Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy
Rising Power, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy - Michael Klare
"...the problem of “energy security”—as it is widely termed—has climbed toward the top rung of the international ladder of unease and concern.12 Not surprisingly, this has fundamentally changed the perception of what constitutes “power” and “influence” in a dramatically altered international system, forcing policymakers to view the global power equation in entirely new ways."
"Scientists are avidly seeking ways to develop a new spectrum of fuels to replace those now at risk of depletion while releasing far fewer or zero climate-altering “greenhouse gases” into the atmosphere. But no major energy-consuming nation has yet devoted sufficient resources to this problem to ensure that these alternatives will be available on a large enough scale to replace existing energy sources in the foreseeable future. As a result, government and corporate officials alike continue to view fossil fuels (oil, coal, and natural gas) as the world’s principal energy source for some time to come. According to the DoE, these fuels will still be satisfying an estimated 87 percent of global energy needs in 2030.10 With both old and new consumers reliant on these traditional fuels—and no practical, plentiful alternatives in sight—the struggle over them is certain to be fierce."
"Why has energy come to play such a pivotal role in world affairs? To begin with, its continued availability—in great profusion—has never been as critical to the healthy operation of the global economy. Energy is required to keep the factories humming, power the cities and suburbs that house the world’s rising population, and produce the crops that feed the planet. Most important, petroleum products are utterly essential to sustain the international sinews of globalization—the planes, trains, trucks, and ships that carry goods and people from one region of the planet to another. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE), world energy output must increase by 57 percent over the next quarter century—from approximately 450 to 700 quadrillion British thermal units—in order to satisfy anticipated international demand.5 Without this additional energy, the world economy will fall into recession or depression, the globalization project will fail, and the planet could descend into chaos."
Geopolitics of the Apocalypse - Review
Democracy Now's Amy Goodman interviews Michael Klare, excerpts:
Bill Clinton and Edouard Shevardnadze
"...what really underlies the conflict, and it has to do with the fact that the US has eyed the Caspian Sea, which lies just to the east of Georgia, as an energy corridor for exporting Caspian Sea oil and gas to the West, bypassing Russia. And this was the brainchild of Bill Clinton, who saw an opportunity, when the Soviet Union broke apart, to gain access to Caspian oil and gas, but he didn’t want this new energy to flow through Russia or through Iran, which were the only natural ways to export the energy."
Pipeline through Georgia
"So he anointed Georgia as a bridge, to build new pipelines through Georgia to the West. And it was he who masterminded the construction of the BTC pipeline, which is now the outlet for this oil, with new pipelines supposedly following for natural gas. And he chose Georgia for this purpose and also built up the Georgian military to protect the pipeline, and Russia has been furious about this ever since. And I think that’s the reason that they have clung so tightly to Abkhazia and South Ossetia ever since."
Military base in Gori, Georgia
" we’ve poured hundreds of millions of dollars into beefing up the Georgian military. And this is unmistakable in the State Department and military Department of Defense justifications for arming the Georgian military, specifically to protect the BTC pipeline against sabotage and attack. So, looking into the Pentagon and State Department documents, there’s no question that this is about energy security, not about democracy or human rights or the other justifications that have been given."
Putin and Bush - The US should learn to live with the new Russia
"...it is the ambition of the Russian leadership, especially Vladimir Putin, to dominate the flow of oil and natural gas from the Caspian Sea to Europe, so they could maximize the profit and the political advantage of dominating the flow of Caspian energy to Europe. And by building these alternate pipelines, the US is trying to undercut Russia’s political and economic power in Europe. That’s what this is about. It’s a geopolitical contest between the US and Europe for—between the US and Russia for influence in Europe.
So, by clinging to these enclaves, this is Russia’s insurance policy, I guess you could call it, or veto power, over the American strategy, because they’re saying, “From our positions in these enclaves, we can sever those pipelines whenever we want,” which is exactly what they attempted to do this week."