Pipeline Diplomacy

We’re used to hearing about the coming resource wars, in particular how the increased global demand for scarce energy resources will lead to increased conflict. But as this post from 2point6billion.com about the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline points out, energy can also be the basis for cooperation between historical enemies. The beauty of natural gas is that transit fees actually encourage interconnectivity. Ultimately that’s why the West probably has a better chance of integrating Iran into its sphere of interest through the Nabucco pipeline project than it does at containing it.

Of course, gas pipelines also create pressure points, as Russia has demonstrated in its pricing disputes with Ukraine in the past few years, and as Turkmenistan showed in its price dispute with Tehran this winter. But the assumption that competition for resources will by necessity lead to increased conflict is not necessarily a foolproof one.

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