September 2, 2008

English summary

Adviser to the Estonian Ministry of Finance Hannes Hanso analyses the impact of high energy prices on world politics. Even though it is hard to demonstrate a direct correlation between energy prices and global security, Hanso claims that it is possible that high energy prices will induce the transition from the present unipolar world to a multipolar world. “There is a danger that its dependency on oil and gas will not allow the West to pursue a foreign policy based on values. In an indirect way, this dependency inhibits the spread of liberal democratic models of society all over the globe,” claims Hanso.

Adviser to the Estonian Ministry of Finance Hannes Hanso analyses the impact of high energy prices on world politics. Even though it is hard to demonstrate a direct correlation between energy prices and global security, Hanso claims that it is possible that high energy prices will induce the transition from the present unipolar world to a multipolar world. “There is a danger that its dependency on oil and gas will not allow the West to pursue a foreign policy based on values. In an indirect way, this dependency inhibits the spread of liberal democratic models of society all over the globe,” claims Hanso.

English summary

Adviser to the Estonian Ministry of Finance Hannes Hanso analyses the impact of high energy prices on world politics. Even though it is hard to demonstrate a direct correlation between energy prices and global security, Hanso claims that it is possible that high energy prices will induce the transition from the present unipolar world to a multipolar world. “There is a danger that its dependency on oil and gas will not allow the West to pursue a foreign policy based on values. In an indirect way, this dependency inhibits the spread of liberal democratic models of society all over the globe,” claims Hanso.
Estonian MP and scientist Marek Strandberg draws an analogy between guns that use less ammunition, which makes them the best weapons in a conventional war, and technologies that are economical, which makes them useful in an energy war. Strandberg asserts that energy conservation is not a hobby or a lifestyle any more, but a sector of the economy that forms a part of the general security mechanism.
Jan-Erik Teder, an analyst specialising in Central Asia and China, describes the role of oil and gas in the politics and economy of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. Although in theory high oil and gas prices offer these countries an opportunity to modernise their economy and society, Teder maintains that in practice these countries will probably prefer to follow the good old scenario of spending as little money as possible on social welfare and as much as necessary on keeping the same regime in power.
Senior Fellow at the Heritage Foundation think tank Ariel Cohen continues the Kazakhstan theme, asserting that Kazakhstan needs to remain investor-friendly and competitive, and should not take U.S. political support and business sector commitments for granted.
Director of Research and Publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy Paul Goble predicts the possible effects Azerbaijan’s newfound oil wealth might have on its society and politics. Goble points out three things about the nature of this oil wealth. First, it is unimaginably large and, consequently, it is impossible to plan how to deal with it. Second, it is so-called rentier income, which contributes in a way to a gold rush attitude. Third, it is all based on the luck of the draw.
Estonian MP and essayist Andres Herkel describes plans to construct the Nabucco pipeline and concludes that despite the fact that there is an urgent need for a pipeline that would connect Europe and the energy-rich Caspian and Central Asian region, the chances that this project will ever be completed are decreasing steadily.
Analyst Liis Jemmer assesses the role of natural gas in Ukrainian politics and the role of Ukraine in the politics surrounding natural gas, claiming that Europe should draw several conclusions from the “energy disputes” that have arisen between Kyiv and Moscow. Jemmer urges Europe not to adopt a policy of benign neglect toward the political dimension of the activities of Gazprom, because too high a dependence on Russia might jeopardise our security of supply and influence our political decisions.
Analyst of the RAND think tank Andreas Goldthau reveals the myths behind Russia’s energy weapon. An effective energy weapon appears to be Moscow’s wishful thinking rather than reality. It may be that Russia’s foreign policy is increasingly driven by Gazprom’s business interests rather than vice versa.
Jeroen Bult reviews Edward Lucas’s recent book “The New Cold War”. Bult affirms that the message of the book is abundantly clear: Russia is moving in a semi-dictatorial direction and is increasingly employing its energy bonanza to regain the influence it lost after the Soviet Union infamously imploded in 1991 and Russia, its main successor state, thereupon ushered into a phase of economic and political chaos and misery.
Adviser to the Estonian Ministry of Defence Andres Vosman praises Marc Sageman’s book “Leaderless Jihad” that dispels several myths about jihad and jihadists by employing the methodology of social sciences.

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