Home »  Site Map »  Cooperative Energy Security  »  This document
Academic Consulting Contact Eurasia blog New on site Site map

Cooperative Energy Security in the Caspian Region: A New Paradigm for Sustainable Development?

Robert M. Cutler

Abstract: This article comprehensively develops the concept of cooperative energy security as an empirical category of analysis having normative content. The three necessary components of cooperative energy security are an investment-friendly financial climate, guarantees of secure transport, and political stability. This concept is a progressive development of recent research into the sources of effective international environmental protection. It provides an entry-point for a rapprochement of the international environmental agenda with the international energy agenda. It has resonances with the study of multilateralism and learning in international affairs, and these are made explicit. The concept is applied to the substantive policy arena of the Caspian region, demonstrating its utility and vitality. An analytical review of events in the Caspian region since 1991 through the end of 1998 (date of the article's final redaction) reveals three principal problems in Caspian energy development that give rise to three lessons. These lessons are in fact representative examples from distinct categories of desiderata. Previous research on the effectiveness of international environmental institutions has already elaborated those categories. These environmental categories represent the "three Cs" (contract, concern, and capacity) that enhance the effectiveness of international environmental institutions.

This article is available in  Printer-friendly  full text.

  1. What Is “Cooperative Energy Security”?
  2. Caspian Aspects of the Emerging International System
  3. Problems and Lessons
  4. Antidotes and Their Significance
  5. Conclusion: Just Do It
Suggested citation for this webpage:

Robert M. Cutler, “Cooperative Energy Security in the Caspian Region: A New Paradigm for Sustainable Development?” Global Governance 5, no. 2 (April–June 1999): 251–271, available at ⟨http://www.robertcutler.org/CES/ar99gg.htm⟩, accessed 23 February 2018.


[ page 251 ]

Cooperative Energy Security in the Caspian Region: A New Paradigm for Sustainable Development?

After the 1973-74 oil embargo, it became impossible to maintain that issues of economic dependence and interdependence were irrelevant to the international security agenda. As that agenda expanded, it slowly rendered obsolete the exclusively military-strategic notions that led international regions to be treated as pawns on a bipolar chessboard. The phoenix-like cry of renascent rivalry between the nuclear superpowers in the early 1980s, was only the swan song of Cold War strategic bipolarity. Today it is still true that guarantee of access to reasonably priced, predictable energy supplies depends upon the politics of global geo-economics. Yet in the post–Cold War era, these politics differ entirely from those of any previous international system.

Today international regions are not what they used to be; and in comparison with the Cold War system, they enjoy an increased relative autonomy of great-power conflict. The end of bipolarity does not by itself account for this: much more central and crucial is that the post–Cold War system has become a complex system, a self-organizing network rather than a top-down hierarchy. This more essential difference developed over the last quarter-century under the cover of bipolarity and has now emerged. Distinctions among superpowers, great powers, and regional powers have hardly disappeared, but middle-range and lower-level phenomena have become the predominant motive forces in an international system that now self-organizes from bottom up.[1]

The end of the bipolar Cold War system has made likewise manifest the salience of new categories of international regions whose significance is today irrefutable. A most strikingly evident development is that littoral basins in particular have become central foci for international action on the regional and systemic levels. The emergence of such issue areas of international public policy as ecological security, pollution control, and the regularization of waterborne trade is but one indicator of this general movement toward nontraditional security regimes in regional international systems at large. Still more striking, regional international systems, despite

[ page 252 ]

their increased relative autonomy of systemic control, are more and more strongly linked together among themselves.[2]

Responding to this new situation, I develop the concept of cooperative energy security as an empirical category of analysis that has normative content. This concept motivates a rapprochement between the international energy agenda and the international environmental agenda. A connection between these two agendas is manifest in certain limited policy communities yet not in evidence in the scholarly literature. This concept resonates with the study of multilateralism and learning in international affairs. The substantive policy arena to which I apply the concept here, demonstrating its utility and vitality, is the circum-Caspian region narrowly construed, with implications for Europe and Eurasia more generally. One result of the application is to undergird conceptually a new and unique international public policy initiative in this field, which I discuss briefly below and elaborate in greater detail elsewhere.

Read the complete article in  Printer-friendly  full text.

Dr. Robert M. Cutlerwebsiteemail ] was educated at MIT and The University of Michigan, where he earned a Ph.D. in Political Science, and has specialized and consulted in the international affairs of Europe, Russia, and Eurasia since the late 1970s. He has held research and teaching positions at major universities in the United States, Canada, France, Switzerland, and Russia, and contributed to leading policy reviews and academic journals as well as the print and electronic mass media in three languages.

Academic Consulting Contact Eurasia blog New on site Site map
Home  »  Site Map  »  Cooperative Energy Security  »  This document

Text: Copyright © Lynne Rienner Publishers
Reproduced by permission
First Web-published: 01 March 1999
Content last modified: 01 March 1999

For individual, non-commerical use only.
This Web-based compilation: Copyright © Robert M. Cutler
See reprint info if you want to reproduce anything in any medium.
This document address (URL): http://www.robertcutler.org/CES/ar99gg.htm
Format last tweaked: 23 October 2014
You accessed this page: 23 February 2018