
Government foreign policy types pay little attention to energy policy and energy markets. Business types look at the world through the lens of markets and new technologies, paying little heed to what is going on in the world of geopolitics.
Understanding the world requires the synthesis of both viewpoints, argues Meghan O’Sullivan, in her new book Windfall: How the New Energy Abundance Upends Global Politics and Strengthens America’s Power.
A case in point: the fall of the Soviet Union. The conventional wisdom in the west is that the USSR collapsed under its own weight of bureaucratic inefficiency. But Yegor Gaidar, a former acting prime minister of Russia, posited in his 2007 book Collapse of an Empire that the collapse was precipitated by a wave of low oil prices in the late 1980s, which cut the revenues the Soviet Union was using to prop up failing sectors of its economy, such as agriculture.
Another example: Israel’s recent rapprochement with Turkey may have been motivated by Israel’s desire the sell natural gas through Turkey.
Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy recently hosted a discussion with O’Sullivan, a Professor of the Practice of International Affairs and the Director of the Geopolitics of Energy Project at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, and former Special Assistant to President George W. Bush, and former Deputy National Security Advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan.
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