A review of “Windfall: how the new energy abundance upends global politics and strengthens America’s power,” by Meghan L. O’Sullivan
Ms. O’Sullivan’s book addresses the strategic benefits to the United States of the shale renaissance, which has created an abundance of domestic oil and natural gas supply. She has superb credentials1 to address this topic, and has done a masterful job of it in this book.
The title “windfall” signifies the unexpected nature of this strategic advantage. She relates that the independent producer George Mitchell, who is considered to be the father of the U.S. shale industry, didn’t even comprehend how large a phenomenon shale would become.
She describes the strategic benefits to the U.S. from “hard power,” defined as the use of military and economic means to influence the behavior or interests of other political bodies. The sharp growth of U.S. oil and gas production strengthened the U.S. economy and created jobs at a time when the U.S. was struggling to recover from the 2008–2009 financial crisis. In terms of military prowess, the author mentions that the Pentagon is the largest single...