"The hard edges of Syria's frontlines—dogmatic, revolutionary, Islamist or pure murderously sectarian—almost melt away outside the oilfields. New lines emerge pitting tribesmen against battalions, Islamists against everyone else, and creating sometimes surreal lines of engagement."
In the first Bloomberg View excerpt of his forthcoming book The Power Surge, Michael Levi writes, "Oil markets are often as much about politics as economics, and predicting future political twists and turns should be done with care."
A groundbreaking analysis of what the changes in American energy mean for the economy, national security, and the environment, authored by one of America's most prominent experts on energy's role in the world.
With this new American energy renaissance, Meghan L. O'Sullivan says, "The United States needs to rethink its grand strategy; strength in the energy domain can be a major driver of U.S. influence in a world in which American power is more diffuse."
"If a government can finance itself through the profits on oil, it needn't collect taxes. Let me suggest that this is not a good thing. Taxes create accountability — citizens want to know how the government is spending their money. Substituting oil revenues decouples government from the people. The list of the world's worst-governed countries today features many that are dependent on the production of oil: Nigeria, Angola, Chad, Venezuela, Libya, Equatorial Guinea."
Taxes on oil consumption have long been a legislative third rail, yet concerns about the national debt may soon change that political calculus. Daniel Ahn and Michael Levi demonstrate that energy taxes can reduce the national debt and improve economic performance, all while reducing U.S. oil consumption.
Michael A. Levi says, "The benefits of the oil and gas boom—jobs, wealth and, in the case of natural gas, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions—offer plenty of reasons to continue to develop these resources judiciously. But we should beware of turning this potential blessing into an unintended curse."
Drawing on lessons from a Council on Foreign Relations workshop in January 2012, Blake Clayton and Michael A. Levi examine the connection between global oil markets and international relations, saying that in many cases the oil trade is politically consequential simply because policymakers believe that it is.
With the Middle East unrest ongoing and the global economy recovering, gasoline prices are rising considerably. But policies to ease U.S. consumer impact take time and policymakers are divided over the course of action.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
Koblentz argues that the United States should work with other nuclear-armed states to manage threats to nuclear stability in the near term and establish processes for multilateral arms control efforts over the longer term.
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2014 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »