Does Asia's mushrooming demand for energy—half of the growth in global demand—portend a future of skyrocketing oil prices and regional conflict over increasingly scarce energy resources in disputed territories? In a provocative new book, The Asian Energy Factor: Myths and Dilemmas of Energy, Security, and the Pacific Future, Robert Manning, senior fellow and director of Asian Studies at the Council, examines the impact of burgeoning Asian energy demand on world markets, Asian energy choices, and regional security. The book challenges such current myths as the notion of dwindling global oil supply, the Caspian Basin as the new Persian Gulf, and the inevitability of military conflict as a result of modernization, economic buoyancy, and increased nationalism triggered by competition over energy resources.
The Asian Energy Factor assesses the energy challenges and strategies of Asian nations and explores the new geopolitics emerging from their efforts to meet these challenges, the new possibilities for energy to serve as a vehicle for security cooperation, and the implications for American interests and policy in the region. Manning focuses on the growing Asia-Middle East energy nexus and the energy predicaments of the major Asian actors: China, India, Japan, and Korea, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. China will account for roughly half of the energy growth in Asia, and a detailed chapter demonstrates that China's ability to meet its energy challenges is a question inseparable from its larger economic transformation.
Manning argues for discarding scarcity-based notions of energy and adopting instead a market-based paradigm for making choices. His book examines the implications for U.S. policy, starting with the burden-sharing dilemmas that lay ahead. It argues for a rethinking of Caspian policy and raising the profile of energy in U.S. Asia policy.