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The Risk Pivot

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The Risk Pivot

Great Powers, International Security, and the Energy Revolution

Brookings Institution Press,

15 min read
10 take-aways
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What's inside?

As India, China and all of Asia grow, so does the risk they will run out of energy and resources.

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  • Innovative


Bruce Jones and David Steven of the Brookings Institution provide scenarios for establishing energy security in developing countries that depend on oil imports from politically unstable states. India, China and other Asian countries’ vulnerability to reduced energy imports is growing as their economies expand. The US has new strategic options because it’s now the largest natural gas producer and will replace Saudi Arabia as the largest oil producer. The US military presence in the Persian Gulf protects global shipments of Middle East oil. The US has the power to lead in forging forward-looking international agreements that ensure secure energy supplies for developing nations, especially China and India, while addressing divergent climate change concerns. getAbstract recommends the author’s well-researched, pragmatic overview. Their most important contribution may be their description of the geography of potential conflict.


When Energy Determines World Order

Just weeks after a meeting in 1945 between US President Franklin Roosevelt and King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia, Saudi officials began planning a pipeline to allow Saudi oil to flow to the US and Europe. This marked the start of a two-nation partnership in which the US guaranteed Saudi Arabia’s security in exchange for de facto guarantees that it will always get Saudi oil. This partnership has provided the foundation of international security and worldwide economics since that time.

Now, a “risk pivot” toward energy-insecure Asia is underway. Emerging Asian countries, especially China and India, are generating growing economic output but they face a widening exposure to disruptions in their energy supplies. Their oil comes from foreign countries where they exert limited control. The energy-rich US, by contrast, has new strategic options as a result of this ongoing risk pivot. In 2014, the US became the world’s largest producer of natural gas, and it remains on a trajectory to replace Saudi Arabia as the world’s leader in oil production. China has overtaken the US to become greediest oil importer in the world.

The risk...

About the Authors

Bruce Jones is vice president and director, foreign policy, at the Brookings Institution, where David Steven was a nonresident senior fellow in the foreign policy program.

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