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... ng the 1991 Gulf War and the crisis that led to it. Saddam Hussein's attack against oil-rich Kuwait proved just how vital the region was to not only the United States, but to the entire world. Oil is one of the main reasons we are in the Persian Gulf indefinitely. According to Hoagland, Saddam's threat to Saudi oil fields triggered the significant escalation of stationed American troops in the Gulf that has apparently enraged Saddam, Saudi domestic extremists or whoever set off that truck bomb (Hoagland, 1996, p 5 B). As recently as this year, President Clinton had to deal with the threat of Saddam Hussein.
And, although he has retreated for the time being, he has not gone away. He still holds a carrot over the U. S. and it is oil.
This time, the U. S. held off that fight, and protected Saudi oil fields by extending the no-fly zone to southern Iraq. Oil prices stayed steady. Just as during the energy crisis of the 1970 s, during the Gulf war there was a great deal of discussion about the danger of Americas dependence on foreign oil. Once again, as soon as the perceived threat seemed to vanish, in this case, Saddam Hussein, the fear once again went away.
According to Heilbrunner (1996), But the fundamental problem has not. For an administration obsessed with geo economics, it is startling that the Clintonites have devoted almost no attention to the rise in American oil imports. Instead, they have rolled over as the Republican Congress has slashed funding for energy research (Heilbrunner, 1996, p. 4). America's dependence on Mideast oil is frightening.
According to Heilbrunner, U. S. demand in the coming years is expected to exceed demand as in the 1970 s, when the U. S. suffered twin oil shocks.
At the same time, U. S. production is shrinking yearly: onshore production of crude oil will decrease at an annual rate of 1. 7 percent through 2015, according to the Energy Information Administration, the independent statistical agency within the Department of Energy (Heilbrunner, 1996, p. 4). Many people who live and die by the free market, dont see this as a problem. They say that the market will adjust itself to any swings in demand. Their assumption is that people will cut back when prices go up.
This in turn, will drive prices back down again. Although prices went as high as $ 40 a barrel after Saddam overran Kuwait, they soon stabilized as the Saudis stepped up production. But this was just good luck. Had Saddam immediately moved into Saudi Arabia instead of waiting in Kuwait, his 100, 000 -strong army could have seized Saudi oil fields located less than 200 miles from the Kuwaiti border and protected only by a Saudi national guard battalion of less than 1, 000 men, as Robert J. Lieber pointed out in the summer 1992 issue of International Security. Saddam would have controlled 46 percent of the world's oil reserves (Heilbrunner, 1996, p. 4).
As both the threat of Saddam Hussein and the recent bombing at an Air Force Base in Saudi Arabia demonstrate, the potential for oil-threatening conflict in the region will not go away. Iraq has already attacked three of its neighbors -- Iran, Kuwait and Israel. According to Heilbrunner, There is no reason to believe Saddam won't strike again. Instability could come from other sources.
One scenario might be a joint Turkish-Iranian grab for Iraqi territory in the north. The ascendance of Necmettin Erbakan's religious Welfare Party in Turkey does not bode well for America's future ability to influence Turkey. Saudi Arabia may become another source of trouble, since Crown Prince Abdullah has made no secret of his unease with the U. S. As America's oil thirst continues to rise, an Abdullah-led Saudi regime could work more strenuously to resurrect opec and influence American policy toward Israel (Heilbrunner, 1996, p. 4). According to most experts, there is yet another challenge facing the U.
S. The nation must devise a clear strategy combining oil and national security. Part of that strategy must including reducing American dependence on foreign oil. Key strategies to achieve this goal include promoting conservation and perhaps subsidizing public transportation, such as a high-speed rail network. As Heilbrunner says, But safeguarding American oil also means presiding over a pax Americana rather than a lax Americana in the Middle East. The only thing Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt fear more than U.
S. resolution is U. S. irresolution. In the short term, Clinton and Gore might work to bring 4 million barrels of oil per day back onto the market. They " re located in Iraq, awaiting a regime sufficiently civilized to be allowed to sell them (Heilbrunner, 1996, p. 4).
Just how relevant is the issue of oil to America today? According to Hoagland, In 1973, America consumed 17. 3 million barrels of oil a day, importing 6. 2 million barrels or 35 percent. One out of every 10 imported barrels came from Saudi Arabia. By 1980, consumption and import patterns had not changed.
Last year Americans used 17. 7 million barrels a day. Imports rose to 8. 8 million barrels -- 50 percent of consumption. Saudi Arabia accounted for 15 percent of U. S. imports, and 86 percent of all U. S.
imports came from the Persian Gulf (Hoagland, 1996, p. 5 B). In addition, the problems that the U. S. faces in maintaining a presence in the Middle East are far from over. According to Hoagland, The death of the 19 airmen at Dhahran testifies to the real cost that Americans pay for continuing to rely so heavily on energy supplies that can be disrupted at the drop of a crown, or the rise of a madman (Hoagland, 1996, p. 5 B). Bibliography: Ashton, Michael (1992, Apr. 1).
The Efficient Tariff: Systematically Balancing Security And Welfare Concerns. American Economist, Vol. 36, 44. Beaver, William (1991, Jan. 1). The U. S. Failure To Develop Synthetic Fuels In The 1920 s.
Historian, Vol. 53, 241. Dorr, Robert. (1996, Jul 15). Don't Blame Perry For The Saudi Attack. Air Force Times, Vol. 56, 62. Heilbrunner, Jacob (1996, Oct. 7). Over A Barrel.
New Republic, Vol. 215, 4. Hoagland, Jim. (1996, Jul. 15). U. S. Dependence On Oil Killed Those 19 Airmen. Indianapolis Business Journal, Vol. 17, 5 B.
Hung, James (1991, Apr. 1). The Post-Cold-War World Order And The Gulf Crisis. Asian Affairs: An American Review, Vol. 18, 31. Kissinger, Henry (1996, Jun. 1). United States Foreign Policy. Vital Speeches, Vol. 62, 486.
Kubursi, At-Mansur, Salim (1993, Sept. 1). Oil And The Gulf War: An American Century' Or A 'New World Order'. Arab Studies Quarterly, Vol. 15, 1. Nowotny, K. -Peach, J. (1992, Mar. 1). Changes In Energy Consumption, 1970 - 1989, And Energy Policy In the United States. Journal of Economic Issues, Vol. 26, 183.
Rogers, Paul (1996, Feb. 28). Persian Gulf War (1990 - 1991) Colliers Encyclopedia, Vol. 18, CD-ROM. Rustow, Dankwart (1982). Oil And Turmoil.
America Faces OPEC And the Middle East. New York, New York: W. W. Norton. Shane Mage (1996, Feb. 28). Organization Of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Colliers Encyclopedia, Vol. 18, CD-ROM.
Stevens, Paul (1995, Jan. 1). Understanding The Oil Industry: Economics As A Help Or A Hindrance. Energy Journal, Vol. 16, 125.
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