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  Rethinking Energy Statecraft: United StatesForeign Policy and the Changing Geopolitics ofEnergy Morgan Bazilian Columbia University and University of Cambridge Benjamin Sovacool University of Sussex and Aarhus University Todd Moss Center for Global Development and Rice University  Abstract  The United States Administration has an opportunity to foster a new energy statecraft based on the realities of a dynamicand rapidly-changing global energy marketplace. The geopolitical considerations of this energy transition are not well-explored. Additionally, the recent renaissance of oil and gas in the US has reinforced the alluring notion that energy indepen-dence and national energy security are the same thing. But the global nature of energy markets expose this notion as utterlymisleading. A re-envisaged energy statecraft would utilize a variety of US foreign policy and multilateral tools to reform theinternational energy sector, protect the global energy marketplace, and spur investments in new generation and innovation. These steps require building an integrated approach to the multiple energy-security challenges. Energy and security Energy may be central to United States ’  foreign policy, butwe are living in the past. The new administration thus hasan opportunity to foster a new energy statecraft based onthe realities of a dynamic and rapidly-changing globalenergy marketplace. The dominant energy security policy of the United Stateshas long been formalized by the Carter Doctrine, which sta-ted that any effort by a hostile power to block the  󿬂 ow of oil from the Persian Gulf would be viewed as an assault onthe vital interests of the United States, and would berepelled by  ‘ any means necessary, including military force ’ .Of  󿬁 cials continue to interpret energy statecraft largelythrough this oil lens, sometimes accompanied by the ebband  󿬂 ow in popularity of so-called energy independence.However, the massive transitions now apparent in the globalenergy sector, and the technological revolution underway innearly all aspects of modern energy, demand an evolutionin the US foreign policy approach (Bordoff, 2016; Pascualand Elkind, 2010). The US Department of State acknowledges that,  ‘ energy isat the nexus of national security, economic prosperity, andthe environment ’ , and de 󿬁 nes its role as managing  ‘ thegeopolitics of today ’ s energy economy through reinvigo-rated energy diplomacy with major producers andconsumers of energy ’  (Department of State, 2017). TheDepartment added a Bureau of Energy Resources (S/ENR) in2011, and it has, in the past few years, begun movingbeyond a focus solely on issues related to the  󿬂 ow of globalor regional commodities. The US government has turned tothe intricacies of electricity, including issues related to grow-ing regional interconnection, and more focus on distributedtechnologies, diverse generation portfolios, and local auton-omy. But this does not yet go far enough. Multiple energy transitions  The notion of an  ‘ energy transition ’  remains an inchoateconcept. Classically understood to encompass shifts in thenational supply of energy or the discovery of new energyresources, energy transitions are now also conceptualized toinclude transformations in the markets that deliver energy,in addition to conversions in end-use devices such as airconditioners, light bulbs, or engines, or even the  ‘ systems of systems ’  that delivery energy services (Grubler et al., 2016;Sovacool 2016). In its recent formulation, it refers to a con- 󿬂 uence of issues from rapid cost declines in renewableenergy systems like wind and solar, to the US shale  ‘ revolu-tion ’ , to IT advances in smart grids, to innovative new busi-ness and contract models (Grubler, 2012; Smil, 2016). Arecent article cited three dominant themes of the transition ©   2017 University of Durham and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Global Policy (2017) 8:3 doi: 10.1111/1758-5899.12461 Global Policy Volume 8 . Issue 3 . September 2017 422 P r  a c t  i    t  i    on er  C  omm en t   ar   y  as,  “ smarter management of complex systems, data analy-tics, and automation (Victor and Yanosek, 2017). ”  As a resultof these changes, the way energy is produced, distributedand consumed around the world, is undergoing radicalchange. Global economic strength is shifting from devel-oped to developing countries, not coincidentally mirroringshifts in future energy demand and investment. At the sametime, many countries are struggling to upgrade their energysystems to fully support the interlinked requirements of security, sustainability, and economic growth. Additionally,the convergence of physical infrastructure and digital tech-nologies require decision-makers to adapt beyond static20th Century approaches.While the climate change impacts of the transition arebeing well-monitored and being linked to security, 1 less soare the other energy-related considerations. We outline someof the the contours here; each complex on their own: (1) insti-tutional shifts in the in 󿬂 uence and membership of multilateralorganizations like the Organization of Petroleum ExportingCountries (OPEC) and the far smaller International EnergyAgency (IEA); (2) the accelerating growth of trade in naturalgas either through new international pipelines or via a rapidlyexpanding market for lique 󿬁 ed natural gas (LNG); (3) intellec-tual property and R&D issues in the development of cutting-edge clean edge technologies and their trade; (4) issues of cybersecurity that are growing in importance with the rise of interconnected systems and new forms of metering and sys-tem operations; (5) the changing landscape for con 󿬂 ict andother minerals due to these changes in technologies; (6) thegrowing regional interconnection in electricity grids from thesilk road to East Africa; and (7) the enormous issue plaguingdeveloping countries: lingering energy poverty and thedemand for provision of quality and affordable energy ser-vices to billions of people and businesses. It is clear that theseareas go well beyond technology.Examples of this changing geopolitical-energy landscapeabound. The viability of OPEC to in 󿬂 uence oil price is lessen-ing, and the IEA is broadening its traditional rich country(OECD) base (IEA, 2017; Owyang and Shell, 2017). The rise inexports from the US in LNG is changing the supply demandcontours of the market, while at the same time Russian-ledpipelines are shifting decisions about investment in the sector(World Oil Online, 2017). The US  –  China solar trade dispute,and Chinese leadership in clean energy investment hasaltered the clean energy landscape (Hughes and Meckling,2017). Cybersecurity is affecting not only how smart grids aredesigned, but critical infrastructure as well (Bronk, 2014). Thehigh-tech components now critical for global power systemsand technology is putting pressure on con 󿬂 ict minerals (deRidder, 2013). Projects like the CASA-1000 high-voltageregional transmission line from the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajik-istan through Afghanistan and to Pakistan have multiplegeopolitical concerns (CASA-1000, 2017). The lack of qualityenergy services in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia hasmultiple impacts on issues such as urbanization and migra-tion (USAID, 2017). In short, the web of energy, technology,economics, and national security is thickening. Building on the past  The recent renaissance of oil and gas in the US has rein-forced the alluring notion that energy independence andnational energy security are the same thing. But the globalnature of energy markets expose this notion as utterly mis-leading. Two-thirds of global oil and gas production is tradedinternationally. Russia, one of the largest exporters of gasand oil, imports high quality uranium, machinery, equipment,and electricity. Petro-giant Saudi Arabia must import re 󿬁 nedgasoline and a host of extractive industrial technology, andis now looking at a massive push into solar energy. Even thevast and bountiful United States cannot escape global mar-kets. The US exports coal and lique 󿬁 ed natural gas, yet stillimports crude oil and rare earth minerals. And it seems theexpected opening up of Federal lands for new coal miningwill not make much of a dent in that market or its prices.Shortages or the disruption of energy services can nolonger be treated as independent catastrophes that canalone be solved by military action, but as interwoven threatsto the world at large with potentially great destabilizingeffects. The Defense Department ’ s most recent QuadrennialDefense Review (QDR) highlights how instability may beincreased in the coming years by a competition forresources, including energy and water, which could escalateregional confrontations into broader con 󿬂 icts (US Depart-ment of Defense, 2014). As a result, new approaches toplanning are needed and these can be supported by diplo-macy (Bazilian and Chattopadhyay, 2016).While US diplomats do not seem ready for this newworld, the good news is that they have successfullydeployed strategic energy statecraft in the past. The Mar-shall Plan was one of the most successful early examples(George C. Marshall Foundation, 2017). America invested ininfrastructure in Europe  –   for instance, the Limber Dam inAustria and the Genissiat hydroelectric project in France  –  to aid recovery and to expand markets for US goods. Presi-dent Eisenhower ’ s Atoms for Peace program is another caseof energy diplomacy, which led to further programs in highenergy physics and technology that enabled innovations likemedical isotopes, food irradiation, and even space explo-ration (Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, 2017).During the Cold War, investment in energy infrastructure  —  such as the use of the World Bank to build large-scalehydroelectric dams in Vietnam, Ghana, and other formerEuropean colonies  —  helped to counter growing Soviet in 󿬂 u-ence. Today ’ s US Overseas Private Investment Corporation(OPIC) makes numerous investments based on securitygrounds all over the world, exemplifying economic softpower in action. Unavoidable interconnections Others are acknowledging these interdependencies andinterconnections. As an example, the new Director of theInternational Energy Agency immediately began to expandthe scope of that agency beyond the OECD and extending Global Policy (2017) 8:3  ©   2017 University of Durham and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Rethinking Energy Statecraft 423  his hand towards China, Mexico, India, and others. US policymakers need to acknowledge more players in the interna-tional scene, and accept that they are in fact competingwith China, India, and Russia in their efforts to acquireresources abroad and form international partnerships. Otherinstitutions are entering the picture too (Van de Graaf andZelli, 2016).One of the latest strategies for advancing energy state-craft can be seen in the Asian Infrastructure InvestmentBank (AIIB) founded in 2014. This multilateral institution ledby China has approved  󿬁 nancing for energy projects inMyanmar, Pakistan and Bangladesh. These efforts have beenseen as a diplomatic and strategic victory for the Chinesegovernment in advancing its in 󿬂 uence beyond its borders.Its energy strategy is now being developed, and in a publicand transparent manner through a series of consultations. 2 Energy statecraft unavoidably requires global cooperationtoo. During the 2014 G-7 summit, the Energy Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom,and the United States outlined principles that strengthenenergy security as a core component of economic andnational security (European Commission, 2014; IEP, 2016). These include the development of   󿬂 exible, transparent andcompetitive energy markets; diversi 󿬁 cation of energy fuels,sources and routes, and encouragement of indigenoussources of energy supply; enhancing energy ef  󿬁 ciency indemand and supply, and demand response management;and improving energy systems resilience by promotinginfrastructure modernization and supply and demand poli-cies that help withstand systemic shocks.A recent positive example of energy statecraft in actionwhich makes linkages between US national security, globalgrowth, and human development is Power Africa and thesupporting Electrify Africa Act (Moss, 2016; USAID, 2017). The initiative was srcinally borne out of diplomatic discus-sions with key national security allies  –   such as Kenya, Ethio-pia, and Nigeria which are all essential partners in the  󿬁 ghtagainst terrorism  –   about what steps the United Statescould take to bolster governance and capabilities in thosestates. Although security is not the stated focus of efforts toaddress energy poverty, the evolving harmony of interestsbetween the private sector and the American and Africangovernments both support conditions in the recipient coun-tries for more stable societies that help counter, rather thanexport, extremist violence.Such geopolitical complexities, and a global energy systemunder transition, demand an ambitious agenda that requiresan expansive diplomacy. The shortcomings in the currentinterpretations of energy statecraft appear in greater relief given the interconnectivity of energy systems, trade in energyfuels, consortiums of investors, governing institutions, andtransboundary pollution. A re-envisaged approach, address-ing some or all of these themes, would utilize a variety of for-eign policy and multilateral tools to protect the global energymarketplace and spur investment in new generation andinnovation, while addressing multiple energy-security chal-lenges. The current Administration, and even those after it,would do well to embrace, rather than ignore, such dynamics. Notes 1. See e.g.,  or 2. https:// References Bazilian, M. and Chattopadhyay, D. (2016)  ‘ Considering Power SystemPlanning in Fragile and Con 󿬂 ict States ’ ,  Energy for SustainableDevelopment  . 32, 100  –  120.Bordoff, J. (2016) America ’ s Energy Policy.  Horizons . Autumn 2016, Issue 8.Bronk, C. (2014)  ‘ Averting a National Blackout: Cybersecurity and theCritical Energy Infrastructure ’ . [blog].  Forbes  [online]. Available from: #fc2db55b595c [Accessed 24 April 2017].CASA-1000 (2017)  ‘ Electricity. It ’ s Essential for Development, EconomicGrowth, Job Creation, and Modern Life. Without it, Poverty Endures ’ . CASA-1000  [online]. Available from: [Accessed 24 April 2017].de Ridder, M. (2013)  ‘  The Geopolitics of Mineral Resources forRenewable Energy Technologies ’ .  The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies  [online]. Available from:  󿬁 les/reports/The_Geopolitics_of_Mineral_Resources_for_Renewable_Energy_Technologies.pdf  [Accessed 24 April 2017].Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library (2017)  ‘ Atoms for Peace ’ .[online]. Available from: [Accessed 24 April 2017].European Commission (2014). ’  Press Statement on G7 Rome EnergyMinisterial Meeting ’  [online]. Available from: [Accessed 24 April 2017].George C. Marshall Foundation (2017)  ‘ History of the Marshall Plan ’ .[online]. Available from:  [Accessed 24 April 2017].Grubler, A. (2012).  ‘ Energy Transitions Research: Insights and Cautionary Tales. ’  Energy Policy   50(1), pp. 8  –  16.Grubler, A., Wilson, G. and Nemet, G. (2016)  ‘ Apples, Oranges, andConsistent Comparisons of the Temporal Dynamics of Energy Transitions ’ ,  Energy Research & Social Science , 22 (December), pp.18  –  25.Hughes, L. and Meckling, J. (2017)  ‘  The Politics of Renewable Energy Trade: The US  –  China Solar Dispute ’ ,  Energy Policy  , 105 (C), pp.256  –  262.IEA (2017)  ‘ India Joins IEA Family, a Major Milestone for GlobalEnergy Governance ’ . [blog].  International Energy Agency   [online].Available from: india-joins-iea-family-a-major-milestone-for-global-energy-governance.html [Accessed 24 April 2017].IEP (2016)  ‘  The Economic Value of Peace ’ .  Institute for Economics & Peace [online]. Available from: 2017/02/The-Economic-Value-of-Peace-2016-WEB.pdf  [Accessed 24April 2017].Moss, T. (2016)  ‘ Grading Power Africa ’ .  Center for Global Development  [online]. Available from: [Accessed 24 April 2017].Owyang, M. and Shell, H. (2017)  ‘ Is OPEC Losing Its Ability to In 󿬂 uenceOil Prices? ’  [blog].  Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  [online]. Availablefrom: [Accessed 24 April 2017].Pascual, C. and Elkind, J. (eds.) (2010)  ’ Energy Security: Economics, Politics,Strategies, and Implications ’ . Brookings Institution Press [online].Available from:, V. (2016)  ‘ Examining Energy Transitions: A Dozen Insights basedon Performance ’ ,  Energy Research & Social Science  22, pp. 194  –  197. ©   2017 University of Durham and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Global Policy (2017) 8:3 Morgan Bazilian, Benjamin Sovacool and Todd Moss 424  Sovacool, B. K. (2016)  ‘ How Long Will it Take? Conceptualizing the Temporal Dynamics of Energy Transitions ’ ,  Energy Research & Social Science , 13, pp. 202  –  215.USAID (2017)  ‘ Power Africa ’  [online]. Available from: [Accessed 24 April 2017].World Oil Online (2017)  ‘ EIA: LNG Exports Expected to Drive Growth inthe US Natural Gas Trade ’ . [blog]  World Oil Online  [online]. Availablefrom: [Accessed24 April 2017].US Department of Defense (2014)  ‘ Quadrennial Defense Review 2014 ’ [online]. Available from:  [Accessed 24 April 2017].US Department of State (2017)  ‘ Bureau of Energy Resources ’  [online].Available from:  [Accessed 24 April2017].Van de Graaf, T. and F. Zelli (2016)  ‘ Actors, Institutions and Frames inGlobal Energy Politics ’ , in T. Van de Graaf, B. K. Sovacool, A. Ghosh,F. Kern and M. T. Klare (eds.),  The Palgrave Handbook of theInternational Political Economy of Energy  . London: PalgraveMacmillan, pp. 47  –  71.Victor, D. and Yanosek, K. (2017) Foreign Affairs. July 2017. Council onForeign Relations. NY, USA.  Author Information Morgan Bazilian  is a Fellow at the Center for Global Energy Policy,Columbia University, and a Research Associate at the Electricity PolicyResearch Group at the University of Cambridge. Benjamin Sovacool  is Professor of Energy Policy at the University of Sus-sex, and Professor of Business and Social Sciences at Aarhus University. Todd Moss  is Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development, anon-resident Scholar at the Center for Energy Studies at Rice Univer-sity ’ s Baker Institute, and a former US Deputy Assistant Secretary forState for African Affairs. Global Policy (2017) 8:3  ©   2017 University of Durham and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Rethinking Energy Statecraft 425
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