The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight



July 28, 2008

Sunday, the Washington Post launched a 4 part series giving an in-depth look at Oil. Sunday’s part 1 gave a very solid primer on the global Oil economy, and today’s installment looks at the impact that China’s growing consumption has on both China and the world Oil market.

Oil is a complex thing. It ties together nations who otherwise would have little need to interact. It turns regions into strategic security choke points, it lifts and crashes major economies, and it, broadly speaking, shapes an entire way of life. It brings together some of the most important issues in international relations–security, trade, IPE, development, international organization, and more.

And, its something that few bother to truly understand or appreciate despite its direct impact on and source in your everyday life. They have a great graphic about the composition of your $4.00 price per gallon–reflecting the influence of market factors, security factors, geology, and even currency prices. It is a very tangible and teachable moment about the complexity and inter-connectivity of international relations and you.

What I also appreciate about the Post story is how they are able to show this as a Global issue. It certainly has its roots in the US economy, but the run-up in oil prices is making its mark around the world–China is but one example.

Not to be outdone, the NYT also chimes in with its own Oil story on the cost of gas price subsidies around the world. Many governments subsidize the price of a gallon of gas, and the increase in gas prices is going to hurt quite a bit.

The post series, along with the accompanying graphics is certainly worth your time.

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Dr. Peter Howard focuses on US foreign policy and international security. He studies how the implementation of foreign policy programs produces rule-based regional security regimes, conducting research in Estonia on NATO Expansion and US Military Exchange programs and South Korea on nuclear negotiations with North Korea.