The international system and the individual nation states that comprise it face crucial decisions regarding both the means and methods employed to supply energy to the globe’s seven billion human inhabitants. Indeed, there are few issues of public policy with as far-reaching implications as those related to energy production, consumption, distribution, and conservation. The extent to which fluctuations in price and supply of this diverse group of resources can have a dramatic impact upon the industry and livelihood of the entire global population cannot be overstated.
At the time of this issue’s release, the future of our relationship with energy resources is far from clear. With the increasing proliferation of disruptive technologies poised to dramatically alter the nature of the energy market, debates on issues as diverse as those of pipeline politics, emissions trading, and the practicality of renewables rage. Some innovations, such as hydraulic fracturing, have stolen the spotlight and seem to guarantee a change in the way we think about con- trolling consumption of hydrocarbon-based energy resources; others, including nuclear energy, have witnessed a declining interest in the face of failures to meet expectations of productivity and safety, especially in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster.
The Future of Energy seeks to serve as a primer for increasing public dialogue about this incredibly important topic, presenting a diverse array of arguments on issues spanning the gamut of relevance to the current global schema. Resource policies greatly impact the international sphere in economic, political, social, and security contexts and this issue will attempt to demonstrate how these fields of study and practice collide when energy is concerned. Paul Sullivan’s introduction will further elucidate the structure of the debate we strive to foster.
Energy policy is not the only field at a crossroads. Beyond the articles featured in the issue’s Forum, many of our other articles portray a shifting global landscape and seek to manage its potential effects upon the international community. T.X. Hammes, James L. Jones, and Travis Sharp discuss the future of American power projection in the wake of declining military spending and increasing global multiplicity. David Galbraith assesses the impact of the Arab Awakening upon the Gulf States; Ian Brown walks the reader through a discourse on the attempts to further legislate the Internet. The topics analyzed in this issue are eclectic, but together manifest the defining discussions of this era that promise to change the way we interact with each other on all levels–be they through track-one talks or online “avatars.”
The Journal too has viewed these last few years as a period of necessary transformation. With the Internet changing the nature of publishing, we have sought to augment our stable bi-annual edition with a robust repertoire of online-exclusive content. We were also proud to recently release the second edition of our annual International Engagement on Cyber series and eagerly look forward to providing our readership with even more opportunities to become a part of our academic community. We encourage you to visit our website to explore the archives, blogs, and debates further. It is an exciting time to be serving as editors of this publication, and we are incredibly thankful for the assistance and dedication given to this vision by our staff, contributing writers, and Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. We very much hope you enjoy this issue, and we are both humbled and grateful for your continued support in making all of this growth possible.
William Handel || Nora McGann