UAE Uses Oil to Build Global Influence
From Gulf News
By Francis Matthew
The UAE is one of several Gulf nations using its oil wealth to find new ways to build a position of substantial influence in the world. For many years, the ambitions of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations were directed internally as they struggled with the mammoth task of building the infrastructure and social systems that new nations required.
The UAE and its GCC partners occasionally took positions on Arab issues, but they were overwhelmingly focused on the vital tasks of building their own nations, like planning an education system, putting in modern infrastructure that businesses needed, and implementing clear laws that allow individuals to have confidence to invest.
But now they are looking further afield. Two important example of GCC activity are the UAE supporting Nato in Afghanistan and Libya, and Qatar and Saudi Arabia playing an active role in backing the Syrian opposition.
But the GCC states’ most effective influence will be how they chose to sell their hydrocarbons. The world is very thirsty for oil, even if it is a limited resource which will run out in time. Hydrocarbons like oil and gas are the only source of fuel that the vast majority of economic processes can run on for the moment, even if nuclear power becomes an base-load supplier for nation girds; and solar and other renewables are useful at a local or domestic level.