The Next Big Race
Date: Tuesday, March 01, 2005 @ 22:22:42 GMT
Topic: General

After nuclear arms, is energy next?
By Kim Iskyan
Posted Tuesday, March 1, 2005, at 3:15 AM PT

The nuclear arms race offered the advantages of simplicity and clarity of purpose as an organizing principle of geopolitics—along with the obvious disadvantage of the potential death of all mankind by incineration. Its evil stepbrother the military-industrial complex similarly helped reduce the multifaceted and complicated issues of economic growth and government priorities to black-and-white, us-versus-them constructs.

Lamenting the passing of (intentional) nuclear holocaust as the governing concept of international relations and the global political economy is misplaced. But, at the very least, the nuclear arms race was a lot more straightforward than its emerging post-Cold War successor: the energy race. It's a similarly brutal zero-sum game, but one characterized by an ever-shifting web of opportunistic, cross-cutting allegiances that make the nuclear world order appear pleasantly tidy and predictable by comparison.

Governments have long been preoccupied with securing energy sources, most notably oil and natural gas. After all, energy is a foundation of modern society: Economies fail and governments fall if there's not enough energy to ensure that the lights work or that factories can continue to make widgets.

Read the whole article here: Slate-The next big race

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