Washington seeks to transistion responsibility for security to the Afghan government

For all intents and purposes, the president's mission to me was to transition the theatre

We had alot to do:

close down the theatre

transition NATO from main force, ground force unit to advisory force

move ANSF into lead

recover the Amer. 30k troops.

as they move into the lead for major combat operations in their own counter-insurgency campaign 

this of course raises the grave risk of the escalation of a conventional conflict into an all-out nuclear war

Therefore, the only way we can deal with this is through non-proliferation tools:

- reducing and eliminating nuclear materials


- keeping them very safe secure and well-accounted for.

  • extend the life of old warheads

alongside new technologies, antiquated sys are posing new threats refurbishing we should do to our nuclear stockpile

prospects of the diversion of nuclear material

concerns over the security of some countries nuclear facilities still linger

materials used in research reactors, spent fuel rods from power plants, these kind of material

if they were packed together with conventional explosives and just detonated in a neighborhood would create contamination, and mass panic and by contaminating an area, they would deny that area to economic use, make people move out of their homes for long periods of time till a cleanup could happen.

-Pervez Hoodbhoy

AQ Khan father of pak atomic bomb; the design of the centrifuge, these things that  spins really fast to enrich uranium, convinced pak govt to start building centrifugess from there he  branched out to sell tech or exchange w/ Iran N. Korea and Libya.

Ensuring nuclear security requires a multipronged approach

Focus is, to get all the countries that have nuclear materials to come to the table and pay strong attention to protecting them from theft

Reality is , our nuclear weapons, from our perspective, are deterrents against the use of nuclear weapons

So until you have sort of iron-clad guarantee that there is a revolution in thinking, and structures in place to safeguard us from  nuclear attack, we are not going to be empowered to remove our nuclear weapons.

Today, individual nation must adhere to global standards to safeguard their nuclear facilities and cooperate with global agencies to track the poss. threats

they have an interest in reducing the spread of  nuclear technology and poss. of weaponization

role of iaea is going to grow and should grow significantly, setting stds for not only safety  in nuclear plants  and arrangements and agreements in that regard ...also oversight to ensure civil nuclear functions are not potentially diverted to militarization

keeping the nuclear issue in the spotlight is vital as is guarding vs complacency 

whether we are talking about the threat of nuclear weapons proliferation or wether we talking about nuclear  materials in terrorist hands the threats remain with us

ever present issue in the backs of people's mind

most people are managing their own world, having economic difficulty, or worried about the future of their children.

tyranny of the urgent

... or things that have direct meaningful  impact on constituents lives, things that are measurable then again with no constiuency behind thoughful policy-making in nuclear security is simply harder to get to

the most essential questions about the future of humanity are just hard to get to.

Questions about existenital threats, the future of humanity, civilization itself, well that's important but we really don't have the time.

...most urgent question before us.

see the problem here?

the incentives to look at the harder deeper questions are not there for congress. There is no constiuency is behind it

proliferation is inevitable

more and more countries over time will acquire the materials needed to create nuclear weapons 

...more than 100 countries have also signed treaties creating nuclear weapon free zones with their neighbors. 

it's not that more and more countries want  them  it's that countries are actually trying to get rid of them and the countries that have nuclear weapons are struggling to hold on to them in the face of this enormous effort by the rest of the world to get rid of them inc. pub. opinion in many of the nuclear weapons states themselves and so the challenges we face is how do we face conc. of power, military pwr, sci .power. and of policy makers  who think that nuclear weapons are a way for their country to be strong.

Whether you believe nuclear weapons prevent  world wars  or pose an existential threat to humanity the need to safeguard nuclear tech wil continue to challenge world leaders for decades to come

cortney warren

  • The grid is many appliances all wired up taking energy from a single gigantic lake of energy. All power plants dump their energy into this lake and consumers pull it out. What makes this form of consumption, this form of wholesale/retail operation different is that the pouring in of energy and the taking out of energy has to balance within a fraction of one percent every second, there is no business like it.
  • The grid is every power plant, every transmission line,  every substation, every distribution line, every grid operator, every  electric utility , every utility truck, every line worker,  power pole, transformer, every meter and everything that uses elec. in the developing world all together  at once. It is the most complex human achievement in the history of our world.
  • Problem is, most of our grid was designed around using dirty fossil fuels converted into electricity at huge remote power plants and it still is.

Fossil fuel generation is still only 33% efficient, that has not changed since the time of Thomas Edison in 1882. You say how can that be, 33%, as if your making a meal for your family and two-thirds of your food that your cutting up on your cutting board, you just throw it away. What other industry can you get away with that. In some ways, we have the same electrical grid we had in the 1940's and 1950's. The meter, that gizmo that turns in proportion to how much electricity going into your home, that's been around for a 100 years. The power lines that carry the high-voltage through the countryside, some of them are 40,50,60 years old. Somewhere along the line, the electrical business, the electrical power business, stopped being at the leading edge of innovation, and I don't know if we can ever catch up.

Why are we wasting our resources, why do we have such inefficient energy systems. When we got down to that I-phone, which has more compute power than the entire country did when we landed on the moon,  in your hand, We did that  because we figured out how to get  better than 99% efficiency in that phone. We done it, when we do that grid we got more power than  we can consider needing. Unquestionably,  we have to come into balance with the energy picture. Balance means, we only use amt the energy on a daily basis that we gain from the sun and geothermal and that it, anything else is working outside of our natural cycle and we will be in trouble

Smart appliances are either turned on/off at the behest of the grid operator depending on the available supply by way of the smart grid. (potential privacy issues).

  • has about all the energy it can handle, load does not match the production of the solar panel
  • integration problems, let's think about it, how are we going to do this and be intelligent about it.

Schewe's book is too historical and ends up recommending solutions via massive switching to renewable sources. Other than nuclear power, currently going nowhere in the U.S., that's unrealistic due to their intermittent nature. However, I found that combining information from Schewe with other sources creates a very useful overview of our power grid, its problems, and a proposed solution by expert engineers in the field.

The modern electrical grid is one of the greatest and most expensive achievements of the industrial age. It's a highway for delivering electricity to millions and a quasi NATO defense alliance of utilities pledged to help each other in time of need. It's not the only important grid, however - drinking water spreads through an expensive underground network of pipes, gas for heating and cooking through under-street mains, sewerage lines ferry unmentionable fluids and particulates, the phone grid and the railroad grid are others. Schewe's book begins with the 8/14/03 electrical failure in North America (Cleveland, Detroit, NYC, Toronto, etc. - eight U.S. states and two Canadian provinces) that disconnected 50 million. Hundreds were stuck in New York elevators, its electric trains refused to budge, water and gas were no longer pumped, etc., etc. The 'good news' is that the next day, atmospheric sulfur dioxide was down 90%, ozone down 50%, and soot particles down 70%. This was not the first time - 11/9/65 30 million in the Northeast found themselves w/o power - a power surge in Canada a tripped a cascade of automatic circuit breakers. Since then we've had deregulation - a spectacular failure. PG&E and other utilities in California were bankrupted by Enron's manipulations that included asking independent power generators to shut down to drive up prices.

America's electric power system evolved without clear awareness and analysis of future needs. Once 'loosely' interconnected networks of largely local systems, today they increasingly host large-scale, long-distance movement of wholesale power from one region or company to another. Likewise, the connection of distributed resources, primarily small generators and a growing number of renewable sources, is growing rapidly. In terms of the sheer number of nodes, variety of sources, controls, and loads, electric power grids are among the most complex networks made.

The U.S. electrical network includes some 15,000 generators with an average thermal efficiency of 33% at 10,000 power plants, 211,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines, and 5,600 distribution facilities. In 2002, the installed generating capacity in the U.S. was 981,000 MW, operating at 44.7% capacity. Demand increased by about 25% since 1990, and planned transmission lines for 2004 - 2013 totaled about 7,000 more miles. An estimated 281 GW of new generating capacity will be needed by 2025, implying a need for about 50,000 miles of new transmission lines.

There are three 'interconnects' in North America - the Eastern (eastern two-thirds of the U.S. and Canada, the Western - covering the rest of the two countries except Texas, and Texas. Within each, all generators are tightly synchronized, and any failure in a generator is immediately covered from other parts. U.S. power grids have about 150 control area operators using computerized control centers. Generators are baseload (running all the time to supply minimum demand), peaking (run only to meet needs at maximum load), and intermediate (the rest).

Transmitting electric power over large distances can create losses up to 7.5%, primarily in the form of heat - reduced by increasing the voltage and decreasing the current). Capacity of overhead lines varies with voltage and distance - a 765 kV 100-mile line has a maximum capacity of 3.8 GW; this drops to 2 GW at 400 miles. As lines get warmer, they sag. The standard material for overhead conductors is aluminum conductor steel reinforced - fibers of aluminum twisted around a core of steel fibers. Efforts are underway to increase capacity to 5X at current costs by 2010, with an ultimate goal of a 50X improvement by 2025.

It is inevitable that such a huge grid built in a patchwork manner over 100 years will have reliability issues. Several cascading failures have occurred over the last 50 years. Stability requires the frequency and phase of all units remain synchronous within narrow limits. A generator that drops 2 Hz below 60 Hz will rapidly build up enough heat in its bearings to destroy itself, so circuit breakers will trip it out when the frequency varies too much. Much smaller frequency changes also create problems - a 0.030 cycle/second drop in frequency reduces power delivered in the Eastern Interconnect by 1 GW. Transmission and distribution losses in the U.S. have about doubled to 9.5% in 2001 from 1970 as a result of heavier utilization and more frequent congestion.

It is estimated that power outages and disturbances cost $75 - $180 billion/year. Lack of a coordinated national decision-making entity is a major obstacle. A self-healing 'smart grid' is needed providing more secure and robust operation, and security monitoring. Each breaker, switch, transformer, and busbar should have a processor that can communicate with other devices. Each high-voltage connection to a device must have a parallel information connection. Current operation, though heavily computerized, operates on a slower time scale and was developed in the 1960s. Much control is still based on phone calls between operators - especially during emergencies. Flexible ac transmission devices (FACTS) are a family of solid-state control devices that provide enhanced control of voltage, impedance, and phase angle of transmission lines - their use can increase capacity of individual lines by up to 50% and improve stability. However, there is a need to reduce the costs of FACTS technology - eg. by replacing silicon-based electronics with silicon carbide or gallium nitride.

Dynamic line ratings could use knowledge about weather and line sag to determine how much power can be transmitted safely through a line, instead of worst-case assumptions, typically allowing a 10 - 15% increase.

The cost of a self-healing smart grid is estimated at $10 - $13 billion/year for ten years. Our current failure costs, however, are not cheap either.

The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World 1st Edition by Phillip F. Schewe (Author)

International trade has transformed the way we live, the question of how open markets should be to competition can lead to intense political debate and occasionally war.

Supporters of free trade say, it creates the greatest amt of wealth for the highest number of people, representing the most efficient use of the worlds resources

Opponents say free trade eliminates jobs at home and makes the nation weak.

Basic idea of trade as economists have undesstood it for centuries, is that expands the pie, it makes the economy more efficient, it directs resources to comparitive advantages, as economist says. It also changes the income distribution.

competition for jobs, wages, for export opportutites in sectors that have not faced competition before.

Adv. in telecom, tech and xport have  "thrown open the door" to trade like no other time in history.

~Lead to the increase use of tech, labor saving tech that have damped the growth of employment  in particulaly the  manufactuing sector and people who are adversely affected by tech are becoming more vocal and pol. active

how much of Global Trade accounts of GDP, depends on measuring it, no  great statistic of value ?

Open trade has made it competitive for manufacturers in US but even more a lot of  tech changes, which means we can manufacture things with fewer people.

Govt can impose a tax or tariff on imports to favor domestic producers or protect against unfair practices.

The fact that we pay more for sugar  because we have restrictions on the import of sugar  from Brazil and other countries Thosee costs are very dissipated, very small,  for any one individual  but the benefits for the sugar beet farmers in ND are very conc. and so their is a natural pol. lobby fin favor for those things and put in place

Pol. / economic  rationale

Tariffs are coercion, govt stepping in to influence private xactions in a way that is unfair

Permit tariffs to be imposed if govt is engaing in unfair practices

non-tariff barriers, misalign lic. plate,not  tax but work in the same way

Govt  can also provide  finacial support to an industry in the form of a tariff

Protectionist in Ag, ,,heavy subsidizes for farmers that make it diificult for foreign producers to compete

In certain circumstances it would make alot of sense to subsidize farm production, insure your self-sufficent in food in case of crisis arises

Indirect subsidies in the prod. of goods in other counries, that actually lower the price. For instance, lack of environment stds, labor stds, governance structures where you have direct govt subsidies into bus. , where ours is indirect, all of these create an unbalanced playing field for trade. People begin to percieve this intuit it, and not sure it works for usa anymore.

Smoot-Hawley basically blocaked imports coming into the US and contributed to a decline in economic output and precipitious drop of unemployment and Great Depression

Nations had to choose a strategy for growth within the newly formed Bretton Woods system.

There was a consensus that increased trade barriers contributed to war

You can think of it broadly Bretton Woods and GATT together two big liberalizing trade and monetary  and industrial liberlazation after WWII lead by the US

In those days, we were by far the biggest steel makers in the world, by far the biggest aiplane makers in the  world, car producers, whatever you wanted to look at. We had 1/2  the world's GDP. I think we were taking and did take a constructive approach by opening our mkts to others,  but we expected their mkts to be open  to us.

NAFTA has  been so controversial, is it maked a sea change in American trade policy. So if you look at the history of the global trade regime post WWII, what they called the GATT negotiations, which eventually became creation of the WTO. The countries involved in those were almost all reasonably wealthy countries.

We seek a new more open and global trading sys.

It was the first of its kind agreement, between very disparate levels of development economies.


Uraguay round

oversold  the upside and undersold the dislocations that are involve

If you want ot stabilize population flows,  you want Mex. economy to do well.

Unions in particular have been vocal in demonizing NAFTA claiming it  has undermined their collectivive bargining pwr and lead to stagnant or declining wages.

Accelerate outsourcing of good jobs to Mex.  

But that it  also established a set of rules , that were not good for democracies , because it elevated the investment to state dispute. which was the first time that it was put into a trade agreement  protect  corp interest leaves worker & enviroment vunerable.

Over view is, 25 years or so since NAFTA was put into place have definitely validated our criticism we made at that time.

The Unions have pulled out all the stops to persuade all the Dems,  of course Pres. Bill Clinton was Dem, to defeat NAFTA. At the end of the day they lost.

Clinton believed and I agreed with him then and I continue to agree with him now, that the future of the US lay in figuring out on how to compete more successfully in the world economy

The fact is NAFTA  has not had these ill effects, Manufacturing jobs have been in decline since 1979, NAFTA  took effect in 1994, between  1979  and  1993  those 14 years 2.7 million jobs,  and in the 14 years between 1994 and 2007 2.7 million jobs, same amt. the traj.  has been the same .

Trans Pacific Partnership a free trade agreement between  the US and 11 other Pacific Nations. Its a trade agreement that would eliminate most not all, but most trade barriers among the US, Japan , and 10 other coutries in the Asia-Pacific Region inc. some  quite low-wage economies like Vietnam

It is not just a pure lowering of trade barriers its sort of a a negotiated withdrawl from protectionist persepective 

It makes for great politics that trade agrteements like are going to hurt Amer. worker, they are also going to help Amer. coonsumers.

Alot of what TPP ls looking to do is buiiding relationships with other Pacific Nations to counterbalance China

Proponents of the TPP argue that if the US  does not ratify it, China will be more likely to succeed with its own trade agreement of  and set the tone of future global trade deals

About Amer. leadership in the world. we have negotiated, we have lead this negotiatiion, and if we can't  deliever, I don't understand how countries are going to negotiate with the US in the future.

Are we joining peacefully in Asia, or we turning our backs on it?

You cant escape the important political dimension, when you talk about tha politcal  trade agreement. That will be more important  in my judgement than the economic impact.

China has been accused of implementing protectionist policies like currency manipulation, to drive growth and create an uneven playing field.

The Chin. government has intervened in currency mkts to buy up US dollars, and what does essentialy is it makes Amer. products expensive ande makes Chin. products artifically cheap. It makes it harder for amer. bus. and workers to compete effectively. We don't have any enforceable currency rules in the TPP.

China was a huge offender in that regard, and that is one of the reasons  why our trade deficit  went to the roof in the 2000's very much laid low by unfair competiton with those cheap exports from China.

Amer. in the manufacturing sector see factories shutting down  while foreign made goods are flood the shelves of Amer. stores. To them, the US appears to be getting a raw deal. When you see factories closing  and you're reading that China is the world's second largest economy, that casuality is easy to make, but is not trade that is causing factories to close. Today our manufacturing sector, produces 3.5 times the output per worker hour  as we did in 1979 when we were in peak employment.

We have seen jobs move, jobs decline but not output decline.

You will  destruction  from trade, You will see the impact on the community,  What you won't see is the fact Amer. consumers who now get those appliance at  lower prices will have more resources to spend on other goods and services or put in the bank.

PTB will have to address and improve the lives of economic equality and opp. of those people who were feeling marginalized by globalization.

For a long time, the story of trade lwas that it lifts all boats equally. Yet the benefits of trade were diffuse and the costs conc.

But the cost have been conc. in certain places and what I think we're seeing is the cumalitive discofort caused by decades of rising economic comp. from the US.

Subscribe to macroeconmic theory, that says there is a free movement of labor, So the painful aspects of trade, dislocations, are very real and there localized.

That is a problem but the US economy, has been good over the years at redeploying people who have lost their jobs, finding other jobs in other sectors. Although the last decade or so  the economy has not been good at that there has been alot of labor mkt friction. Its hard to move, because the healthcare is tied to their jobs.

We have a program called Trade Adjustment Assistance,, which is designed to help workers who are displaced because of trade and that has been around for decades but what  we said about of TAA,  is there is not quite enough of it and it has not been that effective.

Still most economist argue that free trade strengthens  the economy in the long run

In the abstract free trade is nherhently good becuase it enlargens the economic pie and allows societies to specializes on what they do best. But in practice we see that you know partiall liberalized trade regimes and some countries try to  protect mkt while trying to open mkt have created alot of dislocations and frictions.

The onus is not on trade, trade does its job, its suppose to grow the pie.

The onus is on domestic poliices, how do we overcome labor mkt friction so people do not lose there jobs can be remployed elsewhere.

The defenders of trade talk about how the pie has inc., this is almost the non-stop rhetoric...

Losers are saying That's fine, your getting the bigger slices, but what about us.

And since American politics internally turned away from income redistribution 35 years ago when R.Reagan became Pres. and we want to hear about our slice.

Trans Atlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a proposed agreement between the US/EU, two of the world's dominant trading partners.

CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) EU/CANADA deal The  TTIP is a negotiation between the US and the EU and of course until Britain exited, Britain was one of the 28 countries that we were collectively negotiating with. The aim of the TTIP like the TTP was to achieve much greater integration between the US and European economies.

There is a lot of anxiety around consumer/environmental protections and what it will mean for Europe to tie its economy more closely with the US.  I think they are worried that US corps will take advantage of that, to weaken some of the European environmental and consumer protections.

The perspective is different in the developing world. Wealthy nations became industrialized before modern globalization. Emerging economies say that are at an unfair disadvantage because  they are forced to compete on a global stage, while their industries are still developing.

Climate change is sort of this area that we see this push that developed nations are saying, you known we have to pull down carbon emissions, that has to be a global effort and so you're are going to have to sort of pull back your carbon emissions, this is to India, China, Brazil. and those nations say wait a second you got to globalize spewing coal into the air, and now , you're expecting us not to do the same.

Growing anti-trade rhetoric has challenged mainstream Washington thinking on Globalization and its consensus on free-trade.

When I was a young man, the argument was the rest of the world will not be able to catch up, will never be able to compete with us, We are so efficient, we came out of the war unscathed. Well that began changing in the 1960's and 1970's, it was a story that was pretty well over. By that time , they were rebuilt, and pretty well modernize. We got fat and happy and now we are fat and unhappy.

I think we are at an end of an era. So this era that began Post-WWII in which we've seen a steady growth in these trade liberalizing agreements across the world, I think that has more or less run its course.

In the old days the debate was free trade vs protection and it was fundamentally an economic debate. What's happened as trade has moved to behind the border reg. is that were now talking about issues that involve the protection of consumers or the reg. of financial firms. and so we are moving deeply into areas that we use to think of as domestic policy, but are now becoming part of international policy.

When we negotiate trade agreements, it really matters who is sitting at the table and doing the negotiations. When you are writing the rules of the road, you can write them on behalf of multi-national corp. or you can write them on behalf of working-class people, or you can find a balance. That balance has been completely lost.

What people are now increasingly aware of, in Congress but also the public is that are trade agreements have been hijacked and that awakening which is now transpartisan, in the US, I think has permanently changed what will be tolerable both in trade-agreement policy making Like I think the days of the closed door trade negotiations with 600 corp advisors and everyone else locked out, so you get these agreements that have no place to go but the recycling bin, I think that's over.

What took so long for us to begin to argue about this, because the folks that have been hurt by globalization and their communities and they are not a trivial group. I mean, to be clear, they have also have been helped by low cost goods, but their jobs, wages, factories, and towns, have really been hurt. They finally found their voice in recent years.

As the break-neck growth of trade we have seen since WWII slows, calls are increasing to do more to help those left behind and to account for increasing inequality. But it is clear that no nation can compete today without finding a way to harness the pwr of the global mkts.

China is building up its maritime presence. Its ambitiously adv. its terr. claims to disputed island chains in the S. & E. China Seas. Is this maritime expansions and effort to project pwr. and deny access to what were once intl waters or a reasonable assertion of China's expanding capabilities.


Paul Gauguin life was the stuff of romantic fiction --

A tale as exotic and astonishing as his paintings,

Born in France, raised in Peru. A sailor in his teens, a stockbroker in his 20's.

By the age of 35, he was a married father of four and a collector of paintings.

He bought works from Edouard Manet and impressionist Camille Pissarro and Edgar Degas and then a plot twist.

In 1882, seized by the desire to create rather than collect art. he cast it all away

Rejecting the fetters of bourgeois society, he began to search for artistic purity that would last for the rest of his life.

He scoured the remote areas of France and its colonies for subjects, restlessly scraping the veneer of civilization to search for deeper truths and redefine the course of painting.

And he died in poverty only to be widely recognized as a genius by later generations.

But Gauguin was more than a character in his story. He was the creator of Paul Gauguin, the visionary artist and myth-maker.

From the outset, Gauguin crafted persona after persona to shape the direction of his art and alter the trajectory of his career.

He can be Gauguin the peasant, rejecting the excesses of capitalism.

Gauguin the lost soul on a spiritual quest.

Gauguin as Jean Valjean, the persecuted hero of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables.

Denied recognition, he could shift his shape into Gaughin the martyr,suffering Christlike in the Garden of Olives, and of course the flip side -- the evil Lucifer -- a fallen angel turned Devil's disciple.

All his guises contained an element of truth. But the most recurring of them was Gauguin the Savage, the embodiment of a primitive consciousness.

His maternal grandmother Flora Tristan, was an ardent socialist and feminist, whose uncle was the Spanish viceroy of Peru.

He began to look away from Paris in search of purer world.

His search began on the windswept coast of Brittany.

Just as Gauguin mythologized himself, he mythologized places to fit his own end.

In 1882, he bagan to remake his life, leaving the stock market to devote himself to painting. Two and half years later he left his wife and family.

Unable to afford life in Paris, he moved to Pont Aven, In Brittany, in 1886. Pont Aven's natural beauty, the light filtering through canopy in the Forest of Love -- appealed to painters.

Fiveteen hours by train and wagon from  Paris, Port-Aven la in the department of Finistere -- from the Latin for the end of the Earth.

To Nineteeth century parisans, it seemed like an apt description, Cut of from Paris, Brittany was also cut off from moderity. Its largely agarian population lived off the land and seas. Farming, Fishing, and the harvesting of kelp for the manufacturer of iodine. Celtic rather than Gallic by origin, the Bretons were devoutly religious, keeping to the old traditions.

By the time Gauguin arrived, was Pont-Avec was becoming a Mecca for tourists in the search of the quaint.

But it was a starting point for Gauguin quest for authetictiy,

He lodged at the Gloanec Inn,  a cheap and popular spot for many painters drawn to the area.

His earliest Breton painting owed much to Impressionism. But he gradually stepped awat from portraying life as he saw it. Gauguin eliminated any sign of modermity and depicted his subjects with vivid blocks of color.

Stlll looking for paradise Gauguin arrived in Panama in 1887 with Charles Laval,  a younger artist,

Work had begun on the canal which open the floodgates to another wave of colonial adventure

Gauguin found work w/ a  construction firm, After  two weeks and a bout  maleria and dysentarm the painters went of to Martinque and found a new storehouse of ideas.

Buvette De la Plage, was home to painters of a new generation in search of a new path.

Gauguin urged artists to copy nature too much and express instead images and ideas forged in the mind.

For me in this painting the landscape and the fight exists in the imagination of the people praying after the sermon.

Which is why there is a contrast between people, who are natural, and the struggle in the landscape  which are non-natural and out of proportion


Another reference to the theme of the fallen angel.

A deep current of spirituality runs throught Gauguins work,

He rejected the institution of the church but not the faith or imagery.

direct forms of worship; captures the essence of the region's homespun christianity.

Where paganism lurks behind a  veneer of christianity.

Echoed a local Breton belief that saw the mystical connection between the Crucfixition and the Autumn harvest.

paints himself as flanked by or perhaps torn between christ and the image of ceramic savage,,

In the spring of  1889 the Paris World fair gave him his chance.

28 million people attended the centenary of the French Revolution. Displays included conventional European art. pavillions celevrating scientific and industrial inventions and novelties,

Tahiti had taken root as an eartly paradise in the European Imagination. More than a century earlier the Fr.explorer

Lois Antoine de Bougainville had published a glowing account of his visit to the island in 1768, likening it to the Garden of Eve

As enigmatic as the question as he asked himself in his twenty year commitment to painting, Gauguin achievements as an artist broke the bounds of naturalism and moved painting into the new century, His questions remained unanswered. But for all his guises schemes and dreams  Paul Gauguin remained unbowed to the very end,\

I feel that I have been right about art, and if my works don't endure There will remain memory of an artist  who set painting free

Is this maritime expansion an effort to project power and deny access to what were once International Waters or a reasonable exertion of China's expanding capabilities Nine Dash Line (cow tongue) 1947, adv. its what it called - Marking it claim to sovereignty over parts of the East China, South China and Yellow Sea.

Chinese Navy is undergoing a xformation of historic importance recieving a significant portion of the natl military budget at a cost to the army.

It is already affecting the composition of the Central Military Commission. What it basically means, Navy, Rocket force, and Air Force, are going to get an increasing weight in China's military posture

China is widely- believed to be building its own indigenous aircraft carrier and China has a record of scaling up, and the learning from their scaling up very rapidly. So we should expect a very large fleet of Chinese aircraft carriers,battlegroups over the next decades.

In terms of material and actual assets of hard power, China is extremely weak

There may be a limit to China's ambitions. Beijings military spending remains a fraction of what the US spends. Analysts question whether it has the economic strength to transform its navy while Chinese economy attempts to transition away from its traditional manufacturing base.

China's economy is going to slow down,-- planned transition to slower HQ more sustainable economic dev.

China will still be able to put a higher percentage of its budget at the service of strategic goals

Xinjin Ping is trying to keep his right secure and keep his base happy and so when you have economic troubles at home, one often sees a flexing of military muscle. I see China's projection, attempted projection of pwr in the South China as directly related to its weakness economically.

For the moment it has an economy to support, they do not have the geography to support. And unfortunately can't escape their geography. So China's problem, it does not have untrammeled unconstricted access to the open ocean

The US has defense agreements with many of the countries which contest China's claims in the East and South China Sea.

We have a big alliance sys. there., we have treaty allies Japan S. Korea and Australia. We have def. agreements with Thailand, and Philipines. We have new security partnerships with Vietnam, Malaysia Singapore Indonesia and India . We are very present in Asia

We need the US committed to the region and remain in the region as a stabilizing pwr, that makes our op. our collaberation with US forces to be more effective when its necessary.

Because you have two strong states with two highly-dev. naval capabilities, which irrespective of what the US might choose to do or not do at a particular time may find themselves in an uncontrolled firefight. I think we became periously close to that in the events of 2014

Let me reiterate, our treaty committment to Japan is absolute, and Article 5 covers terr. under Japans admin. inc. senkoyu diadyu

Chinese officials dispute the notion that they are acting in a agressive manner. They draw parallels between their actions and the US influence in the Caribbean.

-- it does not see itself acting inimical to the rule of law.

It claims frequently that the US ( or its allies) who are militarizing the South China Sea when we conduct our Freedom of Navigation op.

Chinese see it as you as you Americans after consolidating your continental land mass at the end of the 1th century, went on to strategically dominate the greater Caribbean.

So these seas are our Carribean , why should we be any different from you?

When China has been told that it has been agressive. it's answer -- no, China has shown extraordinary restraint.

One thing that I know will contribute to regional peace and stability is a constructive relationship between US & China

In 2011, President Obama anonounced the Pivot to Asia- reallocation of diplomatic and military resources to the region.

We've always been interested in Asia. We've always had a strong relationship with asia. I think the rebalance, has been an effort of the admin. to say look, were going to put a focus on Asia , Asia has become more important we need to put more resources into asia.

Its the US presence in the Western Pacific that enable China to rise peacefully w/o destabilizing the region. That is why I think the rebalancing policy is a good policy.

The pivot to Asia was suppose to happen 25 years ago.

Asia is the organizing principle of the world economy.

China has certainly reacted to the pivot to asia fairly negatively , China is inclined to see any number of US initiatives, not limited to the pivot to asia as an effort to encircle and to contain its pwr

The US has began to flex its muscle by conducting freedom of navigation exercises. China has condemned those moves as Cold War thinking.

Observers, are urging all nations involved in the region to take steps to avoid potential conflict before they began.

We should welcome India, Myranmar, Vietnam and Phililpines,, all these nations having strong relations wih China on their own terms, as well as having strong relationships with us. That is a moderating influence on the US-China potential clash.

Multilateralism that will save us

...invite China to place itself in the regional order.

The best option to reduce tensions in the S. China Sea to use the rule of law, to determine disputes.

Strenghten our case by approving the Law of the Sea convention, as our military leaders have urged

It is in our commercial and security interest to approve the treaty.

Improved communications between militaries could help prevent confrontation at sea from errupting into hostilities.

US- China have concluded several confidence-building measures through which they create protocols for ship-to-ship encounters or air-to-air encounters. These type of agreements are a good idea becuase it atleast reduces the risk of miscalculation or inadverent conflict.

I sort of think the military-to-miltary activities are overated in terms of being able to bring peaceful situations themselves. Military forces obey the policies of their country.

...Fight the Chinese no matter if they had a cocktail party in HK 2 weeks before or not

If we talk about the tension, I think many people, esp. people in the US  maybe say it this is pointless for two major countries to fight  for several rocks or islands in the S. Chiina sea, but unfortunately now it has developed into test of will.

S. China Sea dispute, as a litmus test on how China going to rise as a Great power. Is it going to be able to peacefully resolve diff. w/ their neighbors..

For the moment, it appears that China's peaceful rise will not  come w/o friction. We can only hope that diplomacy will prevail and incidents will not escalate into greater conflict as China asserts its growing power over its neighbors.


Saudi Arabia, is a nation in transition as ageing rulers give way to a new generation, the political, social, and economic status quo is begining to shift. Many question whether an alliance between a ultra conservative monarachy and a secular democratic republic is coming under new strain

Saudi Arabia, is a nation in transition, with inc. signs  that the status quo it has enjoyed  for decades is beginning to  fray.  As ageing rulers give way to a new generation, the political, social, and economic status quo is begining to shift.  With an ambitious young prince, will Saudi Arabia  be able to weather the push for reform. Once known  for having a sp. relationship with the US, Many question whether an alliance between a ultra conservative monarachy and a secular democratic republic is coming under new strain.

Saudi Arabia and the US are at odds culturally and ideologically, yet for decades they have been said to enjoy a sp. relationship based on shared int.

In 1945, when the late King Abdulaziz, the founder of   modern  Saudi Arabia  meet with the late FDR on the Amer. destroyer Quincy, there was a strong strategic relationship that developed between the two countries.

There are lots of areas where we can work together.We, at times,  have diff. views and diff. priorities  and diff. values . We understand that, but we shara a common  committment to a peaceful region.  And I think we can work w/ S. Arabia to accomplish that.

The sp. relationship between the US and the Saudis  comes down to one three letter word, which is oil. The  Saudis continue to sit on the  largest reserves  oil in the world, and therefore they can set prices.

During WWII, FDR realized how essential petroleum was to US security. He declared the def. of Saudi Arabiaas vital to the def. of the US. US began to sell arms to the Saudis ,a trend that continues today.

Clairborne Pell: The purpose of the hearing is to assess the exec. branch proposal for a $3.1 billion sale of 315 M1A2 Tank and other mil. equip. service sales to S. Arabia. The equp. is some of the most sophisticated in US  Military arsenal.

Oil is transitioning  to becoming  the lifeblood of modern civilization. If elec. is literally the circuitry without which modern life is imposs. Oil is the lifeblood

Its both vital to our economy and vital to our military. And that became true, when we switched to an oil based military.

15% of our oil imports come from S.Arabia. & S. Arabia is the key country that sets the Intl hydrocarbons price for all the world through it petroleum production . It  produces 10.5 billion barrels a day .It has 259 billion barrels of oil , 

The alliance was further cemented during the Cold War. In the 1960's Washington launched the twin pillars policy, arming both S. Arabia & Iran against the threat of communism.

The Kingdom along with the US and and other friends in the area joined together  to  try to challenge this expansion of communism influence.

The pillars of Amer. grand strategy  in the Mid-East were to have these powerful allies who can basically do our job for us, and maintain security, keep the Soviets out, help to prop up friendly regimes. When the Iranian rev. happens in 1979, it completely undermines Amer. grand strategy in the region.

 Arab gulf states got together and  formed the Gulf-Cooperation Council. In large part, because of concerns about the Iranian islamic rev.  and the potential of exporting that revolution to their countries.

The House of Saud has ruled S. Arabia since before the birth of the modern nation in 1932. The royal family has an estimated 15,000 members.

Saudi Arabia is named after the house of Saud --tribe or clan -- So now they build a modern state, based on a traditional concept of governance.

Royality, of course, begins with the tribe, because it is the expanded form of the family. Your job is to be part of this tribe, to work hard, because you carry the last name, that is so crucial to our Arab culture.

We Amer. as as yet are ill at ease with the tribes, we see them as backward, illiberal, unprogressive. They are anything but what the stereotype is.They are  in many ways the social glue that simply holds S. Arabia together.

S. Arabia is known for its adherance to Wahibism, a religious branch of Sunni Islam known for its fundamental interpretation of the Koran.

In order for the tribe to rule they need, esp. in the Gulf region, they need  to bring god to the presentation to give them some legitamate right, the give them some right to rule.

The alliance between the Saudi Royal family  and the Wahabs has really sustained there ability beyond the throne. So the fact is, the Saudis are in a very paradoxical pos. where they are promoting and ideology Wahabism, which if taken to a militant extreme , you kind of end up with and Al-Queda's prinicple goal, is the overthrow of the Saudi Royal family.

The problem is, they have to deal with them as a political constituency , inside the Kingdom and managing them isn't easy. It's easy for the Amer. sitting in Washington, to say its a bad idea shut it down,but there are domestic pol. implications to that.

While the Al Saud remains in ctrl, the Kingdom faces a push for reform as one of the world's few remaining absolute monarchy's.

Most of the govt's which have a lot of oil become dictatorships, become unresponsive to the people because they no longer depend on their people for tax revenue, they can get the revenue they need by pumping oil.

They have provided welfare and benefits to the people in exchange for no taxation  and a pretty compliant pop. . Oil has allowed them to do that, and pol. participation has been relatively limited. It has improved but it is lhas been limited.

We never hear the real cautions of it. Are they going to improve human rights, social justice, and to adopt to a new pol. system., to have pol. parties, to have sufis to have have their freedom in S. Arabia, to allow woman to have their freedom, to allow youth to have access to the Internet w/o blocking them.

Do the people want reform?, do they want changes? Absolutely, They want it to change generically from within, and they see the Al-Saud family as the right structure. So essentialy, they have the govt they want.

The notion of social unrest in Saudi, while not impossible, because nothing is impossible, is in my view is highly unlikely

King Salman's younger son Prince Mohammed bin Salman has lead the inititiave to reform  with an ambitious national transformation  called  Vision 2030. 

Prince Mohammed bin Salman  is driving Saudi Vision 2030 and he's using the low oil prices as a good excuse to introduce reforms to how govt  operates and reforms he wants to introduce into the economy.

Its an opportune moment to really effect change because you can really only start the process of change usu. and history has shown us  when you face a crisis otherwise people are complacent.

We know about the economic vision out of it,, which inc three main things.

1) inc. revenue without  depending on oil 

2) cutting expenses, so now alot things that subsidies the Saudi govt use to give which is extremely important to keep the loyality of the pop.

3) the idea of investment outside of oil. and basically the main focus of thatis taking 5% of Aramco into IPO whoch eill be 2.5 trillion dollars., which is the largest IPO in history. of the world.

But there is no shortage of challenges to the plan. I think this is actually a battle for the poss. of reform in S. Arabia. The problem which  Mohammed bin Salman faces and which all Saudi reformers faces is that they are going up against almost insurmountable odds because of the entire financial and economic structure.of the country works against it, so you can't simply wish a private sector into existence overnight. 

Inc. the private sector is criticial . The difficulty there is that 2/3's of the public sector is Saudi nationals, and only a fraction of saudi natl's occupy the private sector. Those kinds of shifts that you would need are so enormous, it difficult to imagine that it could happen in a 15 year time frame.

I do not expect to see these very deep conservative social traditions to change overnight.They are going to take a generation or two.

I do not see him as an agent of change. I do not see the monarchy in general as a good model to enact the change because they are non-participatory . They do not represent the stakeholders, all of them and they do not have venues to express their concerns and change the laws and norm. A constitutional monarchy maybe, but he is not taking steps in that direction.

Many have asked why many of the hijackers involved in the 9/11 attacks were Saudi natl's fueling concerns about  S. Arabia and other Gulf-States sponsoring Sunni extremism.

Its no secret that 15 of the 18 hijackers were Saudi citizens. But in the decade and a half since the attacks the government  has been a close partner of the US govt on counterterrorism  issues in a range of contexts.

The important thing is to ensure that governments are not supporting this type of activity. The financial instituions are in place, aren't facilitating this. In the case of S. Arabia, the charities, which is another area of concern for people, but once you have gone throught all those institutional areas your left with the private sector and its very difficult to police that effectively.

The clerical establisment plays an important role in S. Arabia It has been an important part of the foundation of governance. And so the government has to deal with it delicately and the government would be unwise turning on its clerical establishment. In a year or 24 hours because everyone has discovered that there is a problem, there is a problem there, but it is going to take time to address.

We need to focus on which imams or shieks is supporting Al-Queda in S. Arabia. So the next question is which tribes and why are they supporting the jihadis.

That has been clamped down on quite severly,  so that you really have to make an effort to try and send money  to any charity now in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf without govt oversight.

9/11 America has conclusively and very rightly has declared that there has been no Saudi support for Al-Queda. If anybody has any proof of a single saudi, if they have any bank acct number , if they have any ph. number. help us into getting these people  who are presumably giving support to these groups. Either put up or shut up. You just can't simply say saudis or suspicious individuals from the Arabian countries are giving support.. Help us put an end to it.

The govt of S.Arabia is itself a target of AQAP and other terr. groups. The Gulf States have colloborated  with the US and others in the fight against terr.

S. Arabia  has been fighting the war against terrorin their hoe ground since 2003. when AQAP launched their attacks.. What that has done has drawn as closer together with them onh the CT front and the Intel front.

The biggest support, I thinkfor the Saudi Security Svc  has beem  the Saudi citizen who rejects terr. actvities and works closely with the intelligence services by reporting suspicious activity or suspicious individuals and so on.

Saudi Arabia, a Sunni Nation, considers itself a leader in the Arab world. But its pos. in the Mid-East has been threatened by a centuries old-rivalry with Iran. predominately Shia Muslim nation.

It's not so much S.Arabia vs Iran, its a Persian-Arab conflict, which goes back 1000's of years, so that is built into the DNA of the region, if you will.

SInce  the 2003 Iraq war, which was a key turning point in this sectarian feud, because  essentially what it did was overturn the sunni-led  regime of Sadam Huessein  which was viewed as an important Sunni check on Iranian - Shia influence on the region. There is a sectarian dimension,, but a lot of the rivalry is driven  by geo-political ambitions and rivalries between the Saudisand the Iranians.

The primary Saudi fear is that the US would essentialy seek a broader pol. accomodation  with Iran at Saudi exp.. And they saw a whole series of things happening in the region  as playing in Iran's favor and against their own and epicenter of this is, of course Syria. They viewed the uprising in Syria and the civil war which  followed as fundamentally a war with Iran over the future of Syria.

In Syria, Iran is supporting the govt of Bashar Al Assad by sending militia to conter rebel groups inc. Daesh who seek to unseat him

Iran under Khomeni, set the course for what is happening today, when we see Iranian troops in Syria, iranian militias in Iraq and other iranian supported shia militias in Lebanon, Bahrain, and even in Saudi Arabia they have what is called Hezbollah in Hijaz

From their perspective, Syria was  always considered a trojan horse for the Iranians. If the lost Iraq to the Iranians, we need to take Syria back. That's what made Syria a win or lose situation for them.

What they do want  is to see the emergence of a Sunni-led govt which would be freindly to Saudi Arabia ans hostile to Iran.And what you have since 2012 is essenitally this spiralling escalating proxy war which is basically intense because it is penetrated by regional politics.

Saudis are dominant pwr in the Gulf cooperating council. The military alliance has carried out an intense bombing campaignin Yemen where the Houthi, a Shia-rebel group backed by Iran overthrew the Sunni govt.

That looked like to them that now the Iranians were trying to actually tried to establish a beachhead on the peninsula itself, and it also appeared to the Saudis that Iran started with Lebanon and then Syria, and Iraq, and now they were expanding  aand they had to draw a line in  the sand.

I also think they probably exagerrated Iran's role in Yemen  largely because the Saudi wanted to make a show of force.

We're really seeing unprecedented assertiveness from the Saudis and other Gulf States in their willingness to use military force and military intervention to check Iranian influence

The US-Gulf relationship recently grew more complicated  when the US signed the  nuclear deal with Iran. The agreement aims to stop Iran  from nuclear weapons in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.

Its no secret that a lot of our regional allies and partners are not happy about the Iran nuclear deal. In their view, this deal really enhanced Iranian influence.There are also concerns, that it would lead to a normalization of Iran in the region and the broader Global community.

They didn't want to see the US  and the containment of Iran anf they didn't want United States to stop seeing Iran as a primary strategic threat in the region.

King Salman came to power at the age of 79, after the death of his brother, but he too must make way  for a younger generation of leaders. the world is watching as  this next generation of monarchs  takes the reigns throughout of the Gulf.

Saudi Arabia is undergoing a generational shift from the first generation.

Remember all the Kings of Saudi Arabia so far has been sons of King Abdualaziz and they have been brothers.

The UAE, Qatar, and S.Arabia,the younger generation is being groomed to take over.. They are well-educated. They are more connected to the the younger generation.

They are in tuned with the pressure:societal and economic  that their countries are facing, and they understand the need to diversify. and inc.  woman  into the workforce and really move to post-oil economies.

The entire bargain that was made  between Washington and the Arab regimes have always been that the Arab regimes would fight terr., contain Iran, they would protect Isreal, would basically ensure the American-led regional order. and in exchange the US would guarantee their survival , protect them from ext. threats  turn a blind eye toward their autocratic practices.

ignore the human right records of oil-rich nations that are our allies.

The state vision of woman , to be always dependent, to always be nutured and provided by a man, to access anything through a man  that is the most difficult challenge. because politicall identity really reduces the power of woman.

There are no elections at the national level, no competitive political parties, no indy civil society, no independent press

S. Arabia is the quintessential case study for a country that has an abysmal human rights record and  no one like  to talk about it  because they are the biggest oil producers, but that changing. S. Arabia has had a free ride for a long time, but it is coming to an end and I think that has created a real tension in the relationship and I think it is the cause of some disorientation in Riyadh because it is happening very quickly.

Both Saudi Arabia and the US realize their sp. relationship is in transition. Analyst say that both pwrs agree on the key point of promoting regional stabiliity an containing Iran, but Washington has openly critized Riyadh for focusing on beating regional pwr and two littile on combatting extremists.

On virtually every major issue in the region, the US and Riyad have been on diff sides

US- spread of democracy SA - leader of reg. coalition to prevent any kind of dem change, sponsored and supported coup egypt

US- Iran treaty view top priorty SA vs


US- de-escalate SA- escalate and turn into war

Point is, militarality and strategically US-SA are as close as they have ever been but pol. they have been on the opp. side of almost every major issue in the last five years.

The fundamental basis of the relationship I always believed is rock solid Military Intel CT cooperation is strong and getting strong everyday. I refer to it as a marriage, every marriage has its ups/downs but its foundations are strong the relationship remains strong and that's the case today.

they will be more focused on global security than just regional security and we can form a stronger partnership moving forward.

Despite disagreements, Washington appears eager to work with Saudi Arabia and its next-gen of leaders. To policy makers, a strong relationship with the Kingdom remains vital to maintain broader stability across the Mid-East.

After decades of relative stability, the US energy rev. is beginning to shift the geopolitical dynamic. Where once it was dependent on the Mid-East for much of its energy, the US now producing more of its own, allowing it to potentially forge a new foreign policy -- geopolitics of oil

After decades of relative stability, the US energy revolution is begin to shift the geopolitical dynamic. Where once it was dependent on the Middle East for much of its energy.The US is producing more of its own. Allowing it to potentially forge, a new foreign policy. The geopolitics of oil.

Nations have always been in competition with one another. Often, its in the search for natural resources, like oil and gas. A steady supply energy is needed to fuel a country's military and economy.

Typically, American foreign policy like British imperial policy before it paid a tremendous amount of attention to securing oil for the economy. That includes who we befriended, but it has also included US launching wars, stationing military bases, engaging in coups, orienting a massive amount of our foreign policy around oil.

By WWI, Oil is transitioning to become the lifeblood of civilization. ~

US energy revolution has shifted the geopolitical balance.

This is the new state of affairs. This was not happening a decade ago 

But today 80% of the oil in America, is sourced from N.A. from the continent . The vast majority  from the US itself,  20% from Canada, and 15% from Mexico.

Inject at very high pressure water underground into the rock, into shale and that fractures it, in that water you have sand and a little bit of chemicals in that sand, props open the cracks  and suddenly your able  pump that gas.  But the next part of the revolutiion, the one that has reallt shaken geo-politics,that's shaken  everything and the thing were watching right now, thats when oil drillers how to take the next step and extract the larger molecules, the oil out of the shale.

It's really changed the nature of the US relationship with many of the oil-producing states. If you look at the Libya conflict, the US does not have as much of a direct interest anymore, because we are not importing oil from Libya. So, its given the US a little more freedom, in our foreign policy.

For decades the Orignaization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, has dominated the oil market. OPECD was formed in 1960 when the Arab producers of oil are trying to figure out how can they get more for the oil that's being pumped out of the ground.

OPEC is seen as a bad actor, and has a bad reputation in the US , and in the Western countries in general, because of 1973 oil embargo and the oil shock that flowed through the 1970's.. The entire world economy was destabilized , and for the first time oil was used as a weapon  by the producers against consumers.

Sauid Arabia is a swing producer of oil. Having the excess capacity to balance the market, or manipulate price by increasing or decreaing productiion.

Saudi Arabia is by far the single most important factor in the  oil mkt over any period of time . Their oil poilicies today and how much they invest , will be the single most important factor determing the price of oil in the next five or ten years

Its not only the biggest producer within OPEC by quite a ways, but it is the one country within OPEC that's consistenly  been willing  to hold back some its abitlity to produce,It is what's called spare capacity

They have been able to come in at pivitol moments to either drain or flood the system at will.That has given them tremendous power over all of us. In fact, when they are able to flood the system as they have done on several occasions over the past forty years, often there has been a geopolitcal calculation involved.

OPEC is very often seen as an economic cartel that controls the price of oil around the world. That's actually mistaken, its a myth.OPEC has not been effective at cooperating with its own membership.

Global econmic growth has slowed, along with worldwide demand for oil. And the world's biggest importer of oil,  the US is importing much less.

We have been produced up to 5 000 000 barrels a day more oil in recent years because of the technologies, we described earlier.

We thought that the shale revolution, was going to bring Kumbaya. The US was going to put a stop  to the narattive of  America's decline and China's ascendance all through it oil. Our answered prayers  were much more than we bargained for.And so if we are creating  not just a short term,  but a long-term destabilized Middle East, a destablized Russia, that's not something we necessarily want.

When oil prices get very low, it tends to set off huge instability in many parts of the world, which, arguably, we are seeing today, in Venuezuela, in Nigeria.. Low oil prices, put alot of governments in a difficult position, because the nature of many of these regimes is such that they use the oil price to essentially placate, or almost buy off their populations. And if the the price gets too low, then they can't generate the revenue necessary to keep domestic stability. 

All of the oil countries since 2014, have really crashed. Their revenues have crashed. They got a kind of welfare and subsidy state. They simply can't get  the same , sort of cradle to grave  subsides and support, that their parents did.

Traditional oil exporters are in a bind. If they increase production, the price of oil drops further. If they cut production, they lose market share.

So the Sauidi's say: so we are really competing with non-OPEC countries. And frankly, these other OPEC countires are not a threat anymore.

OPEC, November 2014, held  a bi-annual meeting in Vienna, thant announced as a group: We are changing our policy. We are no longer going to try to control supply and demand. Instead, we are going for market share. Basically its each man for himself, but that is a lot of words of saying: We're are going to war with the United States.

Their choice is to allow their prices to fall, and that's deliberate because thei idea is they are going to try to undercut American production that's resulted from fracking, in an effort to regain market share that they have lost to American production.

Some oil producing nations suffer from the resource curse, or the paradox of the plenty.

Countries that discover oil, don't necessarily get rich from them. They have more corruption. They have higher levels of inequality. and they have polical problems.. There are less likely to democratize  and they are more likely to have civil wars. The US and Norway we're lucky in that we have a democracy and some strong politcal institutions before the oil was discovered. And that has meant that we have not only had oil development, but also a large diversified economy and the kind of political mechanisms that can withstand some of the bad incentives that  come with oil

Nigeria is the poster child for the resource curse. It's brought nothing but misery to that country, The folks in power have taken all the money, but left two-thirds of this oil-rich country w/o electricity.

Most governments that have large amounts of oil, neglect  their people.

In a place like Venezuela, where there is significant regional pressure to maintain atleast the facade of democracy. It maintains the facade but  undermines the reality. In a place like Saudi Arabia, where that regional pressure to even maintain  the democratic facade is not there, you have a straighforward dictatorship. You have a monarchy that leaves very little room for any independent civil society, any indepedent  press and simply rules by fiat because it can.

Low oil prices have created volatility in Venezuela.

Venezuela, not Saudi Arabia, has the largest reserves of oil in the World. It does not tap those because, it doesn't know how and it doesn't have the resources to. It's instead treated PDVSA (Ped-vesa) like a piggy bank. It's used it to subsidize the price of everything in the country.

There are horrible shortages in the Venezuela, the country has been so mismanaged, that you can't even get basic necessities in the grocery store. People have to search to get their day's meal. The old American adage: No taxation without representation, works in reverse as well If the government doesn't have to appeal and service its people, in order to receive taxes if it gain its revenue by just pumping oil out of the ground, it starts to ignore the people.

Analysts suggest the blow to Russia oil industry, may be encouraging Vladimir Putin to distract Russians from their economic woes with a more aggressive foreign policy. Russian foreign policy and low oil prices there may be a view that there is a connection there, in the sense that if Putin sees that there is a economic picture being bleak for Russia, his popularity in large part is being based on a strong individual asserting Russian interest in the near abroad, and some would argue that he would be more likely to do that in the context of oil prices to preserve his popularity.

In the fall of 2014, when oil prices began to slide at that critical point, The Saudis decided to actually increase production, they put their foot to the floor and ramped up production and they flooded the market. They talked about the benefits of crashing oil prices as a way of depriving Russia and Iran of critical oil revenues to lubricate their adventurous foreign policies.

In Saudi Arabia, oil represents 80% of revenue. Low oil prices are applying new pressure on the kingdom to diversify their economy.

But the truth is Saudi Arabia has tried before, notably in the late 1990's to shift the economy away from oil and it turns out that it is a very hard thing to do, this is a generational kind of project. Its not going to happen over a few years. It also means changing the mindset of a lot of people in Saudi Arabia, who are not use to working or having to work.

We can say that they have accepted that the age of oil is coming to an end, down the road and that they have to prepare their economy and society. Now, some would say they left it too late, others would say at least they have made a start of it But this is really at the outer region now, in terms of preparing for the end of the age of oil.

Heavily import dependent nations are reaping benefits from low energy prices and paying close attention to their energy security as the landscape shifts.

Consuming countries have always been concerned,in maintaining the naval shipping lanes and the pipelines that provide oil And we some of those tensions happening now in the South China Sea, which is of course a huge conduit for Middle-East Oil flowing to China, South Korea, and other customers as well.

Best way to start a discussion with energy is about China not the Middle East. China has a Malacca dilemma. Despite all the improvements in technology over the years the Strait of Malacca is no wider now than it was in antiquity. So China has been involved in one way or another in port building projects along the Indian Ocean. In Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Djibouti, Pakistan, Tanzania. And what this is all about is getting oil and gas from the greater Middle East and transporting it to China via the Indian Ocean north through pipelines in China in order to avoid the Strait of Malacca.

China will be tempted to pay more attention to the Persian Gulf region , and possibly start to deploy military assets into that area if the US attempts to draw down and pull outs. There is a lot of speculation going on right now that the US is going to use American energy independence to separate itself from the volatility from the region.

In the United States, the low cost of oil is a mixed blessing. It means cheaper fuel and goods but can increase consumption and hurt America's oil and gas sector. On the aggregate, low oil prices are a boom to the US economy, there great for the consumer and great for industry all round except of course for the oil producing sector.

I think low oil prices move jobs around. Low oil prices means there is less oil production. There has certainly been a decline in oil field jobs in the United States since the decline in oil. It leads to lower gasoline prices which has the unfortunate side-effect of inducing people to buy larger cars and to drive more.

At the geopolitical level, increased American production make the US less reliant on imports.

Some people talk about energy independence , and that's a goal that doesn't make sense necessarily for the United States because it actually helps us to be globally integrated into oil markets.

The bill I signed today takes a significant step ... It will help us diversify our energy supplies and reduce our dependence on oil.

... I would read in a speech where he would call for energy independence and getting off foreign oil. Which has been enormously popular since Nixon said it. I would cross it out and say: this is neither a practical nor even desirable goal for policy. I was usually over-ruled but I wont say by who. They would get back in , he said it, and it was the largest applause line. So there is no escaping what were really terrfied of, and that is gasoline price spikes by becoming self-sufficient.

What's been important about oil policy  is control over oil , not access to it.  When the US invaded Iraq, Z. Brezinski pointed out that if the US can control  global oil supplies, it will have greater influence over its allies.

For decades, the US has been dependent on politically unstable governments or what some describe as unsavory regimes.

Activists charge that energy dependency makes Washington look the other way, when it comes to issues of human rights.

US doesn't ignore human rights abuse of all oil rich countries, just the ones that are its allies .

If the abuse is by Saudi Arabia,  UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait , don't expect a lot  protests out of Washington. On the other hand, if its Iran or Venezuela, the US will be quite out-spoken.

Saudi Arabia is the quintessential case study for a country that has an abysmal human rights record and no one likes to talk about it because they are the big oil producer. But that's changing. Saudi Arabia had a freeride for a long time and its now coming to an end and I think that is creating real tension in the relationship. It is the cause of disorientation in Riyadh, because it is happening very quickly.

Cheap oil reduces incentives to invest in increased efficiency and alternative technology while boosting the consumption of oil and gas

We are driving more and we are using more oil and we are buying bigger cars, because we have short memories and we forget that gasoline prices might go up again. And that makes the economics of buying a hybrid or electric vehicle or alternative worse.

We are with low oil prices, bluntly, we are more challenged in terms of getting cost competitiveness of Advanced biofuels and clearly there is an impact in terms of electric vehicle penetration . We're making great progress. and battery costs have come down 60-70% in the last 5-6 years, but there is no doubt that the low oil prices and low fuel prices impact that.

We don't have a system in the United States, where we price in the externalities of burning fossil fuels into the price we sell fossil fuel at. We sort of deal with those complications on the back-end, those consequences at the back-end.

US carbon emissions are now at the same point they were in 1992. There down to about 10-12 % from where they were a decade ago. So that's headed in the right direction. But if you think about what it mean to stabilize global warming

We need to reduce emissions, not just 10-20%, but 70-80-90%, deeply decarbonize the world.

Fracking geopolitical impact is profound. In 2016, Congress lifted a 40 year ban on the export of US oil. With its own energy security more assured, some analysts believe the US could become a swing producer. Increasingly, are looking at the fracking industry and the US portion of it as a kind of swing producer, in the sense that the process is quite different. Its not like Saudi Arabia , you can't turn it on or turn it off in days or weeks.

Many people thought once it became clear to most people at the end of 2014 That Saudi Arabia was really going to abdicate the role as swing producer. You have to remember, it was hard for people to accept and believe But once they did, hopes then shifted to shale oil doing it. Shale companies are not going to replace OPEC and they really couldn't. Because remember, shale oil is produced by 100's of companies who even if they could agree to cooperate to restrain supply to hold up price, that would be illegal, they would be taken into court. So its very different than Saudi Arabia, where the Energy Minister picks up a phone, and gives an order to the State Oil company Aramco.

Increased carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuel has long-term geopolitical repercussions of their own, in the form of climate change.

All of those effects, will have a crippling effect on many of the economies of the world unless its seriously addressed.

The Congress as its currently constituted will not do anything on Climate Change. Indeed, It has prevented US officials from negotiating any provisions on greenhouse gas emissions on any trade agreement.

The World has agreed in Paris to stay as the agreement puts it, well below 2 degrees Celsius in warming.But it requires Politicians who understand the truth and tell the truth. That already excludes half of American politicians because they are creeps, crooks or to lazy to study the basic facts. So it requires a change of the politics. Our militarized foreign policy is also no friend, no help to us, because it has given us somehow this crazy idea that War and the Military are going to solve our big problems, where as what we what we really need is diplomacy and good engineering.

How Washington will go about securing America's long-term energy needs is by no means clear?

The most important challenges are resisting delusion, resisting the idea that because our oil production is closer to nine billion barrels a year rather that five. Because our imports are closer to one third rather than two-thirds of our supply. Because we have a shale oil boom, that we can forget the Middle East, we can forget about the rest of the world, we have no reason to engage.

First, to defend the gains we have made over the last eight years. The clean power plan is being challenged in the courts. The fuel economy standards are now coming up for a mid-term review and in a time of very low gasoline prices.You hear many in the auto-industry saying, consumers don't want fuel efficient cars,'cause gasoline is so cheap, we can't meet these targets.

The most compelling forecasts that I have seen is that peak demand is going to come before peak oil. When you look at that scenario, you understand why Saudi Arabia, why Prince Mohammad has made this big announcement, we are shifting away from oil.

Too many, improving alternative energy development is vital to long-term global stability, but oil is likely to continue to play a leading role on the geopolitical stage in the foreseeable future.

Once known for economic and political turmoil, the majority of in Latin American nations are now constitutional democracies. Latin Americans are combining left-leaning social agendas with pragmatic governance. Many also want to forge new relationships with the US and China. (un broadcasting bd, overabundant trivia)

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