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Klare, Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy (New York: Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt, 2008). Prologue: The Unocal Affair. A political firestorm in the U.S. forced China’s CNOOC to withdraw its $18.5bn offer to buy Unocal in 2005 (1-6). The affair “offered the first window into the global fear of resource scarcity and the new geopolitics of energy that will likely accompany it” (6; 6-8). Ch. 1: Altered States. The importance of energy for economics and military forces combined with growing demand and increasing scarcity has elevated the problem of energy security (9-14), which is radically different for energy-surplus and energy-deficit countries (14-17). National oil companies rather than international energy companies are increasingly prominent (17-20). Energydeficit countries are seeking strong strategic ties to energy-surplus countries (20-21). In both, states exhibit “resource nationalism” (sometimes called “neomercantilism”) and are playing increasingly commanding roles, e.g. Russia and the U.S. (21-26). Policymakers are growing more anxious and even hysterical (26-31). Ch. 2: Seeking More, Finding Less. Evidence that peak oil is at hand is convincing skeptics and experts (32-43). As a substitute fuel for oil, natural gas, extraordinarily concentrated in Iran, Qatar, and Russia (56% of world proven reserves), poses LNG transport and reliability-of-supply problems (43-49). Coal and nuclear power are the leading alternatives, but these pose supply problems, too (49-55). Minerals are also growing scarcer (55-59). Climate change accentuates the problems, creating an unprecedented global challenge (59-62). Ch. 3: The “Chindia” Challenge. Economic growth, especially in China, but also in India, has transformed the global energy equation (63-65). Review of the history of Communist China’s embrace of economic growth (65-68). Domestic sources no longer suffice to provide needed energy and materials for China’s growth (68-73). CCP general secretary Hu Jintao has focused on China’s energy needs (73-77). Beginning in 1984, India’s economy is growing at almost 10% a year (77-82). Rather than compete, India is trying to cooperate with China (82-85). The rest of the world has shown increasing anxiety over the challenge from “Chindia” (85-88). Ch. 4: An Energy Juggernaut. Since Putin’s election (2000), Russia has resumed its prominence in energy production; Europe is largely dependent on Russia for its natural gas supply (8891). Putin, who in the mid-1990s earned a doctorate from the St. Petersburg Mining Institute, and who sees Russia’s state management of raw materials as a central economic and strategic factor, effected a take-over of Yukos in 20032005 (91-96). Putin also engineered the government’s takeover of Gazprom, the world’s largest natural gas producer, as well as a manipulation of environmental regulations to effect Gazprom’s takeover of Sakhalin-2 hydrocarbon development project (96-101). U.S.-Russia cooperation has soured (101-04). Putin has been playing China and Japan against each other as destinations for marketing its East Siberian oil and gas reserves (10408). Smaller states like Ukraine, Georgia, and Belarus have also had “the energy cudgel” wielded against them, and Europe can expect the same (108-12). Russia’s Gazprom has also acquired participation or control of foreign pipelines and Central Asian oil and gas and asserted rights in the Arctic, and Putin is likely to remain dominant in Russia under Medvedev’s presidency (112-14).
Ch. 5: Draining the Caspian. In a surprising geopolitical development, the hydrocarbon gold rush in Caspian Sea basin and Central Asia has made this “the cockpit for a 21st-century energy version of the imperial ‘Great Game’ of the 19th century” (115; 115-17). The area was developed from the 1880s to 1914 by the Nobels and Rothschilds, but was neglected under Soviet rule (11718). Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Azerbaijan have abundant oil & gas (118-23). Chevron was the first foreign company to enter this land-locked region in post-Soviet era; under Clinton, the U.S. government took the lead in promoting pipelines (124-28). Since the mid-1990s Russia has been jockeying skillfully for access and influence (128-32). China has begun pursuing strategic interests in the region, esp. Kazakhstan (132-37). So have India, Pakistan, Japan, S. Korea, Turkey, and various European countries (137-41). For the region, this means authoritarian, corrupt, unstable regimes (142-45). Ch. 6: The Global Assault on Africa’s Vital Resources. A new “scramble for Africa” and its resources is underway (147-50). Oil and gas are most important, esp. in Algeria, Angola, Libya, Nigeria, and Sudan (150-55). For geographical reasons, European energy firms are leading the way (155-57). With strong White House and Pentagon backing, U.S. firms have moved into the area since the 1990s, but especially under G.W. Bush (157-64). So has China, since the mid-1990s (164-71). U.S. policymakers are apprehensive about China’s incursion (171-74). The resulting wealth is being siphoned off by elites (174-76). Ch. 7: Encroaching on an “American Lake.” The U.S. has sought to make the Persian Gulf an ‘American lake’ (177-82). The U.S. has been involved in the region since WWII (182-86). “Security challenges” to U.S. dominance include
Iraqi resistance, Saudi Arabian instability, and Iranian ambitions (186-92). U.S. has promoted 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 making inroads. Whether deliberately or not, their efforts are “slowly eroding the overbearing American role in the Persian Gulf” (209). Ch. 8: Crossing a Threshold. There is a growing risk of “Great Power confrontation” due to a variety of factors (210). Arms transfers are being used as diplomatic tools (211-19). “Gunboat diplomacy” is being used to send messages in the Persian Gulf, the East China Sea, and the Caspian Sea (220-25). Bases and ground forces have a similar effect, as in Georgia and Central Asia (225-27). “Proto-blocs” are developing in Eurasia: (1) the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (China, Russia, Central Asian nations), and (2) the U.S., Japan, Australia, South Korea, Indonesia, India, and Vietnam (227-36). At present, a violent clash is still unlikely (236-37). Ch. 9: Averting Catastrophe. Devising a strategy to avoid major conflict should be a policy priority (23844). The problem of the U.S.-China relationship is pivotal; they should seek to find and develop common interests (241-49). Both might collaborate to find petroleum alternatives (249-52) and develop “a new industrial paradigm” (252-55). The problem of carbon sequestration from coal burning is urgent (256-58). Japan-China and India-EU are other possible collaborative partnerships (258-59). Such partnerships might “possibly create a new dynamic” (259261). “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 the most difficult problems facing the human community. If we continue to extract and consume the planet’s vital resources in
the same improvident fashion as in the past, we will, sooner rather than later, transform the earth into a barely habitable scene of desolation. And if the leaders of today’s Great Powers behave like those of previous epochs—relying on military instruments to achieve their primary objectives—we will witness unending crisis and conflict over what remains of value on our barren wasteland. This can only be avoided by redirecting the competitive impulses now channeled into the hunt for vital resources into a cooperative effort to develop new sources of energy and climate-friendly industrial processes. . . . We must choose this course for the sake of all humanity’s children” (261). Notes. 64 pp. Acknowledgments. Publisher Sara Bershtel and editor Tom Engelhardt. Daniel Volman for help on Africa. Students. Partner, Andrea Ayvasian, and their son, Sasha Klare-Ayvasian (now a student at Oberlin).
Index. 9 pp. [About the Author. Michael T. Klare earned his B.A. (1963) and M.A. (1968) from Columbia University and his Ph.D. from the Graduate School of the Union Institute (1976). He directed the Program on Militarism and Disarmament at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. from 1977 to 1984. Since then he has taught at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, and is currently director of the Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies. He is the author of thirteen books, including Resource Wars (2001) and Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America’s Growing Dependency on Imported Petroleum (2004). He writes frequently for The Nation and Mother Jones, and serves on the board of directors of Human Rights Watch and the Arms Control Association. Klare also delivers papers at government-organized conferences. He was the keynote speaker at the May 2005 “Beyond Oil” conference in Seattle.]
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