Trouble in Turkey looming
What began as the Arab Spring has blossomed into regional unrest in the Middle East that now threatens the long-term stability in the region.
Until last week the United States could count Jordan, Israel and Turkey as pockets of stability within a political/religious upheaval that continues to expand and undermine governing unhappy people throughout the Middle East.
But now Turkey, with its secular history, a participatory government, and a strong economy, has suddenly deteriorated into the unrest plaguing other nation states in the region.
The unrest in Turkey may signify the near collapse of regional government and invite the prospect of continuing revolution and religious extremism throughout the Middle East not only for the present but for the foreseeable future.
For the interests of the United States this possibly poses a security threat to the fulfillment of our continuing need for oil and suggests the ongoing threat of religious extremism that drives terrorism.
Yet, while the concern is both real and present, our political/military options are very limited.
Simply stated, neither the U.S. nor any other nation or collection of nations can militarily bring or enforce regional peace.
Our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan should surely convince anyone other than war-mongering Senator John McCain that military might alone cannot and will not end the strife that envelopes so much of the Middle East today.
Nor does the prospect of diplomatic engagement seem to offer a path to regional peace and stability.
This suggests that it is time to re-evaluate just how to protect U.S. interests, specifically, energy interests, in ways to avoid entangling the U.S. in countries that inspire terrorism.
It is time for the creation of a North and South American energy security policy.
There are more than adequate oil and gas resources, as well as energy alternative technologies, to power the Americas for the next century … if those resources are dedicated to remain within the region for consumption.
But in order for that outcome to occur, and its security implications to permit the partnering nations to avoid Middle East entanglements, private energy producers would have to accept dramatic changes in their business models.
Specifically, their markets would shrink to the Americas and exclude other worldwide energy demands unless and until fulfillment of the Americas is first achieved.
This is a somewhat radical model for the current “open market” approach, but one that offers national security in energy while reserving local and regional sources to local and regional use.
Can the case be made that natural resources belong to the people of the countries where those resources lie, at least in regards to final resource distribution?
Can the necessary cooperation between nations within the Americas actually work to share these limited resources while expanding renewable alternatives?
These and related questions need to be addressed if the security of the Americas is to be considered as vital foreign policy.
Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.