February 12, 2018

Energy Is America’s New Power

By ​Neil Bhatiya

When the Donald Trump administration released its National Security Strategy in December 2017, it celebrated the arrival of the United States as an energy-dominant world power. The production and export of U.S. oil and natural gas were a departure from previous decades, in which fears over scarcity and import dependency drove much of the country’s involvement in turbulent regions, most notably the Middle East. The new energy abundance, by contrast, puts the United States in an enviable geopolitical position. The report, which outlines America’s security concerns to Congress, explicitly states: “As a growing supplier of energy resources, technologies, and services around the world, the United States will help our allies and partners become more resilient against those that use energy to coerce.”

The prevalence of energy in a security strategy would not come as a surprise to Meghan O’Sullivan, former Deputy National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush for Iraq and Afghanistan, whose new book Windfall: How the New Energy Abundance Upends Global Politics and Strengthens America’s Power charts how U.S. oil and gas production has and will continue to recast geopolitics in the years to come. At a time when U.S. influence seems to be eroding abroad, accelerated by a mix of long- and short-term factors including the current U.S. President’s approach to diplomacy, energy remains a space where the country still maintains significant advantages. As O’Sullivan describes, U.S. energy abundance provides a range of opportunities, if Washington is smart enough to seize them.

Read the full article in The Cairo Review of Global Affairs.

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