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MethodsStatistics Pol Sci POL 221
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Date Created: 10/11/15
Literature Review for The United States and China s Energy Security Dilemma By Nicholas Tapert Realist theories assume the centrality of states as the primary players in international politics and that the world is anarchic Frankel xv These two assumptions are consistent across various realist schools but the question of whether security in the international system is scarce divides offensive and defensive realists Frankel xv Offensive realists argue that security is scarce and so nations feverishly pursue offensive strategies which increase their strength and power and inevitably lead to con ict while defensive realists contend that security is abundant and so nations find that increasing their defensive capacity is the optimal strategy Frankel xv Defensive realism puts faith in the intractability of the security dilemma as a source of con ict in international politics Taliafero 136 John Herz first used the term security dilemma to describe the way groups or individuals act in anarchic environments Waltz 186 Herd argues that political units whether they are individuals families classes or countries living in an anarchic society will have concerns regarding their security from being attacked subjected dominated or annihilated by other groups and individuals Herz 158 For Herz insecurity and fear compel political units to gain power so that they can escape the impact of the powers of others Herz 158 The theory that in an anarchic system groups seek power as a means of achieving security stands in contrast to offensive realist theories which argue that groups seek power because anarchy in the international system provides strong incentives for expansion Taliaferro 128 In the second part of the security dilemma Herz contends that the actions taken by groups to achieve security make other groups feel less secure and so both sides continuously try to prepare for the worst in what Herz calls the vicious circle of security and power accumulation Herz 158 The security dilemma has broad implications in the eld of International politics and can be used to help understand how con icts between nations arise and the strategies that can defuse these con icts Offensive realism places a premium on the utility of force as a strategy for states to fulfill their interests and increase their security Frankel xvii From this perspective nations pursue policies expecting the use of force This expectation of a fight stands in contrast to the way con ict arises in Herz s security dilemma In the security dilemma both sides have common and compatible goals and interests but due to the structure of the international system the outcome can be tragic Jervis 66 The security dilemma function in much the same way as the prisoner s dilemma that is two actors pursue selfinterested policies and in the end are worse off than they would be if they had cooperated Robert Jervis explains that the inability to recognize that one s own actions could be seen as menacing and the concomitant belief that the other s hostility can only be explained by its aggressiveness is part of the mechanism that breeds con ict and makes the security dilemma spiral out of control Jervis 75 Furthermore Jervis also asserts that the inability to differentiate between offensive and defensive policies and arms can send two nations into a security dilemma Jervis 186 1978 Charles Glaser makes two additions to Jervis s explanation for causes of the security dilemma Glaser refutes the claim made against the security dilemma that greed is the ultimate source of international con ict e g see Schweller 1994 and argues that greed is a variable that enhances the security dilemma dynamic Glaser 174 Glaser also reasons that a state can minimize the scale of the security dilemma by increasing an adversary s unitlevel knowledge of the state s motives Glaser 174 That is if a state understands the true security enhancing defensive intentions of another state they will not respond as if those actions were offensive or aggressive and the security dilemma will remain minimal Charles Glaser makes concrete Jervis s claim that a nations attempt to increase its own security while decreasing another s leads to tragic ends Jervis 169 1978 Glaser argues that these attempts to increase one s own security provide incentives for the adversary to expand while they deplete one s own military s resources and come at a high cost Glaser 174 From the perspective of a selfinterested nation actions which threaten the security of others are not the most beneficial Glaser 174 This argument implies then that there are calculable incentives for a country to search for a way out of the security dilemma Kenneth Boulding writes about real incompatibility in which one state achieving its goals inhibits the ca1rying out of another state s goals and illusory incompatibility which describes the existence of a scenario where both countries can simultaneously realize their goals Boulding 130 Understanding this distinction has implications for limiting the effects of the security dilemma A nation that builds up its military to ensure national security does pose a real threat to another country and so the other country will often times proceed to build up its military also The ends for both countries are security and the means are arms proliferation A growing military could represent a real threat but the ultimate goal for both sides security is an illusory threat If the ends are compatible and the means are incompatible then discussion and cooperation between the two sides can limit the spiraling effects of the security dilemma The constant fear of being exploited by the other side reduces the incentives for cooperation even though both sides will be better off ifthey cooperate Jervis 1978 172 Cooperation requires that one country recognize that its fear is illusory and take the initiative to make a concession While most literature on the security dilemma grounds the discussion in military norms as globalization brings the world closer together a new range of interactions between nations provides a reason to examine whether the security dilemma can apply to other types of interactions During the cold war nuclear proliferation provided a compelling argument for the security dilemma Herz said that political units are concerned about their security from being attacked subjected dominated or annihilated by other groups and individuals and this explained well the USRussia nuclear proliferation Herz 157 Discussions of security in terms of protection from annihilation or attack will undoubtedly address military concerns but Herz s inclusion of security with respect to domination or subjection permits a departure from the most common type of security dilemma analysis If the security dilemma is an effective tool in understanding con ict escalation then restricting its use to only military and arms based con icts and not exploring the range con icts which result from fear of subjection or domination in their various manifestations limits our ability to describe other scenarios in international politics Applying the security dilemma theory on a situation requires proof that security is in fact at stake and a working definition of security Keith Krause and Michael C Williams quot 39 J J39 of security which focus on military concerns and argue that the postCold War security order forces us to reexamine and broaden our de nition of security to include a range of threats from economic and environmental issues to human rights and migration Krause and Williams 229 Krause and Williams are part ofa growing school of IR theory eg see Crawford 1994 Jessica Tucman Mathews 1989 Theodore Moran 1989 Brad Robert 1990 Richard Ulman 1983 and Myron Weiner 1993 which seeks to rede ne the nature of security studies Krause and Williams 229 Krause and Williams on one hand want to expand the discussion of security while on the other hand they want to ensure scienti c objectivity and avoid an anything goes approach to security which has been a point of criticism for neorealist security analysis Krause and Williams 235 Krause and Williams do not reach a comprehensive de nition of security but rather advocate the importance of keeping de nitions of security exible in the dynamic world of politics Krause and Williams 249 In The New Security Dilemma under International Interdependence Beverly Crawford expands the de nition of security to include economic threats Crawford challenges the understanding that a state s security is contingent solely upon its military prowess and argues that economic interdependence can take the protection of important military resources away from the state s control Crawford 46 While nations are interested in the bene ts of economic interdependence they are also concerned with protecting dualuse technologies and so Crawford maintains that nations will try to find a balance between an open market and protecting foreign powers access to valuable technologies Crawford 46 Crawford believes that these protectionist policies instigate a security dilemma characterized by a slippery slope away from economic interdependence and cooperation Crawford 50 Crawford explores a new realm of security and in doing so links economic security with traditional military security Energy like high technology has implications for national security In the traditional sense a country cannot be a military threat if it does not have the energy needed to fuel a large scale wartime economy For importdependent countries energy security has broad implication for their foreign policy objectives and the power and leverage they wield in the international political scene In Energy Selfsufficiency and National Security Joan Edelman Spero stretches the definition of national security to include threats that would damage the functioning of the economic system as a whole while in icting political damage as well Spero 124 As the country s economic prowess withers and dependence on foreign resources increases Spero contends that the country will lose its bargaining position and will be forced to compromise other policy objectives for access to energy If energy dependency can reduce a nation s range of policy choices and autonomy and threaten the functioning of the state then energy security is inextricably linked to national security Crawford describes a situation where nations are forced to decide between policies that foster the free market s allocation of resources and also the need to protect those resources which are critical for national security Crawford 47 The competitive free market provides an environment that promotes the creation of new technologies but at the same time nations want to put up protectionist barriers for national security reasons In energy politics there is an analogous dynamic at play As the global competition for energy heightens countries simultaneously try to promote trust in the allocative ef ciency of the free market while at the same time attempting to secure resources through increased ownership If the argument holds that energy security is in fact a security issue then the security dilemmas should as it did for Crawford provide an enlightening theoretical ground for the dynamics of global energy politics In the summer of 2006 Andrew Monaghan published an article in which he argues for the existence of an emerging energy security dilemma between the EU and Russia Monaghan l Monaghan asserts that RussiaEuropean Union energy relations are bene cial for both actors Monaghan 5 Speci cally member states of the European Union need Russian energy to run their economies and Russia needs the profits earned to maintain its growth Monaghan 5 While cooperation is in both country s best interest European critiques of Russian reliability and discussion of supply diversi cation and Russian talk of expanding a pipeline to the east threatens to set off a series of retaliatory measures and compromise the bene ts gained through working together Monaghan 6 While Monaghan describes a producerconsumer realization of the energy security dilemma recently there has been limited discussion of a growing energy security dilemma between the world s two largest oil consumers the United States and China There is a large body of literature that addresses the upandcoming race for energy security between the US and China eg see Erickson 2006 Klare and Volman 2006 Lafargue 2006 Leverett and Bader 2005 Shen 55 Taylor 2006 Zweig and Bi date but only minimal work on the issue from the theoretical perspective of the security dilemma In June of 2004 Paul Roberts wrote an article entitled The Undeclared Oil War in which he deemed US China and other s efforts to secure energy resources around the globe as the real energysecurity dilemma in which these superpower s unavoidable quest for energy will become even more uncertain as their respective strategies for achieving energy security con ict with each other More recently in April of 2006 MinXin Pei wrote an article for the Strait Times entitled China s Big Energy Dilemma in which he reasons that the security dilemma describes nicely how China s measures to improve it own energy security are causing concerns among other oil consuming nations namely the US and Japan Pei writes off the feasibility of what does writes off the feasibility of mean accusations against China that they are trying to lockup world oil supplies and in doing so discredits the threat china poses as illusory Pei 2 If China s efforts are merely illusory then like a good defensive realist he insists that they should cooperate not compete MinXin 2 Stable relations between the USs and China are mutually beneficial but history tells us that they are also dynamic Both sides have their grievances regarding issues ranging from human rights to trade policy but these two countries have managed to uphold a level of conduct Regardless of what actions the Us and China take in their respective quests for oil the increasing global consumption of this nonrenewable resource will make these two nations approach to the energy security dilemma an increasingly important topic This issue deserves greater examination particularly because if the theoretical prescriptions for the security dilemma are going to work then it would be prudent to delve further into the policies actions and rhetoric coming from both sides to learn just how snugly this issue fits the security dilemma Often times during a security dilemma players recognize mounting tensions and what appear to be threatening advances from the opposing side but fail to examine critically the actions their side has taken which might have caused such advances In the case of the USChina quest for energy security rhetoric from both sides indicates an easy rationalization of their own strategies but a difficult time recognizing the other side s concerns In a speech before the Council on Foreign Relations Senator Joseph Lieberman echoing both Henry Kissinger and Robert Zoellick the Deputy Secretary of State cites the competition for energy resources as one of the biggest sources of potential friction between the US and the PRC Council on Foreign Relations November 30 2006 Many other voices in American politics have reached such a conclusion and like Lieberman they seem to get stuck on the notion that China s efforts around the globe are designed to lock up energy supplies and that these aggressive nationalistic policies are of concern for the United States CFR November 30 2006 The allegation that China s efforts are intended to lock up world energy resources is common and one that President Bush has made Sanger Senator Lieberman lists actions taken by the Chinese around the world and places the onus on the Chinese to change their policies Ultimately Lieberman like so many others emphasizes the need for cooperation between the US and the PRC but does not examine the actions his own country has taken which have fostered this dangerous competition A majority staff report entitled Securing America s Energy Future looks at energy security from the same security dilemma perpetuating perspective voiced by Senator Lieberman The report addresses what China has done to threaten US national security as opposed to the threatening dynamic both sides are fostering The report highlights China s increasingly aggressive tactics to secure longterm access to oil and natural gas and a reliance on oil equity as a strategy in the extended great game of geopolitics Majority Staff Report May 8 2006 Representative Christopher Smith of New Jersey voiced a similar fear concerning China s role in oil rich regions of Africa and its attempts gain a stranglehold on precious African natural resources and the threat it poses to American efforts to promote democracy on the continent Klare 623 These opinions expressed in the Majority Staff report and by Representative Smith might be justified but this type of agraising rhetoric dangerously disregards the role both sides are playing in the increasingly competitive drive for energy security The Council on Foreign Relations released a report entitled National Security Consequences of US Oil Dependency which analyses the USChina race for energy security from the perspective of what the Chinese are doing to decrease US security and not from the perspective of what dynamic both the US and China are perpetuating which is threatening US national security According to this report the United states has correctly followed a policy strategy that in large measure has stressed the importance of markets while China has conversely pursued policies around the globe characterized by a desire to lock up particular supplies for the Chinese market CFR Rhetoric coming from China indicates a similar fear and skepticism regarding the US actions in places of oil wealth Just as the US looks with fear upon Chinese oil acquisitions around the globe the Chinese are very aware of US foreign policy in the Middle East particularly in Iraq Pan Rui an international relations specialist from Fudan University in Shanghai explains The Middle East is China s largest source of oil America is now pursuing a grand strategy the pursuit of American hegemony in the
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