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The Prologue: The Alternative Energy Megatrend in the Age of Great Power Competition

A project of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Author. Published April 6, 2021 by Post Hill Press.

The Prologue identifies and charts the unfolding security trajectory of an early 21st century unpredictable global phenomenon: the ascent of alternative energy as a socio-political, techno-economic, and ideological megatrend in the context of the ongoing global technological revolution, the world in disequilibrium and the new Great Power Competition.

This competition designates a significant shift toward rivalry between major powers that have the capabilities to be a critical threat to each other. These great powers have amassed sufficient military, political, economic, and ideological capacities to be able to exert influence and compete on a global scale and/or in strategic areas, challenging the relative preeminence and potentially displacing the U.S. global leadership.

Through the prism of the alternative energy megatrend’s trajectory in a world of profound transformation, the study analyzes the upcoming global security challenges that are geopolitical, geo-economic, defense- and nuclear-related, and environmental in nature. On this basis, the study outlines the 21st century global security transformations and the approaches, strategies, and policies relevant to these developments.

The study addresses the following questions:

  • How is the transforming world of the early 21st century becoming universally securitized?
  • Why and how have contemporary alternative energy developments evolved into a global socio-political, techno-economic, and ideological megatrend?
  • What are the geopolitical, geo-economic, defense-related, and environmental security implications of the alternative energy megatrend in the new Grand Energy Game?
  • What are the attributes and drivers of this socio-political, techno-economic, and ideological megatrend?
  • What questions does the alternative energy megatrend raise about the modern understanding of geopolitical dynamics?
  • What does the alternative energy megatrend reveal about modern and upcoming approaches toward energy security in the evolving Grand Energy Game?
  • Where does the alternative energy megatrend fit into the 21st century transformation of defense capabilities, doctrines, and policies of the Great Power Rivalry?
  • How does the alternative energy megatrend redefine environmental security and contribute to the “greening” of geopolitics?
  • What does the alternative energy megatrend reveal about the transformation of global economic security calculations and the rise of geo-economics?
  • How will nuclear energy evolve in the upcoming post-proliferation world, and could it be a frame of reference for the megatrend?
  • What is the future security trajectory of the alternative energy megatrend in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and, in particular, the irreversible rise of Artificial Intelligence?
  • What does the megatrend reveal about the future global security context, and why does its prioritization become imperative in a universally securitized world?
  • And finally, what could be the shape and focus of the approaches, strategies, and policies necessary to benefit from the transforming 21st century security landscape? 

The book endeavors to answer these questions by proposing the conceptual framework of the modern universally securitized world. Via this universal securitization concept, the study posits prerequisites for dynamic security prioritization strategies and policies.

It makes the case for an intelligent and vigorous pursuit of innovation and an expeditious entry into the realm of the unknown as a significant dimension of the new Great Power Competition.  Such a pursuit could contribute to energy rebalancing, military capabilities, environmental safety, economic growth, and global stability. Most importantly, it could ultimately further human knowledge, prosperity, liberty and dignity.

The convergence of alternative energy developments and security complexities provides food for thought for those interested in geopolitics, security and international relations, as well as energy and environmental security practitioners.

Ancient Greek Tanagra Figurines Educational Project

From philosophy to figurines, Dr. Alexander Mirtchev has long been passionate about the Ancient Greek world. It is this passion that prompted him to tell the story of Tanagra statuettes, bringing the world of these Hellenistic terracotta ladies to modern life. This educational project explores their history, purpose, mythology, craftsmanship, and most importantly their grace and eternal beauty. A beauty created more than 23 centuries ago.

‘Defense and Security Budgeting in Democratic Countries’

A project of the National Security Studies Center, University of Haifa, Israel Co-author with Dr. Norman Bailey, Lecturer, National Security Studies Center, University of Haifa, Israel and David Brodet, Chairman of the Board, Bank Leumi le-Israel 

Defense budgeting processes in democratic countries differ not only in size, but in their actual form and rules governing those processes. In some countries they are more strictly bound by rules, while in others they are more decentralized. This study evaluates the potential for misallocation of defense resources, impact on defense effectiveness and overall effect on different countries’ international stance of defense budgetary processes. It considers how the planning functions of budgeting are often modified and reshaped by political considerations, which renders any attempt on the part of the agencies and departments involved to implement policy and process strategies in their particular areas unviable. The analysis makes comparison of three countries – the U.S., the UK and Israel, exploring the specific steps that comprise defense budgeting in each, and drawing conclusions about the contrasts and similarities between them. It determines that in democratic countries, no defense budgeting process remains purely within the realm of national security, but is rather injected with socio-political and socio-economic interests that have repercussions about the appropriate resource allocation to the defense sector. 

‘Global Perspectives on Europe’s Strategic Future’

A project of the Atlantic Council of the US and Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, London Co-author with Prof. Michael Clarke, Director General, RUSI; Dr. Jonathan Eyal, Director of International Security Studies, RUSI; Dr. Shen Dingli, Professor of international relations, Fudan University, China; Hassan al Ibrahim, Strategy Consultant, Government of Qatar and Founder, Fikra Consulting and Research; Jeff Lightfoot, Deputy Director, The Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, Atlantic Council of the US; Dr. Pratap Bhanu Mehta, President, Centre for Policy Research, Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi, India; and Barry Pavel, Director, The Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, Atlantic Council of the US 

This is a compendium of analytical studies assessing the strategic and geopolitical future of Europe. They examine the role of Europe in the global political economy and geopolitical relations from the perspectives of Europe itself, as well as the U.S. and other regions, in particular Asia. Overall, the studies consider that Europe’s future geopolitical role will be shaped by the ways in which the European Union reconciles its deep-seated structural problems. The progression or digression of military, economic and political union will decide Europe’s engagement in the world, and whether it can project influence independently or will continue to rely on soft power and multilateral approaches. Ultimately, Europe’s international standing rests on the ability of the European Union to sustain itself, which in turn is dependent on the political will of the Europeans themselves. The analysis anticipates that Europe’s geopolitical role is undergoing changes that can prove significant, but the fundamental factors of European geopolitical weight are unlikely to evolve beyond recognition, and will still rest on the economic, cultural, socio-political, and military wherewithal that specific member countries would possess and be willing to exert on behalf of the respective guise that the European Union will don in the future. 

‘Economic Security & Statecraft: The Quest for a New Global Economic Equilibrium’ 

Co-author with Dr. Norman Bailey, Lecturer, National Security Studies Center, University of Haifa, Israel

Economic Security & Statecraft: The Quest for a New Global Economic Equilibrium explores the multiple interconnected phenomena that aggregate daily occurrences with pervasive trends and could be said to place countries, regions and the world itself at a turning point at the beginning of the 21st century. These phenomena, coupled with the appearance of unanticipated and unforeseen social, political and economic developments, have made both the reasonable accuracy of predictions and the adoption of corresponding policies problematic. This is a study of the new elements of disequilibrium in the global political economy, how these elements mutually influence each other and what the impediments are to achieving equilibrium. The study analyzes the evolving notion of global economic security and the various factors that endow it with a growing significance for policymakers worldwide. Through the prism of the divergent influences that impact the world economy today, it sets out specific aspects of policymaking and statecraft that could prove a worthwhile area of focus in what is widely assumed to be a post-Western world. The study considers how the importance of economic statecraft has gradually become equal and, to an extent, supersedes the importance of international relations for state actors, setting the stage for the emergence of geo-economics as a prioritized tool to be wielded by policymakers.