The Merging of Energy Security and Security: The Russia-Urkaine Disputes and the In Americas Attack
Energy security and security issues seem to be increasingly inter-twined in today’s international relations. How are global and European discourses on wider as well as more traditional security and energy inter-linked? Which challenges are policy-makers faced with in dealing with this? Central to the emergence of energy on the security agenda are the debates about shifting global power patterns. Rising or emerging powers (especially the BRICS: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) are improving their status internationally - hence the label ‘rising’ powers - through a combination of fast-growing economies, resources and a certain degree of acceptance of the liberal order (China and Russia, however, are already substantial military powers and oppose the liberal order). In Europe, this debate has been particularly focused on the return of Russia as an aspiring great power, a status that is in part a result of increased state revenue from its vast energy resources. The discursive linking of energy security and ‘realist’ power politics also has contributed to empowering Russia and its return as a regional and global actor, some argue. The past months’ crisis between Russia and Ukraine, also indirectly involving Europe and the West, definitely has put the issue of energy security on the international and European agenda.
Seeking to address how energy and security have been connected in discourse and practical policy, two cases stand out as particularly illustrative: the Russia - Ukraine gas crises , which have recently acquired a more traditional security dimension , and the 2013 attack on the Statoil facility in Algeria, linking energy extraction, energy security and terrorism. Whereas the former is an example where energy is being used, strategically to put political pressure on another country and to demonstrate power internationally , the latter is an example of how petroleum extraction is a high profile business engagement and a potential target for terrorism, especially in high-risk’ areas. Both cases are likely to have direct impact on future energy flows to Europe as well as on EU energy policy in the long - and in the short -term and are therefore interesting in any discussion on how energy, energy security , and wider as well as ‘hard’ security concerns are interlinked .