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Petropolitics And The American Foreign Policy

4359 words - 18 pages

Petropolitics and the American foreign policy:
Understanding the procedural mechanics of how oil dependence influences US foreign policy making

United States is said to be overly dependent on the oil producing countries for its energy needs and that it bases its major policy decision on this consideration. Though not the sole causal factor for American foreign policy making, it is cited to be one of the more influential factors, whereby many a US dictum have followed this line of action. Those who analyze this relationship look at the American dealings with such oil rich countries as Saudi Arabia and Venezuela and propose that the presence of oil resources in these countries and American ...view middle of the document...

It has become very clear that the pursuit of oil has guided much of the more drastic US foreign policy stances, at some times it is an understanding and at others it is an outright proclamation but the United States has been undeniably dependent on this particular resource more then others. The question that arises is why?

Petroleum or crude oil is the name given to that family of chemicals that are highly flammable and are used because of the large amounts of energy they can produce as a result of the combustion process. Petroleum compounds are basically the compressed byproducts of centuries of biodegradation of organic substances, found underground they are considered one of the most valuable natural resources.

The world’s hunger for oil began soon after the1850’s, as till then the major contributor to the world’s energy needs was coal but with the invention of the internal combustion engine there began a relentless pursuit of crude oil and that has not stopped since

The United States reliance on foreign oil is undeniable and the history of this reliance can be easily traced but American hunt for oil and to get the interests of America safeguarded by “any means necessary” have had some undesired and unexpected outcomes as well. If the pursuit of oil as a definite American foreign policy agenda is accepted then the logical next step is to analyze the outcomes. Researchers have pointed out the fact that oil rich countries tend to have underdeveloped social and political institutions and a genuine disregard for the consideration to human development as well.[2] This has been attributed to be a reaction to American oil dependence, as America tends to support the dictatorial regimes if its oil thirst is adequately fulfilled.

If oil hampers democracy and other such socio political institutions then why America, the bastion of democracy and civil liberties, tends to support regimes such as those of the Arabian rulers, who are the epitome of authoritarianism. Analysts have characterized it as the resource curse[3]. Could it be that it is American policy making that has lead to the rise in fundamentalism and consequently terrorism[4]? If this argument is assumed to be factual then American foreign economic policy decisions have been an ill for all people.

The main argument here is that there is a cause and affect relationship between the American dependence on oil and the various major policy decisions that America has taken, this paper hence will analyze this relationship.

The origins of American oil dependence:

Since the war of independence America sought all the chances and the resources at hand to grow at a remarkable rate, this was further accentuated with the arrival of the industrial revolution and the American economy grew and it s population bloomed. This process has continued and that growth has been sustained by the achievement of natural resources, oil being at the top of the table for its use in the production of...

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