Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

How the New 'Energy' Affluence Strengthens the United States

| Nov. 02, 2017

Last week when President Donald Trump threatened to impose new sanctions against Iran—OPECs third largest crude producer—commodity markets reacted swiftly. In the face of new tensions in the Middle East, the focus is again on the critical link between foreign policy and energy markets.

That is the focal point of Windfall, a new book written by Harvard professor Meghan O’Sullivan, who convincingly presents strong evidence against U.S. declinism in the context of the newfound energy abundance.

As a leading scholar of foreign policy and energy, O’Sullivan reveals how the world has moved from the fear of energy scarcity—a few years ago—to a reality of energy abundance. New technologies have led to an oversupply of oil and an emerging natural-gas glut. Thanks largely to fracking—the hydraulic fracturing of rock—the United States is now the largest producer of oil and gas combined in the world.

O’Sullivan argues that these realities have not just driven prices down, but they have actually changed the structure of markets and altered the way many countries wield power and influence. Today’s energy abundance has transformed politics in Russia, Europe, China and the Middle East. It has shaken OPEC’s grip on oil price and weakened U.S. adversary Russia. Although energy abundance upends traditional partnerships, it also creates new opportunities for cooperation—especially with China.

For more information on this publication: Please contact the Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Braunstein, Juergen.“How the New 'Energy' Affluence Strengthens the United States.” The National Interest, November 2, 2017.