Modern countries need ever increasing amounts of oil, gas and other fuels to run their economies. It is the life-blood. As globalization lifts millions out of poverty, the demand for energy worldwide will continue to grow, and we risk ending up with a volatile, “beggar thy neighbor” style of competition between countries to control sources of supply, especially in the developing world.
Even casual newspaper readers have become aware that there are very strong links between growth in energy demand, economic development, security, and foreign policy. Precisely what these links comprise is not always clear. The problems of energy “dependence,” “independence,” and “interdependence” are being debated in a burgeoning literature for both laymen and specialists. The deployment of oil as a political weapon occurred most manifestly during the 1973-74 Arab embargo. More recently, Iraq’s invasion and Russia’s use of gas as the Kremlin’s instrument of choice in relations with other C.I.S. countries and the EU came to the spotlight, as did China’s expanding acquisitions of energy assets worldwide1.