Austin: What was the most significant development in international affairs this year?
Not to Canada’s advantage on the energy account, the most significant development in international affairs this year is the movement to near self reliance in energy supplies in the United States as a result of new technologies for finding and producing domestic sources of oil and gas. The consequence of increased supply is a lower cost base for the United States manufacturer, transport industry and consumer. This in turn has played a significant role in stabilizing the U.S. economy after the greatest downturn since the great depression and in putting the US economy on the road to growth.
On the global scene, the withdrawal of much US demand for international supplies of oil has taken the pressure from a demand driven price regime and given major economies, Europe, China, India and elsewhere both increased access and prices that allow economic stabilization and recovery. In addition, the current oil pricing has limited the cash flow of some major suppliers of oil, Iran, Russia, and certain African producers, and thus their scope for political impact in their regional settings, which may in turn lead to pragmatic approaches to regional problems.
As goes oil, so goes the international system.