America’s Energy Edge: The Geopolitical Consequences of the Shale Revolution

Is America’s shale-based energy revolution having at least one expected effect? Yes, say Robert Blackwill and Meghan O’Sullivan. In the case of global energy production, it’s facilitating a gradual shift away from traditional suppliers in Eurasia and the Middle East.

Only five years ago, the world’s supply of oil appeared to be peaking, and as conventional gas production declined in the United States, it seemed that the country would become dependent on costly natural gas imports. But in the years since, those predictions have proved spectacularly wrong. Global energy production has begun to shift away from traditional suppliers in Eurasia and the Middle East, as producers tap unconventional gas and oil resources around the world, from the waters of Australia, Brazil, Africa, and the Mediterranean to the oil sands of Alberta. The greatest revolution, however, has taken place in the United States, where producers have taken advantage of two newly viable technologies to unlock resources once deemed commercially infeasible: horizontal drilling, which allows wells to penetrate bands of shale deep underground, and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which uses the injection of high-pressure fluid to release gas and oil from rock formations. Continue reading

John Ivison: Crimea crisis forcing Harper to rethink NATO, Arctic defence

For many Canadians, the events in Crimea constitute a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom they know nothing, to quote Neville Chamberlain on the 1938 Sudeten crisis.

But Russia is not that far away. It borders our Arctic frontier. It’s a country with which we have conflicting claims over sovereignty of the Arctic sea-bed and, perhaps, its waters. And it’s a country that has shown itself prepared to use military force to satisfy its territorial ambitions. Continue reading

North America to Drown in Oil as Mexico Ends Monopoly

The flood of North American crude oil is set to become a deluge as Mexico dismantles a 75-year-old barrier to foreign investment in its oilfields.

Plagued by almost a decade of slumping output that has degraded Mexico’s take from a $100-a-barrel oil market, President Enrique Pena Nieto is seeking an end to the state monopoly over one of the biggest crude resources in the Western Hemisphere. The doubling in Mexican oil output that Citigroup Inc. said may result from inviting international explorers to drill would be equivalent to adding another Nigeria to world supply, or about 2.5 million barrels a day. Continue reading

Is it safe? Radioactive Japanese wave nears US

In the wake of the deadly tsunami that hit Japan in 2011 and severely damaged a nuclear reactor, Japanese officials say the levels of radiation are safe for everyone outside the reactor area itself. But as radioactive water from the plant nears the West Coast of North America — the water is expected to hit in 2014 — can we be sure it’s safe?

The nuclear reactor continues to leak radioactive water due to poor management, while Japanese subcontractors at the plant have admitted they intentionally under-reported radiation and that dozens of farms around Fukushima that were initially deemed safe by the government actually had unsafe levels of radioactive cesium. Continue reading

Russia, N. America Outline Plans for Joint Anti-Terror Drills

From the state-owned Russia propaganda outlet, Ria Novosti:

MOSCOW, November 26 (RIA Novosti) – Russian and North American military officials have held a first planning meeting for next year’s joint anti-terrorism drills involving the Russian, US and Canadian air forces, a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said Tuesday. Continue reading

The Strategy of the Pacific Alliance

BERLIN (Own report) – Berlin is intensifying its relations to the new Latin American “Pacific Alliance” and, thereby, heightening tension on the subcontinent. The Pacific Alliance, a network of four Pacific bordering Latin American nations, has a neo-liberal orientation and is closely allied with the EU and the USA through free trade agreements. It is currently growing rapidly stronger and could, possibly also threaten Brazil’s standing as the subcontinent’s most powerful economic power. However, it is mainly aimed at Latin America’s Venezuela-inspired ALBA alliance, struggling for autonomous development, which includes strong socially oriented policies. “The strategy of the Pacific Alliance” is “not just commercial,” it is more “a political and military strategy [seeking] to reinstall the Washington Consensus,” according to a minister of ALBA member Bolivia. At the beginning of the month, Germany obtained observer status at the Pacific Alliance, with which the German industry is expanding its trade relations. Alongside its increasing tensions on the Latin American continent, the alliance is helping the West prepare for the conflict of the century – between China and the USA. Continue reading

Chinese troops will have boots on the ground in Hawaii on Tuesday

Members of the PLA who will be learning weak spots and crisis procedure during a time of emergency apparently don’t throw up red flags for U.S. intelligence agencies or the military.

A previous article on this can be found here:

Iowa utilities joining drill simulating knockout blow to nation’s power grid

Aloha Hawaiians!  If you see what you think are soldiers from the Communist Peoples Republic of China Army wandering about in your neck of the woods Tuesday through Thursday next week, your imagination is not playing tricks on you.

For the first time in history the U.S. Army will host the Communist Peoples Republic of China’s Army on American soil Nov. 12-14, 2013.

But don’t worry while Chinese soldiers will have boots on the ground in Hawaii, they are only really “simulating”. Continue reading

Navy should shift warships to West Coast in response to China’s aggressive military buildup, defence analysts say

Canada should get out of is cold war mindset and move the majority of its warships from Halifax to the B.C. coast in response to the Chinese navy’s aggressive military buildup, say defence analysts.

The U.S. government has already announced its plan to put 60 per cent of its naval assets on its west coast by 2020 as part of its plan to make the 21st century “America’s Pacific Century” — a term coined by former U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

The Canadian military’s tiny fleet of warships is split up on a 60-40 basis favouring the Atlantic coast, with seven frigates and two destroyers in Halifax compared to five frigates and one destroyer in Esquimalt. Continue reading

US and China: The Fight for Latin America

According to Robert Valencia, China is vying for greater economic influence in Latin America, to include possibly constructing and operating an alternative ‘Panama Canal’ through Nicaragua. One unanticipated consequence of this burgeoning US-China rivalry, Valencia observes, is that it might push Latin American countries closer together.

During the first weekend of June, U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in California to discuss cyber espionage and territorial claims in the Pacific Rim. While tension on these topics has hogged the headlines, the fight for influence in another area could be even more important—Latin America. Other emerging markets in Africa, where China has an overwhelming influence due to foreign direct investment in mining and oil, also offer economic opportunities, but Latin America has an abundance of natural resources, greater purchasing power, and geographic proximity to the United States, which has long considered Latin America as its “backyard.” Continue reading

How to Prepare Your Portfolio for Geopolitical Turmoil

Although both items need to be constantly looked at (50/50), the fundamental data lately is seemingly overriding the technical data. Observing geopolitics on a regular basis shows you the big picture where you can use inductive reasoning to hammer out the specifics in planning your future, be it from an investment standpoint or personal.

Had anyone asked back in January what kind of risks you thought might be giving financial markets a jolt by mid-year, odds are that you would have talked about the Federal Reserve’s intentions with respect to quantitative easing, the outlook for economic growth and whether S&P 500 companies are delivering the kind of earnings that analysts had been expecting.

Perhaps, given recent history, you might have thrown out an additional concern: That some unforeseen event in Spain or Italy might buffet the Eurozone and spill over into North American markets—after all, that has become an almost routine summertime occurrence. Continue reading

New Asia, Old Europe

As the United States pivots away from the Western world to face the burgeoning Pacific Rim, what wisdom can it carry over from its former stomping grounds to the new cockpit of geopolitics? Perhaps Washington can take a page out of Leopold Kohr’s book. The obscure Austrian philosopher once popularized the slogan “Small is Beautiful” — which has clearly never caught on in the States. Yet his theories on the importance of size in international relations might help Washington manage its decidedly outsized geopolitical challenges in Asia. That’s because, following Kohr’s quantitative logic, New Asia shows some remarkable resemblance to Old Europe.

Which is strange, I’ll admit. In demographics as in economics, Europe is the incredible shrinking continent. Asia, on the other hand, is the geopolitical equivalent of a magic beanstalk. Continue reading

Russia to send nuclear submarines to southern seas

The bear is back, while the USA is in retreat.

Russia plans to resume nuclear submarine patrols in the southern seas after a hiatus of more than 20 years following the break-up of the Soviet Union, Itar-Tass news agency reported on Saturday, in another example of efforts to revive Moscow’s military.

The plan to send Borei-class submarines, designed to carry 16 long-range nuclear missiles, to the southern hemisphere follows President Vladimir Putin’s decision in March to deploy a naval unit in the Mediterranean Sea on a permanent basis starting this year. Continue reading