This is a tale about energy and power. It describes the geographer Halford Mackinder’s geopolitical theories and compares them with current views outlined by Zbigniew Brzezinski and Michael T Klare, among others. With a critical approach it also provides a historical account of a Europe that stands in front of an energy struggle so severe that the current world order seems destined to fall. Oil and natural gas, has since the beginning of the 20th century, been used as a geopolitical tool in order to create dependence, control and even sometimes overthrow empires. USA has for example dominated the “protectorates” Europe and Japan by controlling the flow of oil in the Middle East. But this seems to change. It can’t be ruled out that the cities of Europe in the long run will be shrouded in darkness. The background is that Europe’s own deposits of fossil energy are decreasing at such vast speed that almost the entire demand will have to be imported by the year 2020. Awareness of this forecast, and the undertaking to reduce the carbon emissions in accordance with the Kyoto treaty, led to a grand proclamation in March 2007 to reduce the need for fossil fuels. This commitment seems however to be insufficient if independence towards other regions shall be maintained. Only a small part of the demand can be met by domestically produced fuels. Neither will the proposed energy reducing measures increase the energy security. The conclusion is that there is no time to develop new technology in order to save Europe from its difficult situation.
The dependence on Russia will instead grow stronger. The current geopolitical order, where the United States has acted as a military protector and guarantor of the energy security, looks like it is going to fall. The US is bogged down in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars at the same time as Europe’s dependence on energy from the East grows. The US also has economic troubles and their own energy security dilemma. Russia has on the other hand acted with greater self confidence and purposefully built alliances with China, the Middle East and its former republics in Central Asia. Russia may soon dictate the future of Europe with its energy trump card. If Europe keeps its alliance with US and tries to challenge or subjugate Russia into its “unipolar” order it will deepen the risk for conflict. In such a conflict, Moscow has the power to darken and cool down the European room. Since every country is dependent on the dwindling energy resources for their survival, it may escalate into a full blown war. But the new order may be short. Within two decades there will probably be no surplus of energy to export for Russia, or any other nation for that matter. Europe will by then be without it’s own energy resources and simultaneously lose the option to import.