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Ambassador Richard Morningstar on Energy and Geopolitics in the Caspian Region

On November 18, the Georgetown School of Foreign Service welcomed former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Richard Morningstar for a conversation on energy security in the Caspian region. Prior to the event, GJIA sat down with Ambassador Morningstar to discuss the intersection of energy and geopolitics, legacies from the Soviet Union, and energy security challenges facing Central Asian states.

GJIA: In past interviews, you have stressed how energy security is also political and economic security. Why, if at all, should the United States and Western Europe care about the energy security dynamics of the Caspian region?

RM: I think we have to start by discussing why the United States should be concerned about European or Caspian energy security in the first place. Let me first discuss the relationship between American energy security and that of Europe. Energy security, I argue, assumes a direct relationship to both economic and political security. Europe is the United States’ leading trade and investment partner in the world. A prosperous Europe is important to the United States, and vice versa. Obviously, the United States also has a political interest in the security of Europe given its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) obligations. Energy security is necessary for Europe to remain economically prosperous, as well as politically secure.


Ambassador Richard Morningstar served as U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan from 2012 to 2014, Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy from 2009 to 2012 and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union from 1999 to 2001. He is the founding chairman of the Global Energy Center and a board director at the Atlantic Council.


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