21st Century Security

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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To Cap Or Not To Cap: G7’S Overambitious Plan To Punish Russian Oil And Alter The Future Of Oil Markets

July 8, 2022

On June 28th, leaders of the G7 announced that they agreed to explore the possibility of imposing a price cap on Russian oil to reduce Moscow’s energy revenues. While many view this as political exigency or a futile return to price controls, the truth is far more complex — with reverberations beyond the war in Ukraine or current energy woes.

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Floating Solar: The Most Practical Green Technology?

June 28, 2022

Earlier this month, the US Army launched a large floating solar array at Camp Mackall on Fort Bragg in North Carolina— the country’s largest domestic military base. This launch marks a critical moment for floating photovoltaics (FPVs) which have yet to attract mainstream attention in the USA.



June 28, 2022

Ukraine, a democratic ally with a transatlantic orientation, is fighting a domestically and internationally popular defensive conventional war against Russia, a former imperial master that is attempting to deny Ukraine peoplehood and statehood and that happens to be longtime rival to the U.S. With moral indignation driving a rare bipartisan U.S. foreign policy, there is an understandable interest in winning the peace – even before there is any peace to be won in Ukraine. To do that, policymakers must carefully refine the narratives and policies of Ukrainian aid.

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The Roots of Putin's Strategic Fiasco in Ukraine

June 8, 2022

From many conversations held with Russian policymakers, we know that the vision which denies Ukraine peoplehood, and the Kremlin's resulting aggressions, are nothing new. This war's atrocities flow from the dark misapprehensions held by many Moscow elites concerning Russia's destiny, history and geopolitics.


Is a Marshall Plan right for Ukraine?

June 7, 2022

Even before battlefields are silent, the battle for billions in Ukrainian reconstruction budgets has already begun. Top U.S. policy makers, including Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen championed the initial assistance package to Ukraine, which passed (86-11) in the Senate on May 19.


Kazakhstan Needs Stability And Economic Institutions To Develop Energy Resources

June 6, 2022

To understand the international agonies and opportunities that rising energy supply costs, exogenous shocks, increasing interest in renewables, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine present, there is no better example than Kazakhstan. It is singularly damaged by the current crises while simultaneously having so much potential to benefit from the global need for energy.


China’s Wind Power Push Threatens US Strategic Interests

May 23, 2022

Government priorities feature prominently in discussions over the transition to renewable energy. Enthusiasm may abound for wind power, but if the United States is serious about its future, it must address critical supply chain disruptions and market-distorting foreign competition.


Profits Skyrocket for US LNG Companies

April 27, 2022

The United States is poised to become the world’s leading liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter by the year’s end. The US Energy Information Administration forecasts the country will export a whopping 12.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) average to surpass Australia and Qatar for the top spot.


The U.S. Can Win Over Russia’s Neighbors

April 7, 2022

Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine has provided the U.S. with a critical opportunity to diminish Russia’s influence over its neighbors by giving them technical assistance, economic development and security that neither Moscow nor Beijing can.


To Defeat Putin's Totalitarianism, Work With Russians

April 5, 2022

The White House walked back President Joe Biden's recent remarks in Poland calling for Russian strongman Vladimir Putin's removal from power. Coming from the American president, the statement was unnecessarily inflammatory amid a strategic environment fraught with dangers of unintended escalation.


Putin’s War in Ukraine Forces New Energy Reality on Europe

March 28, 2022

During President Joe Biden's visit to Europe, the US has struck a deal with the EU to boost its liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply as the trade bloc seeks to reduce its dependence on Russian gas. The war in Ukraine highlighted the Old Continent's unsustainable Russian energy habit.