Meghan L. O'Sullivan

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Green Peace

The clean energy transition has reached adolescence. Its future direction is not yet set, and in the meantime, its internal paradoxes make for a volatile mix. Political leaders fret that ambitious steps to address climate change will aggravate geopolitical problems in a world already troubled by wars and humanitarian crises. Governments worried about energy security after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have advocated for strategies that embrace both fossil fuels and clean alternatives, lest dependence on imported oil give way to reliance on imported lithium. Rising inflation and economic slowdowns, too, are exacerbating concerns that the energy transition will lead to job losses and price hikes.…  Seguir leyendo »

An Israeli tank near the Gaza border, in Israel, June 2024. Amir Cohen / Reuters

The term “regime change” has fallen out of favor in the past two decades, and it is not a term that Israelis use to describe the war they are waging in Gaza. But regime change is precisely what Israel is seeking. Its military operation in Gaza aims to destroy Hamas as a political and military entity and eliminate the de facto government the group has overseen for nearly two decades.

The Israeli campaign is an understandable response to the horrific attacks of October 7, in which Hamas-led terrorists killed around 1,200 Israelis, took some 250 hostage, and deeply traumatized the Israeli public.…  Seguir leyendo »

Delegates negotiating at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, December 2023. Thaier Al-Sudani / Reuters

In the waning days of 2023, likely the warmest year the earth has experienced in recorded history, nearly 100,000 people came together in the United Arab Emirates—one of the world’s largest oil and gas producers—to reach a consensus on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The final agreement at the UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai, also known as COP28, was hailed for calling for a transition away from fossil fuels. “Whilst we didn’t turn the page on the fossil fuel era in Dubai, this outcome is the beginning of the end”, proclaimed the UN climate chief, Simon Stiell, after the agreement was announced.…  Seguir leyendo »

Working on gas pipes in Ihtiman, Bulgaria, May 2022. Nikolay Doychinov / AFP/ Getty Images

In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the world appears to be at an inflection point. Business leaders have declared the acceleration of deglobalization and sounded the alarm about a new period of stagflation. Academics have decried the return of conquest and hailed the renewal of transatlantic ties. And countries are rethinking almost every aspect of their foreign policies, including trade, defense spending, and military alliances.

These dramatic shifts have overshadowed another profound transformation in the global energy system. For the last two decades, the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions has gradually reshaped the global energy order. Now, as a result of the war in Ukraine, energy security has returned to the fore, joining climate change as a top concern for policymakers.…  Seguir leyendo »

Gasoline prices hover around $4 a gallon for the least expensive grade at several gas stations in Washington, D.C., on April 11. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

As motorists make plans for the summer driving season, U.S. gasoline prices are near record highs. Yet some relief may be in sight: Falling oil prices mean pump prices should dip below $4 per gallon in the coming weeks—though the looming risk of further disruptions to Russian oil supply means the relief risks proving short lived.

A key reason for the lower oil prices was the Biden administration’s recent announcement of the largest release of oil in U.S. history from the nation’s strategic stockpiles, followed by a smaller, but still sizable, release from European countries. In explaining this move, U.S. President Joe Biden acknowledged a difficult truth: More fossil fuels are required at this time to meet the world’s current energy needs.…  Seguir leyendo »

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine becomes more violent, the world is on the cusp of what may become the worst energy crisis since the 1970s. Whereas those crises only involved oil, Russia is one of the world’s largest producers of nearly every form of energy—oil, natural gas, coal, and even the fuel used in nuclear power plants. The unfolding energy calamity demands an immediate response to keep cars moving, homes powered and heated, and to prevent a global recession induced by high energy prices. But as policymakers look for quick fixes, there is also the urgency of weaning the world from fossil fuels, as a major United Nations report made clear last month.…  Seguir leyendo »

A liquid natural gas treatment facility in Russia. Credit Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS, via Getty Images

If you were wondering whether Europe is running out of options to deal with its continuing energy crisis, one of Britain’s largest energy suppliers just offered an answer.

In early January, Ovo Energy sent customers tips on how to keep warm without cranking up the heat, such as cuddling with pets, cleaning the house and doing the hula hoop.

Now fears are mounting that Europe may be about to face a far worse energy situation as Russia threatens military action in Ukraine. The United States is exploring ways to get more natural gas to the continent.

And for good reason. The European Union typically relies on Russia for about 40 percent of its natural gas, making it by far the continent’s largest supplier.…  Seguir leyendo »

This month marks the 40th anniversary of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries embargo against the United States and states that supported Israel after Egypt and Syria initiated simultaneous offensives against it on Yom Kippur in 1973. While it’s not an anniversary that many will celebrate, it’s a good opportunity to reflect on how much more secure our energy situation is, despite our continued heavy reliance on fossil fuels.

Most commentators have focused, with good reason, on the West’s greatly enhanced ability to withstand similar shocks were they to occur today. Equally important, although generally overlooked, is the reality that OPEC has no incentive or real ability to inflict them on the world.…  Seguir leyendo »

Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad must be pleased at how, within a week, the conversation has shifted from his regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons to an international peace conference on Syria’s civil war.

The idea of ending the bloodshed -- and presumably addressing Syria’s chemical weapons as well -- through an accord similar to that of post-Arab Spring Yemen is certainly worth exploring. Let’s hope Assad’s foreign patron, Russia, has altered its stance enough to make some sort of deal feasible.

The conference, however, cannot become an excuse to sweep the chemical weapons issue under the rug, not to mention the deaths of more than 80,000 in the civil war.…  Seguir leyendo »

The latest Iran sanctions came into full effect this week, adding to a byzantine array of unilateral and multilateral measures that prohibit Iranian oil imports, other trade and financial transactions, and freeze Iranian assets by countries concerned that Tehran's nuclear program is intended for military purposes, not civilian ones.

The international community is now on watch for cracks in Iran's defiant stance: Will increased sanctions compel Tehran to make real concessions and allow for a diplomatic solution to the standoff? This characterization is too simplistic, however, and the record suggests there may be some reasons to be optimistic that current sanctions on Iran will deliver.…  Seguir leyendo »

Foreign policy and political experts assess the president's speech. Below are responses from Frederick W. Kagan, Kimberly Kagan, Matthew Dowd, Meghan O'Sullivan, Gilles Dorronsoro, Douglas E. Schoen, Andrew J. Bacevich, Ed Rogers and Dennis Kucinich.

Buried in the unfortunate rhetoric of timelines and exit strategies is a critical fact that gives reason to support the ongoing effort in Afghanistan: The president intends to give Gen. Stanley McChrystal 100,000 U.S. troops to use at his discretion for 18 months to pursue a counterinsurgency strategy. McChrystal and his team are the most clear-eyed and determined command group the United States has had in Afghanistan in years.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Post asked foreign policy experts whether President Obama should maintain a focus on protecting the population and rebuilding the country, or on striking terrorists. Below are contributions from Jane Harman, Kurt Volker, Gilles Dorronsoro, John Nagl, Ronald E. Neumann, Meghan O'Sullivan and Carl M. Levin.

Jane Harman, Democratic representative from California and former ranking member of the House intelligence committee.

It's too early to abandon a strategy focused on protecting the population and rebuilding the country, a key part of which is Afghan buy-in. We should aim to shrink our ground footprint and focus on training a growing army of willing and courageous Afghans.…  Seguir leyendo »

It is not good short-term politics to escalate the war in Afghanistan. However, it is necessary to avoid the political and security debacle that would arise from an American failure there. We are in Afghanistan to prohibit the rise of an enemy regime or a failed-state environment that would endanger Americans. Failing to do so would be much worse for the Democrats than the fatigue voters will feel from a prolonged, ugly fight in another foreign land. For his sake and ours, President Obama should be in it to win, not just interested in doing the minimum necessary to follow up on his 2008 campaign rhetoric about staying tough on terrorism.…  Seguir leyendo »

During the first months of the Obama administration, Iraqis watching the appointments of Richard Holbrooke, George Mitchell and Dennis Ross would call me and ask, "Who will be Iraq's special envoy?" After six months of a stance perceived by many Iraqis as "hands off," the administration appears to have realized that political engagement is most important when a military presence is waning. Yet recent comments by Vice President Biden suggest that U.S. officials' mind-set toward Iraq could do as much harm as good.

While visiting Iraq this month, Biden spoke of a need to broker a grand bargain between Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds, and to resolve disputes between "the different confessional groups."…  Seguir leyendo »

First things first, Mr. President-elect. Some thoughts on what Obama's top priority should be.

The most important challenge facing President-elect Barack Obama is to restore America's standing in the eyes of the world. He must reinvent the United States as a country that listens, engages with others and has "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind." To this end, the following prescription might help reverse the damage of the Bush years:

Stop acting and sounding as if yours is the only way of seeing the world ("you're either with us or against us"), which makes all disagreement illegitimate or "anti-American."…  Seguir leyendo »