We take a brief break from the Petraeus Follies to reflect on the International Energy Agency report predicting that the United States wil be the world's top oil producer by 2017 and a net energy exporter.
From the Times:
The report also predicted that global energy demand would grow between 35 and 46 percent from 2010 to 2035, depending on whether policies that have been proposed are put in place. Most of that growth will come from China, India and the Middle East, where the consuming class is growing rapidly. The consequences are “potentially far-reaching” for global energy markets and trade, the report said.
Dr. Birol noted, for example, that Middle Eastern oil once bound for the United States would probably be rerouted to China. American-mined coal, facing declining demand in its home market, is already heading to Europe and China instead.
What are the odds that the Chinese goverment (in whatever form) will rely on the US Navy to keep the Straits of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf open? And how might Japan feel about the US reducing its role in that region and letting China take over, or share, the security burden?
I don't even want to ask about how the Indian government will feel about any Chinese attempt to turn the Indian Ocean into a Chinese lake as they bring their oil home. But can the Chinese really tolerate a situation where their nation's lifeblood relies on the presence of the US and the forebearance of the Indians?
And let's not give short shrift to Israel, itself projected to become a notable oil producer. With less US interest in the region, where is their support?
I look to the day when I glance at a headline about Chinese troops landing in Iran and promptly turn to the sports section because nobody in North America cares.