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This Week at ISN
17 – 21 March 2014

Our Weekly Editorial Roundup
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//    What is the Geopolitical Status of Oil in a Transitional Age?
It may be a truism that having 'safe and secure' access to oil is an important determinant of a state's power, but do we live in a safe and secure age? The growing ability of certain nations to obtain energy through unconventional means seems to suggest otherwise, and points to a period of economic and geopolitical uncertainty. On the positive side, at least to some, this pending instability doesn't mean that traditional oil suppliers will be 'dead in the water'. There are, after all, the demands of energy-hungry China and other emerging powers to meet. On the negative side, having access to abundant oil supplies won't mean that you will prosper or maintain a state's power – just ask South Sudan. » More

Oil Security and Conventional War: Lessons From a China-Taiwan Air Scenario
17 March 2014

Oil is both an important factor in a state's security policy and a key determinant of its geopolitical behavior, says Rosemary Kelanic. To demonstrate her point, today she sketches out a conflict between China and Taiwan and the role that oil would play in their strategic calculations. » More

America's Energy Edge: The Geopolitical Consequences of the Shale Revolution
18 March 2014

Is America's shale-based energy revolution having at least one expected effect? Yes, say Robert Blackwill and Meghan O'Sullivan. In the case of global energy production, it's facilitating a gradual shift away from traditional suppliers in Eurasia and the Middle East. » More

China's Economic Engagement in the Middle East and North Africa
19 March 2014

How will traditional oil producers in the greater Middle East offset the rise of shale oil and other unconventional sources of energy? Look no further than the world's emerging powers, argues Ted Liu. However, China's investments in the region will definitely alter its balance of power. » More

The Domestic Challenges in The Saudi Energy Market and Their Regional and Geopolitical Implications
20 March 2014

Skyrocketing domestic consumption is cutting into Saudi Arabia's energy export trade, warns Eckart Woetz. In response, the Kingdom needs to rethink how it subsidizes the costs of oil and gas at home, even if it aggravates the tense politics that exist within and outside its borders. » More

Still Waiting for the Bonanza: The Oil Business in South Sudan after 2005
21 March 2014

South Sudan's oil supplies remain susceptible to local mismanagement, corruption and competition. For Leben Nelson Moro, Juba's plight demonstrates that having energy resources doesn't always guarantee a country's power or enhance its security. » More

//    Security Watch
The EU-Russia Energy Game – Who's in the Lead?
17 March 2014

The ongoing crisis in Ukraine may well provoke the European Union to lower its dependence on Russian energy supplies. Will that then sound alarm bells in revenue-dependent Moscow? Not for the next 2-3 years, writes Alexander Gusev. » More

DDR in Eastern DRC - Try, Try Again
18 March 2014

External efforts to implement disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) measures in the Democratic Republic of Congo fail regularly. Today, IRIN explains why this is the case and how a current DDR initiative could reverse this pattern. » More

Karzai's Paranoia Threatens Afghan Security
19 March 2014

Hamid Karzai's failure to sign a post-2014 bilateral security agreement with the United States has put him at odds with Washington and a large number of his own people. Worse still, warns Patrick Balbierz, his stonewalling is threatening his country's modest security gains and further emboldening the Taliban. » More

Romania: The Chinese Are Coming!
20 March 2014

If you are one of the more recent members of the European Union and feel isolated by the 'old guard', what do you do? In the case of Romania and others, writes Raluca Besliu, you forge an economic and strategic partnership with China. Hmm, maybe it's time for Brussels to reappraise its internal relations. » More

How NATO Can Help Rebuild Ukraine's Defenses
21 March 2014

Can NATO maintain its influence in Ukraine? James Hasik believes so. As he sees it, both Kyiv's defense industry and its role as a leading arms exporter are ideal foundation stones on which the West can protect its ties with this troubled county. » More

//    Blog
Saudi Arabia, Syria and Bin Laden's Ghost
10 March 2014

Was King Abdullah thinking only of Syria when he recently issued a decree forbidding Saudi citizens from participating in external conflicts? Thomas Lippman thinks so, but he also believes that the roots of this decision go all the way back to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. » More

China, India and the Three Cs
18 March 2014

So what are the Three C's that have defined Indo-Chinese relations for decades and are likely to have a profound impact on global politics in the years to come? Herbert Wulf's answer is conflict, competition and cooperation. » More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Alarms Central Asian Strongmen
19 March 2014

Central Asia's leaders are right to view Russia's intervention in Ukraine with trepidation, writes Joanna Lillis and David Trilling. The region continues to host Russian minorities that Moscow might one day feel obliged to 'protect'. » More

Latin America Governed by Crime
20 March 2014

Local government institutions across Latin America are increasingly falling under the influence of organized crime, writes Catalina Uribe Burcher. That's because drug dealers, arms traffickers and other professional criminals are standing for public office and winning elections. » More

Chinese Government Caught Flat-footed by Separatist Attack
21 March 2014

Beijing's hardline policies in Xinjiang have prevented Uyghur separatists from gaining access to sophisticated weapons, writes Justin Hastings. However, the recent incident in Kunming confirms that the militants remain more than capable of launching 'unsophisticated' attacks throughout China. » More

//    Video
Inside the Middle East with Adnan Shihab-Eldin
In this video, Adnan Shihab-Eldin, who is the Director General of the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences, discusses how the increased production of 'unconventional' oil and gas in North America is affecting the way Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members perceive their geopolitical relationships. He also speculates on how changes in the global energy market could affect labor pools within the oil-rich parts of the Middle East. » More

Max Boot on Guerilla Warfare
In this video, the CFR's Max Boot discusses his book "Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present," which argues that the biggest historical changes in this type of war have been attributable to the 3 P's – politics, propaganda and public opinion. » More

World Energy China Outlook
In this video, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Xiaojie Xu discusses the "World Energy China Outlook" report, which examines world energy trends from Beijing's perspective. In doing so, Xu focuses particularly on energy development and security in China, advocates specific policies that the Chinese government should follow, and speculates on the nation's energy future. » More

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Next week's theme: The Future of Energy Security

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