For all the alarm over Valadimir Putin´s designs in Eastern Europe, the Middle East still dominates Obama´s foreign policy agenda. A nuclear deal with Iran and the Arab-Israeli peace process, growth of Iranian influence in the region, from post -Saddam Iraq, where a Shiiite government friendly to Iran has replaced a Sunni rivals that fought with it, to Syria, and Egypt. All are his best prospects for an enduring international legacy. On the other hand the white house worries that the crisis in Ukraine along the Russia-Ukraine border could escalate after the tragic event of Flight MH17.
In the Middle East, in recent months, the American approach to three regional hot spots , Iran, Syria and Egypt has shaken the U.S Saudi relationship to its core. The insecurity may be mostly on the Saudi side, with American growing energy independence and as US is going to cut a deal with Iran, Saudi leader see no choice but to go nuclear as well.
Protecting access to the oil rich regions of the Persian Gulf was a key pillar of U.S grand strategy for most of the post world War II period.
The special relationship between Washington and Riyadh has endured since 1945, (when Franklin Roosevelt met with Adullah´s father Abulazis ibn Saudi and established an informal deal). Although the relationship has seen its strains through the years notably, during the Arab oil embargo of 1973 and after the Sept.11, 2001.
The past decade has seen a radical shift in the global energy map as the unconventional revolution in the United States has put it on track to become the world´s largest oil producer. Under current US. law, crude oil produced in the United States cannot be exported without a license. However, recent experience regarding the export of U.S liquefied natural gas (LNG) suggests that US is re-evaluating its existing legislative framework.
Now, with the U.S shale revolution, mounting domestic concerns, and possible comprehensive deal with Iran over its nuclear program, countries fear that the United States is preparing to reduce, or at least transform, its commitment.
Then there is the geopolitical Energy of Putin´s Eurasianism, first in Crimea and now in eastern Ukraine, which holds Moscows main foreign policy goal. EU is also heavily dependent on one single supplier, namely Russia, responsible for half of the energy it consumes and that can make it vulnerable to external energy suppliers, such as Russia.
Disruptions in energy supply can have far-ranging consequences for consumers and businesses, and they are, as such, a very effective political tool. Long-term political and economic stability of Ukraine is therefore a key interest of the European Union.
Looking back, the January 2009 gas supply cut was among the most severe energy security crises in recent European History. Thus, between the states, we have to use our resources differently, more effectively and we have to pull them together and work together. To improve the situation, the European Commission have presented a plan and EU is now seeking to reduce its energy dependence by diversifying energy sources and suppliers, cutting back on energy consumption, boosting in renewables. Huge efforts have been made at national levels.
These initiatives and others have all been outlined in the european energy security strategy presented by the Commission in May and debated by the Parliament´s industry committee on 22 July. Energy efficiency policies had contributed to reduce Energy intensity in EU industry by almost 19% between 2001 and 2011.
EU and U.S have also sought to address these energy security challenges, in part by launching negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which is intended to include free trade in goods across the North Atlantic.
There are challenges that need to be faced by short term responses and there are long term challenges that need to be faces and to be dealt with well-ordered political system that need to be put in place. Those require the sort of collaboration and partnership that transatlantic partnership has so often demonstrated but which also engages with many other across the world.
Further, in terms of values and interests, economic interactions and human bonds, the EU and the U.S are closer to one another than ether is to any other major international actor. In this regard perhaps the most unique U.S strategic partnership is not with another country but with the European Union.
The EU stands for integration, solidarity, individual freedom and rule of law. And we must defend it as such. The most prominent issues include continued efforts to foment stability in Ukraine.
Both EU and US prefers diplomacy and further sanctions on access to capital markets, including in the energy sector. And there will now be an EU ban of both trade with and investments in occupied Crimea and Sevastopol.
Diplomacy is the means by which produced multilateral sanctions to bring Iran to the negotiating table and impose real costs on Russia for illegal actions. It will also be required to keep Iraq from fragmenting, and facilitating unity among stakeholders so that ISIS is repelled and Iraq´s contribution to global energy supply is sustained.
The U.S has multiple tools at its disposal to mitigate the impacts of energy supply disruptions, help countries enhance their own energy security and mitigate global climate change.
Over the the past two decades the U.S has been more vigorous in advocating the need, especially in Europe, to have an integrated gas market, more energy storage, more diverse production and shared advancements made in energy efficiency and renewable energy with Europe, including building and appliance standards that have helped Europe greatly diversity its energy supply base and better weather Russian gas supply interruptions.
In Energy and Security: Strategies for a world in Transition, a book that David L. Godwyn co-edited and was published last year, argue that
– these tools include using diplomacy to advocate policy reform, providing technical assistance to other nations to help propagate the unconventional oil and gas revolution abroad, and promoting deep and competitive energy markets by embracing energy exports as means of making energy more affordable and accessible to friends and allies.
Today, As Ambassador Carlos Pascual is departing from governments service, Parcual share his thoughts on some of the key energy issues during his tenure at the bureau of Energy Resources at US State Department, as well as ongoing energy challenges. here at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Ambassador Pascual served as coordinator for U.S Assistance to Europe and Eurasia(2003) where he oversaw regional and country assistance strategies to promote market oriented and democratic states energy access and transparent resource governance.
Well-functioning market relay on we-functioning governments. In this respect, as supplies to Ukraine are closely related supplies to the European Union, we are deeply concerned by Russian Federation illegal activities by armed militants in Eastern Ukraine, threatening Ukraine´s sovereignty, territorial integrity and we are very, very concerned the future risks of Russian Federation not to continued contractual obligations and continued cooperation to ensure safe and secure supply energy.
In both cases, the underlaying Russian foreign policy goals is perfectly well understood, and it tasks the European Council to re-assess EU-Russia cooperation programmes on case by case basis and adopt the necessary legal instruments in response to the alarm over Valadimir Putin´s designs in Eastern Europe.
Against this background, EU-US cooperation is of great importance in addressing recent crisis in Ukraine and to seek a negotiated solution that resolves the international community´s concerns regarding the Iranian nuclear programme. But also efforts to reach a peace agreement in the Middle East. It was just such cooperation (particularly within the framework of the EU´s pooling and sharing) of global commitment and Western assistance that permeated the possible legal systems now in effect in Afghanistan during this historic democratic transition.