The era of tough oil

The Chronicle of Higher Education reviews two books on The End of Easy Oil and concludes that the "securitizing" of oil issues has led and could lead to more instability and war in the Middle East:

“Rather than develop a sustained strategy for reducing our reliance on such sources, he says, American leaders "have chosen to securitize oil -- that is, to cast its continued availability as a matter of 'national security,' and thus something that can be safeguarded through the use of military force."



Klare argues that our demands for energy and those of other major powers will require the petroleum-rich Gulf states to "boost their combined oil output by 85 percent between now and 2020. ... Left to themselves, the Gulf countries are unlikely to succeed; it will take continued American intervention and the sacrifice of more and more American blood to come even close. The Bush administration has chosen to preserve America's existing energy posture by tying its fortunes to Persian Gulf oil."


Even more worrisome, Klare says, is the intense and growing competition among countries such as the United States, China, India, and those in the European Community over petroleum supplies. "This competition is already aggravating tensions in several areas, including the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea basins," he writes. "And although the great powers will no doubt seek to avoid clashing directly, their deepening entanglement in local disputes is bound to fan the flames of regional conflicts and increase the potential for major conflagrations."

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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.