21st Century Security

India’s Green Energy Potential Hampered By Pakistan’s Turmoil

June 26, 2023

The environmental costs of extracting lithium present another barrier to local lithium production which may exacerbate tensions. The mining of lithium, like other minerals, will pollute the surrounding areas, potentially contaminating the groundwater and exposing local populations to toxic chemicals. The fact that Jammu and Kashmir are the origin points for Pakistan’s primary river, the Indus River, means that Indian mining may contaminate the literal lifeline of its nuclear-armed rival, exacerbating conflict.

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Breaking Free: The Nuclear Fuel Alliance Strikes Back At Russian Control

May 24, 2023

Moscow’s dominant position in the nuclear supply chain grants Russia influence over the nuclear renaissance in the West, vital for the transition to low-carbon energy generation and helps fund its war machine in Ukraine. To redress these challenges, last month the United States, France, Japan, Canada, and the United Kingdom formed the Nuclear Fuel Alliance (NFA) to develop a shared supply chain for nuclear fuel. It is 23 years overdue, but better late than never.

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War in Ukraine is creating new Silk Road corridor

May 22, 2023

In the year after Russia’s 2022 reinvasion of Ukraine, freight volume more than doubled on the Middle Corridor, a transportation network connecting Asia with Europe via rail, boat and highway. In March, Secretary of State Antony Blinken unveiled a new U.S. approach to Central Asia that stressed the facilitation of the Middle Corridor, which bypasses Russia. This route removes Russia’s ability to extort its neighbors by leveraging its transit infrastructure while expanding an independent economic artery to the states of Central Asia and further to China.

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The Global Take | Biden's Trip to Asia- QUAD Summit | Bloomberg Radio

May 19, 2023

Dr. Ariel Cohen in his interview with Bloomberg Radio analyzed President Biden's trip to Asia and the reasons for its sudden cancellation, China's intensifying engagement in Central Asia and US policy to counter China in the Indo-Pacific.

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The Global Take | Is a default in USA possible? | Spotlight Ukraine

May 17, 2023

The United States of America has been borrowing more money than it has been earning for decades. This has led to concerns about the country's ability to repay its debts and the possibility of default. In the case of the United States, default would have serious economic consequences both domestically and internationally.

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Putin’s ‘Gambler’ Mentality is a Wild Card in Global Energy Markets

May 16, 2023

Interstate relations are normally governed by self-interest and restraint but the ongoing war in Ukraine, when coupled with Russia’s escalatory bent, have rendered predictions about a return of political and energy stability precarious, if not impossible.

The Cipher Brief recently spoke with Ariel Cohen, director of the Energy Growth and Security Program at the International Tax and Investment Center, about the spillover of the war into a global energy crisis and what that means for 2023, when Cohen says we may experience “the toughest circumstance in Europe probably since World War II.”

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The Global Take | Why are Sudan’s warring generals failing to abide by the ceasefire? |TRT World Now

April 20, 2023

Dr. Ariel Cohen is interviewed by TRT World Now where he presents his analysis of the ongoing clashes between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary force RSF, the geopolitical dimension of the conflict and future scenarios.

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Russia’s fingerprints are on Sudan coup attempt

April 18, 2023

Russia’s influence in Africa remains purely disruptive and predatory. The Kremlin will use Wagner as a cudgel to secure natural resources across Africa and push the U.S. out, just as they evicted France. To keep up, Washington should expand diplomatic engagement, intelligence operations, and sanctioning of all entities linked to Wagner in Africa.

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Russia’s Kowtowing To China: Energy And Beyond

April 13, 2023

On its one-year anniversary of invading Ukraine, Russian gas sales were halved compared to before the war. Russia hoped that Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow would allow for some relief. Xi did deliver some flowery language, stating “Right now there are changes – the likes of which we haven't seen for 100 years – and we are the ones driving these changes together” when describing relations with Russia. Xi also emphasized the importance of energy in an earlier open letter, writing that “China is ready to work with Russia to forge closer partnership in energy cooperation.”

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OPEC+ Oil Price Rise May Trigger A Recession

April 5, 2023

The OPEC+ cartel of oil-producing nations led by Saudi Arabia and Russia and chaired by Alexander Novak, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy, is going to remove nearly 1 percent of total global oil production from the market in an apparent effort to increase prices. Despite earlier signals that OPEC+ would make no further reductions to oil production this year, the recent announcement was framed as a “precautionary measure” to ensure stability in the energy market. With oil prices surging 6.3% on Monday, to $85 a barrel for Brent, the Federal Reserve and other central bankers across the globe trying to get inflation under control, have been thrown a curveball.

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Has China Shifted the Middle East Balance of Power?

March 27, 2023

Earlier this month, Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to restore diplomatic ties after seven years and signed a China-brokered agreement in what is being termed a breakthrough deal for the region. How does this impact and alter America’s geopolitical stature in the region? What are the first and second-tier consequences of weakening the U.S. presence and position in the Gulf in favor of Washington’s main geopolitical rival?

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Energy Diplomacy Isn’t Helping Russia In Africa

March 13, 2023

Concerns over food security and dependency on Russian foodstuffs force African states to remain distant from the conflict. Now in addition to this food dependency, Russia has begun augmenting its diplomatic playbook in Africa with changes in its energy diplomacy and military power projection.

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Needed: Bipartisan support for America’s global leadership

March 8, 2023

Republican isolationists & America-firsters would do well to acquaint themselves with what is at stake. Today Russia & China, which announced a pact of “limitless friendship” three weeks before Putin invaded Ukraine, are challenging America.

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Asia’s Hunger For Energy Will Not Save Russia’s Economy

February 27, 2023

Over the last year, the West imposed sanctions on Moscow, cut back its purchases of Russian hydrocarbons, and sent military support to Ukraine. But the world’s largest democracy, and one of the United States' biggest allies in Asia, India, hasn’t done any of that. Rather, India has seized the opportunity to purchase cheap Russian energy to bolster its ailing economy. Surprisingly, US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen has pointed out that “India is welcome to purchase as much oil as it wants”, as it gets Russia oil at a large discount, up to 30 percent and more.

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Cyprus presidential elections crucial for regional oil, gas development - opinion

February 3, 2023

Historically, nations to Europe’s East and South (and the Middle East) supplied the necessary energy to the West. Over the last two decades, the European dependence on imported natural gas went up by almost 20%, from 65.7% to 83.6%. Before the war in Ukraine started, Germany imported 60% of its gas from Russia.

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Europe Is Winning The Energy War Against Russia

January 19, 2023

The invasion in Ukraine was supposed to be long over by now – by Kremlin’s count. After the first three days, Russia’s “short victorious war” would end with a Quisling government in and a parade through Kyiv which would have cemented Russian President Vladimir Putin’s legacy and the Russian empire redux of Eastern Orthodox Slavs: Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, or as the czarist lingo went, “the Great, Little and White Russia”.

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Presidential Elections: A Boost For Kazakhstan’s Investment Climate

December 27, 2022

2022’s energy price convulsions did not start with Ukraine and Western sanctions against Russia. Another Russian neighbor, Kazakhstan, ushered in the year with protests triggered by higher fuel prices. These protests escalated into violence and rioting and sparked a brief Commonwealth Security Treaty Organization intervention, led by Russia.

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China’s Saudi Trip More Than Niceties

December 13, 2022

China has again taken center stage with a string of groundbreaking events that will define its policy course for years to come – both domestically and internationally. The CCP’s 20th Party Congress bequeathed Xi Jinping a historic third term as President, but extreme economic turmoil and COVID protest have resulted in a chink in his political armor.

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Europe’s Energy Outlook Imperiled By Policy Myopia

December 8, 2022

Europe’s winter – likely to be warmer than average – is a welcome relief for a continent that was facing existential energy supply problems a few months ago. Those problems still exist, and many Europeans are suffering due to the avoidable problems associated with overreliance on Russian gas. Thankfully, the window in which Russia could have leveraged its energy control for a favorable political resolution in Ukraine may be getting smaller. Winter is here, and Europe endures, although not without hiccups.

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Peak Oil: The Perennial Prophecy That Went Wrong

November 30, 2022

Peak oil, a hypothetical point when global oil production maximizes and enters an irreversible decline, has been the holy grail of resource economics for decades: prized and just as elusive. Recently, technological development including increased digitization has altered conventional understandings associated with “peak oil”. Like other consumable resources, peak oil is grounded in reality: Oil is a finite natural resource produced over a geological timespan whereas demand continues to climb. However, peak oil could also become a self-fulfilling prophecy, inadvertently misinforming the public.

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How to expel Russia from the UN

November 3, 2022

The war in Ukraine will have demonstrated the impotence of the United Nations if a permanent member of the Security Council with full veto power becomes a rogue state without consequence. For the havoc it created, Russia must now be evicted from the UN.

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China’s Energy Vulnerabilities Drive Xi’s Policies

October 19, 2022

Much of China’s economic planning and domestic policy is energy focused and rests on a proven trifecta the USA would be well advised to examine and emulate where possible. First, massive investments in nuclear power, uranium refining, and modular reactors are set to make China the leading nuclear power in Asia. Second, China’s massive investment and dominance in every step of the rare earth mineral supply chain, especially coltan and lithium, is helping China monopolize the energy infrastructure of the future. Thirdly and finally, large investments in hydroelectricity (although this cannot be practically emulated in the US for lack of capacity, environmental, and permitting reasons). China’s much-publicized investment in renewables complements this trifecta but doesn’t feature centrally in any energy plans.

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Russia’s trajectory of hate: A big war against the West coming

October 5, 2022

Putin, in his Götterdämmerung moment, is fearmongering. In Stalinist propaganda language, he claims that the West “took off their masks and showed their true nature” … “for centuries [the West] wanted to colonize Russia, and after the collapse of the Soviet Union dreamed, but failed, to shatter it into pieces, set off ethnic groups against each other, and condemn them to indolence and extinction.” Like many dictators before him, Putin claims to be engaged in a preventive war to save his homeland.

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A Tale of Good Intentions and Unexpected Consequences

September 8, 2022

Despite Francis Fukuyama's infamous opinion, history certainly did not end. The imperial collapse was an unintended consequence of Gorbachev's desire to humanize socialism and save the USSR. He utterly failed in both tasks, but Russia and other Soviet republics were liberated from the Communist nightmare, and the world gained 30 years of relative peace, which is now coming to an end.


Biden’s Saudi Adventure: An Oil Strategy Failure And Beyond

July 23, 2022

Since the historic meeting between President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Saudi Arabia's founder King Abdulaziz aboard the USS Quincy in 1945, America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia has always been transactional: oil for security. Over the past fifteen years, ever since the election of President Barack Obama in 2008, the perceived failure of both sides to honor their terms of the bargain has produced a prisoner's dilemma of mutual distrust and uncertainty that leads each party to act selfishly and produces suboptimal choices for both. President Joe Biden's recent trip to Jeddah proved that he could not resolve this conundrum.

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