Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Dark Side of Energy Independence

I found this New York Times article particularly interesting having read a recent post at Gail the Actuary’s (aka Gail Tverberg) "Our Finite World" site titled "How Oil Exporters Reach Financial Collapse"

The Dark Side of Energy Independence -
...oil could fall to just $50 a barrel within the next two years, which could unleash unrest in regions crucial to American interests. Far from releasing the United States from the burden of global leadership, this process would force Washington to assume an even greater international role than it currently plays. 
Graphic from "Our Finite World"
If there’s one part of the world that America would like to be less encumbered by, it’s the volatile and oil-rich Middle East. But energy independence will not spell the end of American engagement in that region. On the contrary, lower energy prices will undermine the stability of the Persian Gulf monarchies, whose hefty oil revenues have allowed them to win their populations’ loyalties through patronage and a lack of taxation. These countries do not always share American values or help advance American interests, but anything that destabilizes them would create problems that Washington could not afford to ignore.
Graphic from "Our Finite World" 
Americans should cheer the energy revolution. It will do wonders for the American economy, and the democratic politics it could encourage in the Middle East and Russia may ultimately serve American interests. But in the meantime, Washington should expect a world far less stable than the one it is used to — and, in turn, prepare to adopt an even more outward-looking foreign policy.
Continue reading at the New York Times

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