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Klare - Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet (2008) - Synopsis

Klare - Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet (2008) - Synopsis

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Published by Mark K. Jensen
Synopsis of Michael T. Klare, Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy (New York: Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt, 2008). Discussed at Digging Deeper (www.ufppc.org) on August 11, 2008.
Synopsis of Michael T. Klare, Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy (New York: Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt, 2008). Discussed at Digging Deeper (www.ufppc.org) on August 11, 2008.

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Published by: Mark K. Jensen on May 29, 2009
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UFPPC (www.ufppc.org) Digging Deeper LIII: August 11, 2008, 7:00 p.m.
Michael T. Klare,
Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy 
(New York: Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt, 2008).Prologue: The Unocal Affair.
Apolitical firestorm in the U.S. forcedChina’s CNOOC to withdraw its $18.5bnoffer to buy Unocal in 2005 (1-6). Theaffair “offered the first window into theglobal fear of resource scarcity and thenew geopolitics of energy that will likelyaccompany it” (6; 6-8).
Ch. 1: Altered States.
The importanceof energy for economics and militaryforces combined with growing demandand increasing scarcity has elevated theproblem of energy security (9-14), whichis radically different for energy-surplusand energy-deficit countries (14-17).National oil companies rather thaninternational energy companies areincreasingly prominent (17-20). Energy-deficit countries are seeking strongstrategic ties to energy-surplus countries(20-21). In both, states exhibit “resourcenationalism” (sometimes called “neo-mercantilism”) and are playingincreasingly commanding roles, e.g.Russia and the U.S. (21-26).Policymakers are growing more anxiousand even hysterical (26-31).
Ch. 2: Seeking More, Finding Less.
Evidence that peak oil is at hand isconvincing skeptics and experts (32-43).As a substitute fuel for oil, natural gas,extraordinarily concentrated in Iran,Qatar, and Russia (56% of world provenreserves), poses LNG transport andreliability-of-supply problems (43-49).Coal and nuclear power are the leadingalternatives, but these pose supplyproblems, too (49-55). Minerals are alsogrowing scarcer (55-59). Climate changeaccentuates the problems, creating anunprecedented global challenge (59-62).
Ch. 3: The “Chindia” Challenge.
Economic growth, especially in China, butalso in India, has transformed the globalenergy equation (63-65). Review of thehistory of Communist China’s embrace of economic growth (65-68). Domesticsources no longer suffice to provideneeded energy and materials for China’sgrowth (68-73). CCP general secretaryHu Jintao has focused on China’s energyneeds (73-77). Beginning in 1984,India’s economy is growing at almost10% a year (77-82). Rather thancompete, India is trying to cooperate withChina (82-85). The rest of the world hasshown increasing anxiety over thechallenge from “Chindia” (85-88).
Ch. 4: An Energy Juggernaut.
SincePutin’s election (2000), Russia hasresumed its prominence in energyproduction; Europe is largely dependenton Russia for its natural gas supply (88-91). Putin, who in the mid-1990s earneda doctorate from the St. PetersburgMining Institute, and who sees Russia’sstate management of raw materials as acentral economic and strategic factor,effected a take-over of Yukos in 2003-2005 (91-96). Putin also engineered thegovernment’s takeover of Gazprom, theworld’s largest natural gas producer, aswell as a manipulation of environmentalregulations to effect Gazprom’s takeoverof Sakhalin-2 hydrocarbon developmentproject (96-101). U.S.-Russia cooperationhas soured (101-04). Putin has beenplaying China and Japan against eachother as destinations for marketing itsEast Siberian oil and gas reserves (104-08). Smaller states like Ukraine, Georgia,and Belarus have also had “the energycudgel” wielded against them, andEurope can expect the same (108-12).Russia’s Gazprom has also acquiredparticipation or control of foreignpipelines and Central Asian oil and gasand asserted rights in the Arctic, andPutin is likely to remain dominant inRussia under Medvedev’s presidency(112-14).
Ch. 5: Draining the Caspian.
In asurprising geopolitical development, thehydrocarbon gold rush in Caspian Seabasin and Central Asia has made this“the cockpit for a 21
-century energyversion of the imperial ‘Great Game’ of the 19
century” (115; 115-17). Thearea was developed from the 1880s to1914 by the Nobels and Rothschilds, butwas neglected under Soviet rule (117-18). Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan,Uzbekistan, and Azerbaijan haveabundant oil & gas (118-23). Chevronwas the first foreign company to enterthis land-locked region in post-Soviet era;under Clinton, the U.S. government tookthe lead in promoting pipelines (124-28).Since the mid-1990s Russia has been jockeying skillfully for access andinfluence (128-32). China has begunpursuing strategic interests in the region,esp. Kazakhstan (132-37). So have India,Pakistan, Japan, S. Korea, Turkey, andvarious European countries (137-41). Forthe region, this means authoritarian,corrupt, unstable regimes (142-45).
Ch. 6: The Global Assault on Africa’sVital Resources.
A new “scramble forAfrica” and its resources is underway(147-50). Oil and gas are mostimportant, esp. in Algeria, Angola, Libya,Nigeria, and Sudan (150-55). Forgeographical reasons, European energyfirms are leading the way (155-57). Withstrong White House and Pentagonbacking, U.S. firms have moved into thearea since the 1990s, but especiallyunder G.W. Bush (157-64). So has China,since the mid-1990s (164-71). U.S.policymakers are apprehensive aboutChina’s incursion (171-74). The resultingwealth is being siphoned off by elites(174-76).
Ch. 7: Encroaching on an “AmericanLake.”
The U.S. has sought to make thePersian Gulf an ‘American lake’ (177-82). The U.S. has been involved in the regionsince WWII (182-86). “Securitychallenges” to U.S. dominance includeIraqi resistance, Saudi Arabian instability,and Iranian ambitions (186-92). U.S. haspromoted U.S. companies in the region(192-94). But China (194-201), Japan(201-03), India (203-05), and Russia(205-08) have succeeded in makinginroads. Whether deliberately or not,their efforts are “slowly eroding theoverbearing American role in the PersianGulf” (209).
Ch. 8: Crossing a Threshold.
There isa growing risk of “Great Powerconfrontation” due to a variety of factors(210). Arms transfers are being used asdiplomatic tools (211-19). “Gunboatdiplomacy” is being used to sendmessages in the Persian Gulf, the EastChina Sea, and the Caspian Sea (220-25).Bases and ground forces have a similareffect, as in Georgia and Central Asia(225-27). “Proto-blocs” are developing inEurasia: (1) the Shanghai CooperationOrganization (China, Russia, CentralAsian nations), and (2) the U.S., Japan,Australia, South Korea, Indonesia, India,and Vietnam (227-36). At present, aviolent clash is still unlikely (236-37).
Ch. 9: Averting Catastrophe.
Devising a strategy to avoid majorconflict should be a policy priority (238-44). The problem of the U.S.-Chinarelationship is pivotal; they should seekto find and develop common interests(241-49). Both might collaborate to findpetroleum alternatives (249-52) anddevelop “a new industrial paradigm”(252-55). The problem of carbonsequestration from coal burning is urgent(256-58). Japan-China and India-EU areother possible collaborative partnerships(258-59). Such partnerships might“possibly create a new dynamic” (259-261). “Make no mistake: Rising powers /shrinking planet is a dangerous formula.Addressing the interlocking challenges of resource competition, energy shortages,and climate change will be among themost difficult problems facing the humancommunity. If we continue to extract andconsume the planet’s vital resources in

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