Curing the oil addiction
FP hosted a fascinating discussion this morning between Sen. Richard Lugar and Tom Friedman on the “First Law of Petropolitics,” hosted by our editor, Moisés Naím. Friedman expanded on the thesis of his FP cover story (that as the price of oil goes up, the pace of freedom declines in petrolist states) by declaring the ...
FP hosted a fascinating discussion this morning between Sen. Richard Lugar and Tom Friedman on the "First Law of Petropolitics," hosted by our editor, Moisés Naím. Friedman expanded on the thesis of his FP cover story (that as the price of oil goes up, the pace of freedom declines in petrolist states) by declaring the advent of a post-post Cold War world (if you are a regular reader of his NYT columns, you know where he's going with this). In short, the post-Cold War world and the freedoms it bore had everything to do with a decade of low oil prices in the 1980s. Today's $70 barrel is creating a multipolar world. In addition to a rising China, there's Russia, Iran, and Venezuela awash in oil cash. In a twist on the adage that defined the American Revolution, Friedman says these states live by the code "no representation without taxation." With huge oil windfalls and little need to tax heavily, Putin, Ahmadinejad, and Chavez have little corresponding need to provide representation, and it is dramatically altering security in our age.
Lugar has declared energy “the albatross of U.S. National Security.” His efforts on energy include: the Vehicle and Fuel Choices American Security Act, the Energy Diplomacy and Security Act, and the American Fuels Act co-sponsored with rockstar/Senator Barack Obama, and the Fuel Security and Consumer Choice Act.
And Friedman, always ready with excellent soundbites, trumpeted a green and patriotic future, declaring that “green is the new red, white, and blue.” He says green technology will be the growth industry of the 21st century, most likely led by Chinese innovation if the U.S. government doesn’t stop coddling Detroit.
The full transcript and links to more video are available here.
Here’s a video clip of Friedman explaining The First Law of Petropolitics at the beginning of the event.
More from Foreign Policy
A New Multilateralism
How the United States can rejuvenate the global institutions it created.
America Prepares for a Pacific War With China It Doesn’t Want
Embedded with U.S. forces in the Pacific, I saw the dilemmas of deterrence firsthand.
The Endless Frustration of Chinese Diplomacy
Beijing’s representatives are always scared they could be the next to vanish.
The End of America’s Middle East
The region’s four major countries have all forfeited Washington’s trust.