Crude Awakenings: Global Oil Security and American Foreign Policy

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"The real story of global oil over the past twenty-five years is not about the spillover effects of Palestinians fighting Israelis, or terrorist attacks on U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, or Iraq's stormy relationship with Kuwait. It is not even about periodic small- and large-scale U.S. attacks on Iraq. Rather, the real story is about longer-term developments that have changed the international relations of the Middle East, politics at the global level, and world oil markets. These developments have increased oil stability."—from the Introduction

Thirty years after OAPEC shattered world markets for oil, the Western world remains profoundly dependent on foreign, particularly Middle Eastern, sources of petroleum. U.S. political rhetoric is suffused with claims about the vulnerability caused by this dependence. Hence, many political analysts assume that a search for stability of petroleum supplies is an important element of contemporary American foreign policy.

Steve A. Yetiv argues that common assumptions about oil markets are wrong. Although prices remain volatile, Yetiv's account portrays a world market in petroleum products far more benign and predictable than the one to which we are accustomed. In Crude Awakenings, he identifies and analyzes real and potential threats to the global energy supply, including wars, revolutions, coups, dangerous alliances, oil embargoes, Islamic radicalism, and transnational terrorism. However, he also shows how some of these threats have been mitigated and how global oil security has been reinforced.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Crude Awakenings is smart, practical, and convincing. . . . Yetiv argues that while trade and 'dependency' may put nations into conflict, it also pulls them together. . . . We must deal with the owners of energy just as people in cities must rely on farmers for food. . . . In an interdependent world, Mr. Yetiv notes, it is impossible for the U.S. to withdraw from the Mideast. In fact, the real 'nightmare scenario' would be if 'modest acts of terrorism were to drive the United States from the Gulf or to scale back its presence.' The power vacuum would be far more dangerous to us and everyone else than our current level of engagement."—Wall Street Journal, 16 September 2004

"Yetiv provides an invaluable guide to the realities that surround the supply of global oil to the world economy. At a time when political analysts and policy makers agree that threats to the global supply of oil have never been greater, Yetiv asserts that such assumptions about oil markets are misleading and wrong. . . . This fine piece of scholarship clearly enhances understanding of global oil security."—Choice, March 2005

"This is an excellent book that goes against the grain of much of today's thinking. It is a rare example of superb integration of domestic politics, geopolitics, international politics, and market economics. Steve A. Yetiv sheds light on an important subject that pertains to the largest single sector of global trade and the locus of two very large wars fought by the United States over the past dozen years."—Edward L. Morse, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Energy Policy

"Crude Awakenings is a fine piece of scholarship that enhances our understanding of global oil security."—Joseph S. Nye, former Assistant Secretary of Defense

"At a time when academics, journalists, and policymakers agree that threats to the global supply of oil have never been greater, Steve A. Yetiv offers a powerful argument that they are all wrong. According to Yetiv, oil disruptions are less likely and more easily coped with today than they have been since the oil embargo of 1973. This welcome state of affairs is due to long term developments such as global interdependence, the development of alternative fuels, the emergence of new suppliers, the moderation of rogue states, the effects of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the creation of strategic petroleum reserves, and even the American occupation of Iraq. In Yetiv's view, these factors collectively militate against the oil producers launching another embargo and mitigate the damage to the importing states if they do. Yetiv amasses a large array of sources to make his points, all of which are presented in clear, jargon-free prose. This is must reading for anyone concerned with the role of oil in international politics and American foreign policy."—Steven R. David, Professor, Director of International Studies Program, The Johns Hopkins University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801476501
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2010
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Steve A. Yetiv is University Professor of Political Science and International Studies at Old Dominion University. He is the author of several books, including The Petroleum Triangle: Oil, Globalization, and Terror and Crude Awakenings: Global Oil Security and American Foreign Policy, both from Cornell, and The Absence of Grand Strategy: U.S. Foreign Policy Toward the Persian Gulf (1972–2005). Yetiv has been a consultant to the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. General Accounting Office, and CNN International.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
2 Threats to Saudi stability 20
3 Power shifts 41
4 The chief guarantor of oil stability 59
5 The United States in the Middle East before and after September 11 77
6 The Cold War and global interdependence 97
7 The China factor 121
8 The oil weapon 139
9 Multiple cushions for oil shocks 151
10 Oil market dynamics and OPEC 178
11 Global oil, high technology, and the environment 193
12 Twenty-first-century threats to global oil stability 207
App The Middle East and global energy : a chronology, 1973-2003 230
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