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Oil, Illiberalism, and WarAn Analysis of Energy and US Foreign Policy$
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Andrew T. Price-Smith

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262029063

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262029063.001.0001

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Oil and US Grand Strategy

Oil and US Grand Strategy

(p.121) 5 Oil and US Grand Strategy
Oil, Illiberalism, and War

Andrew T. Price-Smith

The MIT Press

US grand energy strategy has used regional allies to foster regional political climates favorable to the oil companies and to the US, often resulting in US support for despotic and illiberal regimes. Thus the desire for power and profit has often triumphed over principle in US foreign energy policy. Price-Smith also argues that Russian incursions into Georgia and Ukraine, particularly the annexation of Crimea, are driven by Putin’s desire to seize energy resources. Similarly, he argues that China’s continuing expansion throughout the South China Sea is driven by a similar calculus, and that both Russia and China’s bellicose actions are fostered in part by the language of the Law of the Sea Treaty (UNCLOS). Because of its overwhelming direct dependence on oil from the Americas, and its diminishing reliance on Persian Gulf oil, Price-Smith argues that the US should reconsider its tradition of massive military deployments to the Persian Gulf region. The US should develop an energy grand strategy that would focus on the stabilization of oil supplies from the zone of direct dependence, the Americas. The US would do well to reallocate funds and forces to create a regional energy structure in the Americas. This would entail the diversion of funds away from the projection of military power and toward initiatives (economic and diplomatic) that foster the stabilization of democracy in the Americas.

Keywords:   Persian Gulf, Law of the Sea, UNCLOS, Russian invasion of Ukraine, China, Energy and South China Sea, Democratization, Crimea, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Britain, Canada

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