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Analysis and commentary related to current events, the geopolitics of oil, contemporary Iran and the Middle East.

History, Energy, & Security: Publications

December 6, 2022

The Reimagining US Grand Strategy program’s October 2022 roundtable brought experts together to discuss the consequences of the energy crisis. Gregory Brew, Emma Ashford, and Anand Toprani expanded on the present and future role of energy in global politics below.

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Just Security
November 7, 2022

It is clear that climate change policy has now become a sphere of Great Power competition. But that should not blind policymakers or private sector actors to the deep interdependence within the critical minerals supply chain.

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LA Times
November 3, 2022

Officials should be careful as they wean the state off fossil fuels, a resource that will remain crucial to the state’s economy for the foreseeable future. But there may be ways to protect consumers from wild jumps in the price of gasoline, diesel, and other petroleum products.

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Foreign Policy
September 16, 2022

Green technologies depend on the supply of a few key resources.

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Foreign Policy
August 30, 2022

The energy crisis may hit the global south worst.

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Foreign Affairs
July 13, 2022

Taming Volatile Oil Markets Requires a New Kind of Government Intervention

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TIME Magazine
June 30, 2022

Both Democrats and Republicans are misrepresenting the rise in gas prices, and neither party has a concrete plan to address the problem.

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Foreign Policy
June 8, 2022

A combination of low supply, high demand, sagging inventories and war in Ukraine will combine to push oil prices to historic heights this Summer.

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Foreign Policy
May 16, 2022

Private oil companies have historically dictated how the United States approaches energy crises. But with the challenges posed by Russia's war in Ukraine and the energy transition, that needs to change.

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Washington Post
April 13, 2022

Why Biden is handling steep prices differently than past presidents — and what it means for the climate fight

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War on the Rocks
March 4, 2022

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has brought a tidal wave of sanctions from the United States, United Kingdom, and European Union. Russia’s stock market is closedhigh-value foreign assets are being seized, and Western states have severed financial links between Moscow and banks around the world. Russia is on its way toward becoming an international pariah. The big question facing Western policymakers is whether to extend those measures to Russia’s oil and gas exports.

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War on the Rocks
May 17, 2021

he chief source of contemporary energy insecurity, exemplified by the Darkside attack on the Colonial Pipeline, comes from a range of actions that constitute sabotage — the interruption of energy’s movement — rather than from deliberate efforts by oil producers to withhold supply, as in the 1973 embargo.

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War on the Rocks
July 7, 2020

The coup did not serve long-term U.S. interests. It was ostensibly meant to stop a communist uprising, but recent research has concluded that the threat of communism in Iran was exaggerated.

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Instituto Affari Internazionali
May 9, 2020

The twin crises of COVID-19 and the crash in world oil prices have profoundly affected the geopolitics of the Middle East. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran face differing challenges from the crises linked to their domestic politics and foreign policy stature.


Responsible Statecraft

May 1, 2020

Some have argued that the US should commit to an increasing dependence on petroleum, as well as ushering in a new cycle of overseas interventions propping up an existing, overburdened, and outdated system of U.S. military hegemony.


Passport: The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations Review
April 2020

Gregory Brew comments on US-Iranian relations in the wake of the Soleimani assassination and escalating tensions between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran.


March 20, 2020

Saudi Arabia and Russia cooperated for years to maintain the value of their chief export—oil. This month, that collusion collapsed into a price war with both countries unexpectedly boosting production. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and China’s decreasing oil demands, fears of an uncertain future are shaking the fossil fuel economy.


Responsible Statecraft
March 13, 2020

Trump loosened regulations on oil drilling in pursuit of his “energy dominance” policy, but the recent Saudi “oil shock” has demonstrated its fragility.


December 2, 2019

Iranian protests against steep gasoline price hikes shows the government is struggling to balance its budget as oil exports decline.


Washington Post
November 4, 2019

Forty years after the fall of the US Embassy in Tehran, a look back on what led the United States to its fundamental break in Iran.


October 25, 2019

The President's risk, legally-sketchy plan to secure Syrian oil threatens to further complicate an already difficult situation


September 25, 2019

The immediate impact of Abqaiq may have been minor, but the long-term lessons from this incident are bound to become more clear with time.


September 09, 2019

The appointment of Prince Abdulaziz, the second change in Saudi energy leadership in three years, illustrates the challenges facing the Kingdom


August 13, 2019

For anyone raised on fears of “peak oil,” gasoline shortages and perpetual high prices, it seems a bit surreal that oil should be in over-supply for this long.


May 20, 2019

On May 8, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) invited U.S. Special Representative Brian Hook to an event commemorating one year of the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran. His comments regarding the 1953 CIA-sponsored coup in Iran hinted at a revisionist interpretation that flies in the face of decades of scholarship.


February 11, 2019

On January 16, 1979, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the shah of Iran, boarded a plane at Mehrabad Airport near Tehran. American attitudes towards the shah changed considerably over time. From an inexperienced neophyte wracked with indecision, the shah gradually came to be seen as a “revolutionary monarch” and a pillar of U.S. Cold War strategy. His faults, evident from the beginning, were ignored or excused, even as his policies exacerbated Iran’s problems, eventually bringing about his fall from power.


H-Diplo ISSF
January 22, 2019

This essay reviews U.S. policy towards Iran under the Trump Administration, for the H-Diplo ISSF Trump in the World series. During its first two years in office, the Trump Administration pursued a policy towards Iran defined by pain and pressure. From abandoning the JCPOA, to adopting a hard-line against Iran through sanctions and rhetoric, the Trump Administration pivoted away from the diplomatic gestures of the Obama Administration, in a determined effort to apply “maximum pressure” and even, some believe, to bring about the collapse of the Islamic Republic itself.


The Conversation
December 7, 2018

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries likes to look united.

That’s evident when OPEC leaders meet in Vienna at the end of each year to decide how much oil its members will aim to produce the next year. There is always a show of togetherness and the appearance of the quasi-cartel’s ability to move markets. But the truth is, OPEC is in the midst of a major crisis.


The Conversation
November 13, 2018

The Trump administration has formally imposed new sanctions on Iran aimed at hindering Iran’s oil exports – a move that had been in the works for six months. New sanctions do not serve U.S. energy interests because they may spark price increases that would punish American consumers. More generally, this move illustrates what I see as the incoherence of Trump’s energy policies and international diplomacy.


Washington Post
July 17, 2018

The United States has embarked upon a campaign of "maximum pressure" against Iran. This course of action is not only ill-advised, it is potentially extremely dangerous, both for the U.S. and the broader stability of the Middle East.


The National Interest
June 18, 2017

In the past, risk measurably increased when things got tense near the oil fields of the Middle East. Today, the world’s energy supply and consumption patterns are more complex.

اگر ساکت بنشینم گناه کرده ام
"If I sit silently, I have sinned"

History, Energy, & Security: Text
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