What is small, smart and full of oil? No, it's not Dick Cheney's heart - it's the United Arab Emirates.
The U.A.E. is one of the most forward thinking and advanced countries in the Middle East and I would venture to say, the world. As a small confederation of mostly tiny desert emirates the UAE is looking to the future.. and that future includes international cooperation, an expanded relationship with the US, and energy stability.
I know you're probably scratching your head going "The UAE? Aren't those guys swimming in oil?" and yes, yes they are. The UAE is one of the most oil rich countries in the world, especially considering its puny size and small population. Unlike other Arab and oil-producing countries the Emirates are looking forward to the age of energy-independence and oil's inevitable decline.
If 2008 has taught the oil-producing countries of the world anything it is that fortunes can swell and then disappear very quickly. In the past year oil prices climbed from 70 dollars a barrel up to 150 at the height of summer, then down to $40 at the end of the year. That means most OPEC countries had horrible years because they expected the prices to either keep going up or hold stead at the price of $75/barrel. There were very few bright spots, one of those was the Emirates due to their plan to turn their tiny country into a travel, tourism, and foreign investment destination as well as their own economy's diversification.
There is one great weakness however in the Emirates, energy. How? Well, when you at home and you plug go to the electrical outlet where does your power come from? A coal plant? The UAE has no coal. A wind farm\solar energy? The Emirates would have to build a wind mill or solar panel every 20 ft to meet their needs. A hydroelectric dam? Good luck finding rivers in the desert. Finally, the most efficient, a nuclear power plant. Well.. the UAE is on its way.
The UAE signed a nuclear deal with the United States for nuclear fuel and access to important knowledge regarding the construction of one or more power plants. This deal is mutually beneficial, the Emirates get their precious energy, the US has something to cement their relationship with the oil-rich country, the US gets loads of cash (which they need), and the whole thing will be overseen entirely by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
I do love it when a plan comes together.
What do you think? Do you think this is a smart move by either party? Any aspects you think I'm missing? Enlighten everyone with a comment!
U.S. and UAE sign nuclear deal