Vojna za nafto in ameriški nacionalni interesi

Spodaj je nekaj akademsko podprtega branja (iz top akademskih inštitucij) o nafti kot enemu primarnih razlogov za vojne v zadnjih 50 letih. Teh razlogov se ne vidi takoj, ker so zakrite z dimom  medijsko ustvarjenega javnega menja o zaščiti demokracije in človekovih pravic itd., toda ko se dim razkadi, se praktično vedno pokažejo sledovi denarja (nafte, pomembnih naravnih virov (litij), zaščita dolarskega sistema) kot primarni razlogi za začetek induciranih konfliktov s strani predvsem ZDA. Tudi ta sprovocirana vojna v Ukrajini se bo na koncu izkazala na eni strani kot vojna za plin (ameriško izrinjanje ruskega plina in nadomeščanje s svojim LNG), na ruski strani pa dodatno še kot zaščita svoje nacionalne varnosti.

Problem je, ker v tej vojnah za nafto in plin velesile mimogrede pohodijo in uničijo cele države, jih paralizirajo in razvojno pohabijo za desetletja in da v njih umira na milijone nedolžnih ljudi (pri čemer jih je večina prepričanih, da se borijo za svojo svobodo in ne da so samo lutke ali topovska hrana v igri velesil). Te primarne razloge za konflikte je zato treba razumeti, da lahko preprečimo smrti nedolžnih ljudi in dolgotrajno pohabljenje celih držav.

Oil, Conflicts and U.S. National Interests (Jeff D. Colgan)

  • Oil Is a Leading Cause of War. Between one-quarter and one-half of interstate wars since 1973 have been linked to oil.
  • Fracking Does Not Change the Fundamentals. Although hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) is transforming the U.S. oil and gas sector, the United States will not be isolated from foreign markets and events. Its allies will continue to have vital energy needs, and disruptions in the integrated world market will continue to affect domestic markets. The United States therefore has an enduring interest in maintaining an open global oil market.
  • Watch Out for Unexpected Sources of Conflict. The oil industry can cause or exacerbate conflict in multiple ways: competition over shipping lanes and pipelines, oil-related terrorism, petro-aggression, and resource scarcity in consumer states are all potential sources of international conflict.

Objavljeno v: Fueling the Fire: Pathways from Oil to War,” which appears in the Fall 2013 issue of International Security

Vir: Jeff D. Colgan, Belfer Center (Harvard University)


War-for-Oil Conspiracy Theories May Be Right (Carol Smith)

Finally, there is strong evidence to back up a popular conspiracy theory — oil is often the motivating reason that one country interferes in another country’s war. Likewise, the researchers say, third party states may decide not to step into ongoing intrastate conflicts if there is no crude incentive. For example, a lack of oil is “said to be behind the absence of intervention in Syria now and in Rwanda in 1994”, say two of the authors of a new Journal of Conflict Resolution paper.

Civil wars have made up more than 90 percent of all armed conflicts since World War II and, during that period, countries that need oil have found reasons to militarily intervene in countries with a good supply of it, according to the study. In “Oil above Water — Economic Interdependence and Third-party Intervention” the researchers explain how they modelled the decision-making process used by third-party countries to determine whether to interfere in civil wars and examined their economic motives.

In their research, the UK team — Petros Sekeris of University of Portsmouth, Vincenzo Bove from the University of Warwick and Kristian Skrede Gleditsch of the University of Essex — looked at 69 countries that experienced civil conflicts between 1945 and 1999. They found that about two-thirds of these wars saw intervention by another country or outside organization and that the most common reason for this intervention, “over and above historical, geographical or ethnic ties”, was oil.

“We wanted to go beyond conspiracy theories and conduct a careful, nuanced analysis to see whether oil acts as an economic incentive in the decision on whether to intervene in an internal war in another country,” explained Sekeris.

“Military intervention is expensive and risky. No country joins another country’s civil war without balancing the cost against their own strategic interests and what possible benefits there are.

“The results show that outsiders are much more motivated to join a fight if they have a vested financial interest.”

Indeed, among their findings the team determined that the more oil a country has, the more likely it is that a third party will intervene in their civil war. And on the flipside, the more oil a country imports, the greater the likelihood it will intervene in an oil-producing country’s civil war.

Among the examples highlighted are the United States’ involvement in Angola’s civil war from 1975 to the end of the Cold War and in Guatemala, Indonesia and the Philippines. The authors also point to US support of conservative autocratic states in oil-rich regions. Also cited were the UK’s involvement in Nigeria’s 1967-70 civil war, in contrast to the non-intervention in civil wars in other former colonies with no oil reserves (Sierra Leone and Rhodesia, later Zimbabwe); and the former Soviet Union’s involvement in Indonesia (1958), Nigeria (1967-68) and Iraq (1973).

“The ‘thirst for oil’ is often put forward as a near self-evident explanation behind the intervention in Libya and the absence of intervention in Syria. Many claims are often simplistic but, after a rigorous and systematic analysis, we found that the role of economic incentives emerges as a key factor in intervention,” Vincenzo Bove said.

Vir: Carol Smith, United Nations University


The Persian Gulf: Understanding the American Oil Strategy (Shibley Telhami)

But there is no escaping that the region that has grabbed the greatest global attention during the past half century in matters of oil, the Middle East, remains critical for future energy supplies. In a way, all the scrambling to develop resources around the world today is intended to delay the day of reckoning. Although the Middle East produces a quarter of world oil supplies, it holds between two-thirds and three-quarters of all known oil reserves. For that reason the United States and the West have continued to define the region as being vitally important.

Addressing Vital Interests

That the region is vitally important, however, does not automatically lead to the conclusion that a large military presence is required there—or to serious questions about the continued availability of this oil on the world market. This seeming revelation has recently provoked a debate in Washington, one focused especially on Saudi Arabia, which alone holds a quarter of the world’s known oil reserves. Two central questions have been whether the United States needs to have a military presence in the region at all and whether our primary aim has been to defend Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states with whom we now discover we have serious policy disagreements. Moreover, many commentators, frustrated with the tension in relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia, have stepped up calls for weaning the United States of foreign oil broadly and of Middle Eastern oil in particular. But the debate entirely misses the logic of the American involvement.

First of all, buying oil from regions other than the Middle East will not resolve the problem. As the adage reminds us, “we are all sipping from the same cup.” The oil market is seamless and is largely driven by supply and demand. Middle Eastern supplies affect the price of Middle Eastern oil, yes, but also the price of global oil. And while the United States can and should conserve energy and develop alternate energy sources, the gap between what the United States now produces and what it consumes (nearly 10 million barrels a day) is simply too wide to be bridged. Moreover, the clustering of the reserves in the Middle East also means that at some point in the not too distant future, a greater share of the oil supply will inescapably be coming from that region.

Nonetheless, it is not entirely clear why oil economics should be mixed with oil politics or what necessitates a military strategy at all. Indeed, many countries that depend heavily on Middle Eastern oil—countries such as Japan and many in Europe—have assumed that they can base their policy entirely on the demands of the market without seeing a need for political and military intervention. This attitude may in part be driven by their taking the United States for granted and assuming that Uncle Sam will do the job to the benefit of all consumers. But there is more to it than that. Outside the United States the view is growing that assuring the flow of oil does not require a significant military strategy. This view is bolstered by historical trends. With the exception of the 1973 Arab oil embargo, which was politically motivated and which led to extraordinary increases in oil prices, long-term evidence suggests that the market, more than any other issue, determines trends in oil prices. Historically, political alliances have not greatly altered patterns of trade between the oil countries and the rest of the world. Oil producers sell oil to the countries that need it and are willing to pay the price and import the best products they can from the best sources they can find. The same was true even during the Cold War years, when political relationships were obviously not central to the oil producers’ trading behavior. A case in point was Libya, which, up until 1969, had been a strategic ally of the West and had hosted British and American military bases. The overthrow of the monarchy there in 1969 and the rise of President Qadafi shifted Libyan politics in favor of the Soviet Union. Yet its trade patterns before and after the coup were largely the same. For example, the share of trade with Soviet Bloc nations stood at 1.9 percent in 1960 and 1965, 1.8 percent in 1970, 1.3 percent in 1975, and 1.0 percent in 1980. Moreover, moderate states in the Middle East did not differ radically from pro-Soviet states in their trading: the oil-exporting nation with the greatest share of trade with the Soviet Bloc was the Shah’s Iran, not Libya, Algeria, or Iraq. The bottom line was that these states did what was in their economic interest, regardless of their political orientation.

After the 1991 Gulf War, with momentum on the rise for deploying American forces and establishing what amounted to a new fleet in the Gulf region, some observers believed that the increased American presence would give the United States a decided advantage over Europe and Japan in trade with the Gulf states. In some instances, no doubt, Washington was able to use its political leverage to help American businesses win contracts in the region, especially in the military and aerospace arenas. But at the aggregate level, the trade figures between the region and the rest of the world show that the United States had no visible advantage. In 1989, the year before Iraq invaded Kuwait, European exports to the Middle East stood at $40.2 billion, as against $13.7 billion for the United States. In 1992, the year after the Gulf War, Europe’s export total was $57.2 billion, as against $19.9 billion for the United States. And the trend continued. In 2000, Europe shipped $63.7 billion of exports to the Middle East; the United States, $23.0 billion.

Maintaining the U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf costs upward of $60 billion a year. Because these forces can also be used elsewhere, that sum is not entirely spent on defending the region. Still, one wonders why the United States devotes so much of its resources, energies, and war planning to the Persian Gulf. Would it not be more sensible to leave the oil issue to market forces and to leave politics out of it?

As conventionally understood, the American strategy is based on a resolve to assure the flow of oil to the West at reasonable prices—a resolve that extends to mitigating short-term interruptions in oil supply and subsequent spikes in pricing by relying on states, notably Saudi Arabia, that have excess capacity. (This alone requires Saudi-U.S. cooperation to assure that the Saudi capacity is used as a moderating force on the oil market.) But for more than half a century a central drive behind the American military strategy in the oil-rich region—one that has been not fully understood by most analysts—has been to deny the control of such vast resources to powerful enemies who would thereby become even more powerful and thus more threatening.

Vir: Shibley Telhami (Brookings)


4 responses

  1. Osnovna knjiga (zelo berljiva, dokumentirana) za normalnega smrtnika na to temo je :

    William Engdahl; Vojne za nafto (v slovenščini)

    Všeč mi je

  2. Kakor stvari stojijo, bi morala EU spraviti skupaj močno vojsko in tako ali drugače “osvoboditi” Bližnji vzhod od Američanov in Rusov. Glede na to, da bomo brez tega v EU preplačevali energijo, letno za vsaj 800 mrd, bi si lahko privoščili vojsko s takim proračunom. Toliko kot ZDA.
    To bi moral biti strateški plan Bruslja.

    Všeč mi je

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