US Energy Independence Could Mean More Mideast Turmoil

Friday, 24 May 2013 08:07 AM

By John Morgan

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Surging U.S. oil production will stir the pot of Mideast geopolitics because it means energy security will no longer dictate American foreign policy, according to an analysis by the Voice of America, a U.S. government-sponsored news and information broadcaster.

A report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) concludes a jump in new U.S. oil supplies will lead ultimately to our nation's energy independence.

In the meantime, the growing "supply shock" from the steady increase is expected to have a "huge impact on international relations and the balance of power," the VOA said.

Editor's Note:
Economist Warns: ‘Money From Heaven a Path to Hell.’ See Evidence.

John Mitchell, an oil market analyst at Chatham House in London, asked, "Will the Middle East still be so dependent on U.S. military support? I am sure the answer is probably yes, but maybe the U.S. does not have quite the same interest in that as it did before."

Christopher Davidson of the University of Durham in England, author of "After the Sheikhs: The Coming Collapse of the Gulf Monarchies," sees a profound impact on the Mideast from an energy-independent United States.

"What we are also likely to see is the United States start to hedge its positions a bit better on the Gulf monarchies," Davidson said. "As it loses the dependent nature of this economic partnership, we are perhaps starting to see the U.S. already starting to reach out to opposition groups in Bahrain, for example, and increasingly in Saudi Arabia."

Davidson told VOA that the oil-rich Gulf states are trying to calm popular unrest with government handouts, but that falling oil export receipts could make that more difficult.

"Within just a couple of years we'll have a public spending deficit in most of the Gulf monarchies," Davidson said. "At the same time, we are also seeing the demonstration effect of the Arab Spring in Syria and north Africa starting to embolden the people of these countries. They are no longer willing to tolerate autocracy."

While Mideast oil countries may pivot more toward Asia for their exports, Davidson said, China and other Pacific nations would not be able to guarantee Mideast security.

But U.S. government officials are trying to reassure Mideast allies on the energy issue, according to The Hill.

In a speech last month, National Security Adviser Tom Donilon maintained decreasing U.S. oil imports will not lead to a reduction in our diplomatic and security focus on the Middle East and elsewhere.

"Reduced energy imports do not mean the United States can or should disengage from the Middle East or the world," he said at the opening of Columbia University's Center on Global Energy Policy, The Hill reported

"Global energy markets are part of a deeply interdependent world economy. The United States continues to have an enduring interest in stable supplies of energy and the free flow of commerce everywhere," Donilon added.

Editor's Note: Economist Warns: ‘Money From Heaven a Path to Hell.’ See Evidence.

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