In the near future, America has become energy independent and withdraws from the global stage, weary of engaging in nation-building, failed wars, and foreign entanglements. Norway embarks on a massive clean-energy initiative by building Thorium reactors, the Green party hoping that their positive example sets the stage for the rest of the world to divest from fossil fuels and follow in their footsteps to halt climate change.

To this end, Norway also halts oil exports to the rest of the European Union. But the prime minister, Jasper Berg, is stymied when the European Union collaborates with the Russians to use terror tactics to coerce Norway into renewing energy exports. The Russian military moves in, seizing Norwegian off-shore oil rigs in a dangerous fait accompli. Norway blinks first and halts a special operations mission to recapture their gas and oil platforms.

With the rest of Europe desperate for oil and America holding fast to isolationist policies, Norway finds itself occupied by Russian military and paramilitary forces in a form of so-called hybrid warfare that uses a combination of unconventional warfare, coercive diplomacy, and outright terrorist tactics.

This is the plot of “Occupied,” a Norwegian television drama recently brought to American audiences on Netflix. Considering current trends in American politics and Russia’s gangland attempts to secure post-Soviet space in countries like Ukraine and Georgia, this fictional narrative isn’t as farfetched as it may appear at first glance.

Frighteningly, this isn’t simply my opinion, but is a potential future envisioned by the U.S. National Intelligence Council in Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds. In regards to American energy dependence, the report states the following:

With shale gas, the US will have sufficient natural gas to meet domestic needs and generate potential global exports for decades to come. increased oil production from difficult-to-access oil deposits would result in a substantial reduction in the Us net trade balance and faster economic expansion. Global spare capacity may exceed over 8 million barrels, at which point OPEC would lose price control and crude oil prices would collapse, causing a major negative impact on oil-export economies.

Although energy independence is a positive development, and would allow America to stop propping up autocratic regimes we need to keep stable to maintain access to their oil fields, this independence may also lead to less American influence in certain parts of the world.  Jan Kalicki also writes in his recent book, Energy and Security, that:

Energy security has eluded generations of Americans, even as every president since Richard Nixon has warned of the dangers of dependency on foreign oil. But the discovery of energy resources in North America is a game changer. Today, the United States is on the verge of vaulting from being a net importer to being a net exporter of oil and natural gas by 2030— or even earlier. This quest— to borrow Daniel Yergin’s term— for an energy solution will have enormous economic, environmental, and geopolitical implications for the United States and the world. More than 100 years ago, when he was the president of Princeton, Woodrow Wilson said, “We live in an age disturbed, confused, bewildered, afraid of its own forces, in search not merely of its road but even of its direction.” In 2013, our nation is at a similar crossroads— and the new energy landscape positions America to lead.

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