Oil has generated powerful distortions in the conduct of US foreign policy; it has resulted in highly illiberal behavior by certain democracies (particularly the United States), it has contributed to maladaptation (as interest groups block societal adoption of cleaner technologies), it has contributed to dangerous externalities such as terrorism and ecological degradation, and it has provided an impetus for war between greater and lesser powers. The latter has contributed to recent aggression by the USA, Russia, and the worrisome posture of China in the South China Sea. The central argument of this volume is that the United States is not simply a benign hegemon that seeks to provide global public goods, such as the protection of the world’s energy flows. In fact, the United States’ quest for global hegemony in the domain of strategic energy resources (e.g., oil) has resulted in patterns of profoundly illiberal behavior, particularly outside of the context of the developed countries. This bellicose behavior is increasingly emulated by Russia and China in their pursuit of mastery over the world’s energy resources.
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