October 19 2012
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke yesterday at Georgetown University about the future role of energy in diplomacy.
According to Bloomberg, Clinton specifically cited “the U.S. role in helping boost Iraq’s oil production and brokering an oil-sharing agreement between South Sudan and Sudan as examples of ‘energy diplomacy.’”
The Wall Street Journal reports Mrs. Clinton’s most important energy diplomatic effort was to sanction Iran and encourage other countries to not buy oil from the Iran. The State Department has had a big role in bolstering Iraqi oil as a strong alternative. Clinton, who created a bureau within the State Department whose only concern was energy, argues the issue is integrated into all diplomatic work. The WSJ explains the bureau’s role is to “put oil, natural gas, electricity and clean-energy issues at the center of American foreign policy.”
It is clear energy will play a greater role in U.S. foreign policy, but Clinton’s speech also mentioned climate change will play a bigger role. In fact, key to the new bureau’s mission is to promote clean energy abroad.
Yet if energy diplomacy is to be done by the Department of State and not the Department of Energy or U.S. Trade Representative (I will save that assumption for another post), the bureau’s main mission should be using diplomatic means to assist in making more inexpensive energy, while promoting the security of the U.S.
Many in developing countries work hard to put food on the table and build stronger economies. Forcing these countries to adopt more expensive energy sources is not only hypocritical, but it will also hurt their economies and, in turn, our own economy which is made stronger by the contributions of other growing economies.