Fueling U.S. adversaries - The Washington Times
These are flush times for some of America's most determined adversaries.
Exploiting tight global energy markets and soaring gas prices in recent years, leading energy producers around the globe are using their export windfalls to challenge U.S. interests, intimidate U.S. allies and, in some cases, bankroll terrorist and insurgent groups fighting U.S. forces.
Major producers such as Venezuela, Russia and Iran have teamed up with emerging energy consumers -- notably China -- in an "axis of oil" to frustrate U.S. foreign-policy objectives, according to Flynt Leverett, a former top Middle East adviser in the Bush administration, and Pierre Noel, a research fellow with the French Institute of International Relations.
"The political consequences of recent changes in global energy markets are posing the most profound challenge to American hegemony since the end of the Cold War," the two concluded in a recent survey in the journal National Interest.
Even Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a veteran of both Bush administrations and a longtime foreign-policy scholar, conceded earlier this year she underestimated the ways the "energy question" distorted international relations.
"I can tell you that nothing has really taken me aback more as secretary of state than the way the politics of energy is -- I will use the word 'warping' -- diplomacy around the world," she told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in April.
"It has given extraordinary power to some states that are using that power in not very good ways for the international system, states that would have otherwise have very little power," she said.