A region in flux, the Mediterranean of today–and tomorrow–faces an array of complex challenges. Demographic shifts, evolving political and security contexts, economic uncertainty, and climate change have created massive migration flows and regional instability, straining resources in southern Europe. These and other drivers of change have highlighted the increased importance of developing a transatlantic security strategy for the region.
With the new US presidential administration of Donald J. Trump, a newly elected Congress, and the recent transformative developments in the US gas sector, a reassessment of the role of natural gas, energy policies, and impacts on international diplomacy are crucial. As the geopolitics of natural gas undergo significant shifts, the US has the opportunity to play the role of leader in the global gas markets with its newfound energy prowess as an emerging producer of natural gas and LNG exporter.
America’s future, and that of other nations and peoples, will be most secure in the long term with an emphasis on future prosperity unlocked by the Internet.
The problem is that there is no guarantee that the future of the Internet, and the larger entirety of cyberspace, will be as rosy as its past. It is possible, even likely, that the Internet will not remain as resilient, free, secure, and awesome for future generations as it has been for current ones.
Oil, gas, and renewable energy markets will face high levels of uncertainty and potentially extreme volatility under a Trump administration in 2017. Some of these uncertainties flow from questions about the new administration’s yet-undefined policies on energy production, trade, and climate policy. Others flow from the basket of national security risks that a new US President was destined to inherit.
Risk and uncertainty pervade decisions on petroleum investments and operations, raising the stakes for companies committing to multibillion dollar contracts often extending twenty or more years. The array of risk factors is diverse, requiring multidisciplinary analysis to decipher. New risks arise and others expand, raising the breadth and depth of challenges facing energy operators.
Hydrocarbons crime, in all its forms, has become a significant threat not only to local and regional prosperity but also to global stability and security. Combating this pervasive criminal activity is made only more difficult by the reality that many of those in a position to curb hydrocarbons crime are the ones benefiting from it.
Saudi Arabia’s leadership recently introduced an ambitious plan called Vision 2030 to move the country away from oil and toward a more diversified, modern economy. Fortunately, the economy is already much more diversified than is often reported, a fact obscured by the very high price of oil from 2000 to 2014. Since the mid-1970s, the Kingdom has developed chemical, metal, and fertilizer industries that are among the most advanced in the world. Most of these industries have been built on the natural advantages of Saudi Arabia: low-cost energy, large mineral resources, access to plentiful capital, and proximity to the huge markets of Asia.
India’s economy is increasing at the fastest rate in the world, now making it the globe’s third largest user of crude oil. While India is benefitting from the low oil prices seen since mid-2014, it has precious few oil and gas resources of its own and will remain highly dependent on imports.
Last year, the Barack Obama administration issued PPD-41, “Cyber Incident Protection,” setting forth cyber security incident roles and missions for federal agencies but with no explicit reference to the Department of Defense (DoD). By contrast, the DoD Cyber Strategy provides that DoD will be prepared to “defend the U.S. homeland and U.S. vital interests from disruptive or destructive cyberattacks of significant consequence.” Certainly, in a conflict where an adversary will utilize cyber as part of an overall military attack, the DoD will necessarily play a major operational role. This paper discusses what that role should entail.
In the Eastern Mediterranean, which is characterised more by conflict than cooperation, persistent conscious effort is needed to minimise the effects of narrow-minded populism or politicisation of issues. Such attitudes are particularly unhelpful when it comes to realising the potential of the region’s hydrocarbons through solutions that are optimal both commercially and in public interest terms. This is a job that requires calm, serious planning by cognisant, and responsible policy makers. Another condition that could be crucial in ensuring the best outcomes is the existence of an informed public debate on the topic – a debate that is based on facts, developments and expert analyses relating to the energy situation at various levels.