Two weeks ago, a brief Russia-Ukraine squabble over natural gas pricing sent a tremor through Europe. One week ago, another tremor swept through the West - this time America joined in the shakes - when Iran broke open internationally monitored seals on its nuclear facilities, clearing the way for uranium enrichment activities that are a big step toward making a nuclear weapon.
These two events, in different ways, illustrate the dangers of relying as heavily as the West does on imported energy, much of it coming from chronically unstable countries. The United States, as the world's biggest and most profligate energy consumer, could do more than any other country to lessen this dangerous dependency, and in that way reduce the geopolitical leverage of capricious supplier nations.
In Europe, all it took was Russia's cutting the flow of the natural gas it pipes through Ukraine, ostensibly in a dispute over pricing and transit fees, to shake world energy markets and leave Europeans reviewing their reliance on Russia for energy.
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