Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Global Petroleum Showdown

Since I am clearly an expert on international politics, energy policy, and diplomacy, I thought I would take a few minutes to investigate the impending international conflicts over access to petroleum-based energy.

From today's NYTimes
House Advances Iran Sanctions Bill

Seems that the United States would like to add a potentially severe economic penalty to any country that would dare question our wholehearted desire to promote democracy and freedom in the Middle East. Well, since China and Iran have a mutually beneficial relationship to the tune of $9.5 billion a year (up 23% in 2005) in trade, we'll be annoying our symbiotic partner, China, in the Pacific Ocean Freighter Exchange.

The commentary in the Asia Times from February 10, 2006,
China's energy insecurity and Iran's crisis, indicates that it is more important for China to maintain a friendly relationship with the United States than pursue energy deals with Iran, potentially helping them fuel their nuclear energy aspirations. According to the Energy Information Agency, China's dependence on foreign oil reached 40% in 2004 and their growing economy accounted for about 1/3 of the global demand-increase from 2001-2004. It is clear that a stable Middle East/Persian Gulf is critical to China's continued growth.

Speaking of nuclear energy and economic growth, what about India? Various headlines from The Economist to Pravda have weighed in on President Bush's recent visit to India and subsequent deal with the government of India to share nuclear energy technology.

Dr Strangedeal

George Bush thinks nuclear agreement with India could help lower fuel prices

It will remain to be seen how the decision to share nuclear technology with India, a country sanctioned by the United States in 1998 for their nuclear testing, will affect long-term energy prices and nuclear weapons proliferation. With these mixed signals received by Iran and North Korea, the international negotiations with these countries over the next few years should be interesting.

In the words of Senator Lieberman (D-CT)
We are heading towards two-thirds [reliance of] each country on ... foreign oil. Let's recognize this problem before it becomes an intense competition which can actually lead to military conflict.
Is this the beginning of Senator Barack Obama's 2008 campaign platform?

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