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Oil and the US Foreign Policy

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Politics
Wordcount: 2140 words Published: 3rd Apr 2019

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Since the World War II, the United States has appeared as an international power. Before that time, not only was the United State concerned with its internal issues and conflicts, but also the world was dominated by power countries such as Germany, Italy, France, and UK. With the end of the World War II, new two powers has emerged and lead the world, those are the United States and Russia, since that time, all international relations by a way or another are affected by the foreign policies and interests of these two powers (Parra 23-1).

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The conflicts between the United State and Russia has lead to what is known as Cold War which represents the media war between the western allied and eastern allied (Siddharth 1469-1470). The U.S. foreign policy had a strategic goal to contain Marxism, during the cold war. Thus, human right and democracy were not in top of their list. However, in the-post cold war era the human rights and democracy became a concern as foreign policy, in the study “Foreign Policy in Transition?” the author questions “the transfer of U.S. arms mirrors America’s foreign policy goals” (Lindsey Blanton 647-667) To tell the truth, the value of oil in international relations has not appeared till 1970s. This is because before 1970s most Gulf States, the producers of oil, were controlled by occupied states, UK and France. For example, most Arab Gulf States did not recognize independence until the beginning of 1970s (Watkins 1-14).

Not only that the United States puts oil as one of the main objectives of its foreign policy, but by one way or another, oil can explain all actions and decisions of US in the world. Oil is a factor that justifies USA international decisions and policies. The United States has a competition and an ending point to reach, to persuade its global interests, using their power of politics, finance and military (Bichler, and Nitzan pp. 608-661).

My report is about the United States of America and oil foreign policy. It aims is to illustrate the topic of United States oil foreign policy and showing how oil plays a vital role in the foreign policy of USA. This means that in order to understand foreign policy of USA we need to understand the importance of oil for USA and the future of it.

Why is the foreign policy important to the US

Oil is the engine which moves the country upward or downward, thus the country that owns it tends to have independency and sovereignty. However, a huge country and one of the most noted consumers in world for oil is the United State. This country is heavily depended on oil in order to guarantee the continuous of industries, electricity stations and transportations (Deutch, Schlesinger, Victor, and 28-3). one of the major suppliers for the United States are Venezuela, Russia and Iran. Other countries have been depended on oil, and by that they grow independence which helps this sustain their foreign policies (Deutch, Schlesinger, Victor, and 28-3).

In addition, the United State with 4.6 of the population of the world, and 25 percent of the earth’s oil, it is unlikely that it will reduce its oil consumption in the next decades (Deutch, Schlesinger, Victor, and 28-3). Without oil, the United States will lose its control of the developed world. The access to foreign oil which is over a half of the countries production the foreign has become a major concern. Since the modern economy and warfare, need oil, therefore the United States companies are have relations with the countries for supplementary supplies of oil and gas. Moreover, the United State’s local reserves are being used a lot and the US leaders a fearing the collapse (Deutch, Schlesinger, Victor, and 28-3).

Morals of the foreign policies in the United States are purely self-interest, for example, Texaco is an American multi-national corporation, who came to the Ecuadorian Amazon in the 1960s, to drill one of the largest oil reserves in the United States. However, after drilling almost hundreds of wells and pumped half billion barrels, they left the location without cleaning the toxic wastes which went into the waters that Ecuadorian people drink and shower in. The policies aren’t that sophisticated from the so-called-American-company, to come to their home land and destroy it (Amazon Crude – 60 Minutes). Another example, how about the oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, the British Petroleum company, in April 20 2010 made the most horrifying oil spill disaster in history. The riser pipe that connects the well to the rig bent and broke, eventually the oil leakage begins. Some oil experts say that British petroleum did not do their regular check on the safety equipment because if they did, there will not be a leak, and the United States government did ask the expert to send investigators regularly (Walsh 1-2). Such examples, local and international, effect on a highly bases they environmental and social status of the plant and the United States foreign policies.

In the “Minding Our Business” article the author addresses issues the firms tackle while operating in the developing world, in an abstract, the author starts to give acts of how the multinational corporations should respond everywhere it work. One of the suggestions is that United States should identify the policies and responsibilities for the international companies. Secondly, she motioned a previous discussed point in my report, which is the government of the United States ought to require financial income to support the social and environmental penalty of their investments (Ariel Aaronson 175-198). The U.S. foreign policy had a strategic goal to contain Marxism, during the cold war. Thus, human right and democracy were not in top of their list. However, in the-post cold war era the human rights and democracy became a concern as foreign policy, in the study “Foreign Policy in Transition?” the author questions “the transfer of U.S. arms mirrors America’s foreign policy goals” (Lindsey Blanton 647-667)

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Foreign policies in Africa

In the article by Klare and Volman, they stated that multinational corporations are competing to get a piece of land in Africa, since it has promising reserves. This is all led by the foremost oil consuming countries in the world -the United States, China and the Western European countries- investing a huge number of money on pipelines, drilling platforms and production of road and rail networks. Such investments provide national security and growing dependence on imports of a country that have a very important issue of a constant instability in their land, for consuming states. Moreover, it promises the producing states a new treasure and a possible disagreement on the shares and the revenues. These movements show the United State Foreign policy towards African oil (Klare, and Volman 609-628).

The arduous efforts to increase the role of the United State’s energy firms in Africa by The Bush administration, all because of the fraught to make up the descending output of the locals by acquiring supplementary supplies to international countries. Africa has instability thus; it is an obstacle to investments, and it is required to enhance their ability for domestic security with their neighbor African states, in addition they laid the foundations for the participations of the US military bases. Washington had become concerned with China’s interest in the African oil, which resulted in a strong competition between them. The oil hunger has a massive impact on both African oil producers and the major oil countries. Eventually, Africa will have a dreadful experience from this oil hunger issue (Klare, and Volman 609-628).

Foreign policies in Asia -Middle East and Iran

Historically the US foreign policy in the Middle East has been determined by two main objectives: the first one, which is establishing Israel as the Jews homeland, second is securing their oil industry (Watkins 1-14). The United States policy-makers practices so what favors Israel, however they claim that they adopted an unbiased approach toward the Arabs and Israelis. In addition, the US has adopted disciplinary actions against any states that won’t be cooperative. The United States takes its position with Israel and aggressiveness against uncooperative governments, for example, Iraq that have been in the hands of the rebellious Islamist against the popular support of the moderate organizations to make it weaker.

In a summary of the article “The Oil Shield” by Christopher Dickey, he explained Iran’s position in the world, which is as comprehended that their position is essential when it comes to the oil production, according to his statistics, there is hardly enough oil to satisfy the oil market, which is about 85 million barrels a day for the global markets. Iran exports are about 2.7 million barrels, if Tehran makes a decision to take their oil out of the market because political decision or a military attack, this will affect the oil stock market that will be much similar or exceed the oil stock in 1973 and 1979 since the prices will ascend from almost $60 a barrel to $90 or higher for a barrel. “Painful indeed” he states (Dickey 37-39).


This report mainly talked about the United States and oil foreign policy. The report shows that oil has been playing a vital role in USA foreign policy and the multinational corporations play a key role in its foreign affairs. In order to understand foreign policy of USA we need to understand the importance of oil for USA. The findings of the essay support the thesis statement as oil has been playing a vital role in USA foreign policy. Decisions and behaviors of USA in Asia, Africa, could be understood through understanding the importance of oil to USA. Therefore, in order to make clear understanding of USA foreign policy, we need to realize the importance of oil for USA. This core idea could be utilized by Arabs to make pressure over USA to get its support to Arab issues. “U.S. support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine complicated but did not nullify U.S. efforts to maintain access to Middle East oil. The apparent conflict between U.S. economic and strategic interests in Middle East oil on one hand, and its emotional support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine on the other, led the United States to follow a policy of minimal involvement” (Encyclopedia of the New America Nation,2007). It is Arabs opportunity to catch this opportunity to serve Arabs issues.


  • Deutch, John, James Schlesinger, David Victor, and . National security consequences of U.S. oil dependency : report of an independent task force. Council on Foreign Relations Press, 2006. 28-3. Print.
  • -Parra, Francisco. Oil politics: a modern history of petroleum. I. B. Tauris, 2004. 23-1. Print.
  • -Bichler, Shimshon, and Jonathan Nitzan. “Putting the State in Its Place: US Foreign Policy and Differential Capital Accumulation in Middle East ‘Energy Conflicts’.” Review of International Political Economy Vol. 3.No. 4 (Winter, 1996): pp. 608-661. Web. 3 Jun 2010. .
  • -“Amazon Crude – 60 Minutes.” CBS News. Web. 2 Jun 2010. .
  • -Walsh, Bryan. “Worst-Case Scenario: Fighting the Gulf Oil Spill.” Time Inc.. (Apr. 30, 2010): 1-2. Print.
  • -Ariel Aaronson, Susan. “”Minding Our Business”: What the United States Government Has Done and Can Do to Ensure That U.S. Multinationals Act Responsibly in Foreign Markets.” Journal of Business Ethics Vol. 59.No. 1/2 (Jun., 2005): 175-198. Web. 10 Jun 2010.
  • -Siddharth, Dube. “US Foreign Policy after the Cold War.” Economic and Political Weekly Vol. 27.No. 28 (Jul. 11, 1992): 1469-1470. Web. 2 Jun 2010. .
  • -Lindsey Blanton, Shannon. “Foreign Policy in Transition? Human Rights, Democracy, and U.S. Arms Exports.” International Studies Quarterly Vol. 49.No. 4 (Dec., 2005): 647-667. Web. 10 Jun 2010. .
  • Watkins, Eric. “The Unfolding US Policy in the Middle East.” International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944-) Vol. 73.No. 1 (Jan., 1997): 1-14. Web. 3 Jun 2010. .
  • Klare, Michael, and Daniel Volman. “The African ‘Oil Rush’ and US National Security.” Third World Quarterly Vol. 27.No. 4 (2006): 609-628. Web. 31 May 2010. .
  • Dickey, Christopher. “The Oil Shield.” Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, LLC No. 154 (May – Jun., 2006): 37-39. Web. 3 Jun 2010. .


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