As the forces of globalization spin the world faster the formerly centripetal force exerted by transatlanticism is now itself being pulled apart. Emerging powers in Asia are creating new centers of gravity, and a paradigm shift in transatlantic relations is needed to balance them. Energy must be the new fulcrum on which transatlantic relations rest because a partnership based on mutual concerns for energy will secure and bind Europe and North America closer, re-position a progressive, energy secure North Atlantic region as the bedrock of global stability, and empower the region with unified leadership in practicing and promoting sustainable development. I utilize two inextricable examples to support this conclusion － Europe’s search for an alternative to Russia’s near-continental natural gas monopoly and NATO’s need to shore up its members’ commitment obligations.
Undoubtedly, energy has been fundamental to European integration. The European Coal and Steel Community, formed in 1951, was the catalyst for the consolidation process that would eventually lead to the European Union. However, a central reason why Europe is experiencing a slowdown in its integration is because it remains reliant on Russian natural gas. This reliance creates policy coordination inefficiencies across the 28-member supra-state. Dependence on Russian gas is strongest in the Union’s eastern members, most notably the Baltic states (100%), Finland (100%), and Bulgaria (89%) and weakest among members such as Italy (29%) France (16%), and Spain (0%) on the western side of the so-called “Berlin Wall of Gas”. As long as the Union’s eastern members remain dependent on Russian natural gas, transatlantic policy consensus will experience setbacks as energy remains a divisive national issue. Europe therefore must expand its liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals to its eastern flank where it would, with the help of the United States and Canada as its new primary suppliers, wean its eastern members off natural gas supplied by Russia’s Gazprom and also decrease the price of natural gas due to North American supply entering the market. The feasibility of this plan is undergirded by the dual facts that US LNG could arrive in Europe before 2020 and that Europe is paving the way for that by passing its “Third Energy Package,” a legislative assist to the gas and electricity market whereby “competition rules call for equal access to EU markets (including by other Russian companies) at the same time as they require Gazprom to unbundle its pipeline assets from its gas supplies.” A possible shortcoming of this plan, however, is that it requires long investment time and deep coordination from the private and public energy enterprises as well as reverse-fitting existing pipelines that are no longer simply dyadic but instead connected in a complex network.
LNG investment in the east alone does not sufficiently strengthen transatlantic relations. The European Union and the United States must see that the Southern Gas Corridor be successfully completed, because LNG investment and SGC reinforcement are not only inextricable to EU prosperity but also to NATO strength and unity. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization itself, in its 2016 Warsaw Summit Communiqué, noted, “Energy developments can have significant political and security implications for Allies and the Alliance…A stable and reliable energy supply, the diversification of import routes, suppliers and energy resources, and the interconnectivity of energy networks are of critical importance…” Stronger ties vis-a-vis LNG and the Southern Gas Corridor will signal to those who doubt NATO’s unity that the alliance is far from undone. Indeed, the SGC will ostensibly bring much natural gas from Azerbaijan, thereby empowering NATO member Turkey, and increasing the security of the Western-inclined states of Georgia and Azerbaijan. Moreover, such efforts would be a superior show of commitment among its members than the outdated requirement of at least 2% GDP spending by members on their respective militaries because in modern warfare the power to turn off electric grids, water systems, and nuclear power plants equals that of enough well-positioned battalions. In addition, Russia will no longer be able to claim that NATO is acting aggressively by increasing its investment or deployment of military forces along its border. Investment in energy security will pay much higher dividends than in single-purpose military equipment. An energy secure NATO is one that will not need to intervene abroad to ensure supply lines are not disrupted. Critics will not be able to leverage the argument that NATO has a self-serving agenda as they did during the Libya intervention. A possible shortcoming of the energy-military substitute plan is that some NATO allies along the eastern flank, mainly the Baltic states and Poland, will raise concerns that this type of defense spending invites Russian aggression along a less-militarized eastern flank. Furthermore, European reliance on the BTC pipeline traversing Turkey would be risky for two reasons. The country’s pipeline infrastructure is vulnerable to sabotage, and the current period of strained EU-Turkish relations may only be exacerbated by improved Russo-Turkish relations.
In conclusion, the complexity of the post-Cold War world, the growth of the European Union, the rise of other world powers, pressing transnational issues such as climate change, and the recent surprising leadership changes in the United States and some EU member states necessitate a re-valuation of transatlantic relations. With unifying efforts like the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership in danger of backsliding, energy is a theme that the United States and European Union can still use as a tether amidst the new climate of political uncertainty. Energy security and the widespread implications it has on democracy, peace, and prosperity was at the heart of Europe’s initial efforts to aggregate itself. If the allies of the North Atlantic wish to lead a sustainable and secure future and strengthen their global influence in an evolving world order, they must embed energy at the center of their common identity.
 The Economist, “European energy security: Conscious uncoupling,” The Economist, 3 April 2014, http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21600111-reducing-europes-dependence-russian-gas-possiblebut-it-will-take-time-money-and-sustained (Accessed 10 November 2016)
 Pierre Noël, “European Gas Supply Security: Unfinished Business,” in Energy & Security: Strategies for a World in Transition, 2nd Edition, ed. Jan H. Kalicki and David L. Goldwyn, (Washington: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2013), 178.
 Nanay Julia and Jan H. Kalicki, “Russia and Eurasia,” in Energy & Security: Strategies for a World in Transition, 2nd Edition, ed. Jan H. Kalicki and David L. Goldwyn, (Washington: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2013), 189. For further details, see “EU Market Legislation,” at <https://ec.europa.eu/energy/en/topics/markets-and-consumers/market-legislation>
 Bruce Stokes, “Views of NATO and its role are mixed in U.S., other member nations,” Pew Research Center, 28 March 2016, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/03/28/views-of-nato-and-its-role-are-mixed-in-u-s-other-member-nations/ (Accessed 10 November 2016)