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New Energy Revolution and Peace?

The world is on the doorstep of a new energy revolution, Walter Russell Mead predicts in an optimistic article published in the American Interest.

Because of the advances in extraction technology U.S. and Canada each may have more energy potential than the entire Middle East, Russell Mead believes. He agrees with  Steve Levine, the author of The Oil and the Glory, that US could pass Saudi Arabia to become the world’s leading oil producer by 2020.

Mead thinks that it’s the United States that will benefit most from the energy revolution. Abundance of energy will help the American objective to achieve a liberal, open world that is free from turmoil and wars for resources.

“A world in which jealous, competing states are trying to elbow each other aside to access the last few remaining pools of oil is a much nastier place than one in which the whole oil question is a lot more laid back.”

Energy revolution will help global economic growth which would straighten trade and cooperation between states  and eventually will ease the conflicts based on nationalism. A world of energy abundance should be particularly good for U.S.-China relations, Russell Mead thinks. It will also change the American policy in the Middle East.

“Over time, as the world’s energy picture becomes less Middle East-centric, the U.S. is likely to explore the possibility of becoming more of a balancer, less of a hegemon in the region. ”

Yet, Mead’s optimism for a future of abundant oil naturally rises another, not less important question:

“Oil makes everything better. But the environmental question remains. Will an era of hydrocarbon abundance lead to an environmental catastrophe?”

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