During the contentious primary battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, one issue they completely agreed upon was the need to address the role energy plays in foreign relations.
Growing nations like China, Egypt, Brazil and India are demanding a larger portion of the world's energy supply, while leaders like Vladamir Putin and Hugo Chavez are becoming petro-dictators, wielding increasing power from their control over energy supplies.
Both Obama and Clinton agreed that unless we find ways to reduce global demand for energy and create open markets for oil, the world could become a series of energy coalitions, competing with one another for access to energy, perhaps through deadly confrontations.
Already, China and Russia have used their membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to create economic agreements with one another for the transfer of energy supplies. Iran is an observing member of the SCO but may soon become a full member. There is a joint military element to the SCO, with coordinated military tests conducted as recently as 2007 by China and Russia in the Ural Mountains. The United States has applied for membership in the SCO and was rejected.
The importance of addressing energy challenges, specifically in the "Eurasian" region, has provoked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to use her first overseas visit to go to China to discuss the issues of climate and energy. The meetings between Clinton and Chinese leaders have been placed under the umbrella of climate change, but discussions of energy cooperation will likely be included.
To see the full NYT store on Secretary of State Clinton's visit to China, click HERE.