Parag Khanna: There is always a possibility of war. So if I were to answer the question, say, no there is no possibility, then that would not be particularly interesting. I would be declaring that there is world peace forever. Most certainly there is a possibility of tension.
I wrote about these second world countries, because I believe that that’s where the sparks may start to fly, because they are very strategic. So I write about places like Kazakhstan, which at present is energy rich, but it's not able to build pipelines fast enough to satisfy China and Russia. And Europe is trying to tap in there as well.
America wants to have the strategic military presence in the region. Everyone is in Central Asia in the "stans" [sic], and particularly Kazakhstan. Trying to make sure that they get their share of what Kazakhstan has to offer.
But what happens if one day the oil starts to run thin, or run slow, will there be tension there? You bet there will be. How will it be fought out? Probably one, the battle field of globalization and deal making, of cutting of one country's supply, getting a deal in validating some contract; that’s what’s going to happen.
Whether or not those sparks turn into a military conflict is something no one can ever predict. It was hard to predict how World War I would break out. And the same goes for World War II; when precisely the moment would be.
And so I can’t say whether it will be Taiwan, whether it will be something like Kazakhstan, whether it would be something in the Indian Ocean, in the Arabian sea, and the naval skirmish as China tries to protect the flow of oil from Saudi Arabia to China. But either the Indian or the American may get in the way, for what ever reason. Or Sudan where a similar situation could unfold; because Sudan, of course, is not a landmark country. It does have sea access and China is buying and developing its oil. So one doesn’t know where the spark could happen, but the potential for sparks is everywhere.
Recorded on: 3/3/2008