Oil and Security
Clifford Singer
This brief examines the current role of oil in US defense strategy, US national security strategy, and overall domestic and global economic activity. Using analysis of both the global and domestic economy over the past several decades, I show that the time has already passed when oil was strategically important enough to require individual industrialized nations to be prepared to intervene militarily in oil-producing regions. The idea that high oil prices are a strategic problem is a myth. Nevertheless, there is a deep-seated perception that oil-producing regions retain a special strategic importance, with strong effects on US defense planning and strategy. The questions addressed here are how US military, political, and economic strategy can be reconfigured when the strategic role of oil becomes better understood. The high costs of occupation of Iraq illustrate why US intervention in Mideast conflicts is not a useful substitute for a sensible energy policy.

This page is part of Rising Powers: The New Global Reality, a project from the Stanley Foundation.