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What economies of shale for US foreign policy?
“Under President Obama’s leadership we are moving the US energy position from a liability we manage into an asset that secures U.S. strength at home and leadership in the world.” Last April, Tom Donilon, then US National Security Advisor, expressed a sentiment shared by many in the United States today. The domestic energy boom – often dubbed as the ‘shale gas/tight oil’ or simply ‘shale revolution’ – has done more than boost economic activity and create jobs at home: it has increased government revenue, improved the country’s trade balance, and reduced US dependence on energy imports from politically unstable regions, thus also widening its room for diplomatic manoeuvre. Europe has observed the energy revolution in the United States with both envy and trepidation. There are fears that the redrawing of the energy map will have profound geopolitical consequences, with the US losing interest in the Middle East and slowly reducing its military presence in the Persian Gulf. Are these fears justified? How will the shale revolution impact on US foreign policy? And what does this mean for the transatlantic relationship?