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Volume :1 Issue : 1 1975      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

THE U.S. ENERGY CRISIS AND ARAB OIL

Auther : Nasser H. Aruri

 

         This is a study of America’s preparations of its energy crisis and possible solutions in the context of Americans foreign policy in the Middle East. The study attempts to make an assessment of U.S. energy demands between now and the year 1985 and concludes that regardless of how much domestic oil will be developed in the U.S., about 50 per cent will have to be imported from abroad. Of the 14 million barrels per day to be imported by the U.S., about 10 million come from the Middle East.

The study reveals that America’s energy crisis present the dilemma of an ever increasing demand for fuel versus a limited supply. The U.S., with 6 per cent of the total world population produces about one-fourth of the total world energy and consumes one-third of that total.

Possible alternative to oil are surveyed and assessed, including nuclear power, geothermal energy, solar sea power, fossil fuels (coal, oil shale, tear sand). But the conclusion, which emerges is that, the prospects of finding available alternative is not very promising in the short-run. Dependence on Arab oil imports until the year 200 is therefore a must.

The study also addresses the political and economic implication of U.S. dependence on Middle East oil.

Most financial experts in the U.S. agree that the rise in oil prices and in oil imports will create a balance of payment deficit of $21 million at least by 1980. The control of vast sums of reserves by Arab nations will enable them to play an important role in the international monetary system.

Concerning the remedy of this situation, there seems to be at least three schools of through among U.S. policy makers and energy “experts”.

1.    Those who advocate a policy based on enlightened self-interest and who recognize a relationship interdependence and therefore “mutuality of economic interest” of the U.S. and her industrial allies on the one hand and the oil producing countries of the Middle East on the other, as a fact of contemporary international relations. They suggest that improvement of U.S.-Arab relations, based on what they call a just settlement of the Arab-Israeli problem, would enhance America’s national interest in the region.

2.    Those who advocate the development of an effective counterbalancing force of consuming nations to prevent the shift in the balance of power in favor of the producing nations. This would form an alliance of oil companies and governments of the consuming nations of the industrial West. Essentially this group aims to block the producers from gaining control over their resources.

3.    Those who seek a remedy of the so-called energy-crisis based on a relationship of force as the only means to preserve neocolonial empires and economic privilege in a revolutionary world.

      1. Those who hope to achieve their goal through a modern version of gunboat diplomacy – Invasion, subversion, use of C.L.A.
      2. Others who prefer to work through surrogates (in this case Iran and Israel).

The study concludes that in spite of these various approaches and schools of through, there exists in the U.S. a consensus that Arab oil is a kind of global trust and that it is too valuable a commodity to be used as a bargaining weapon. In their view “it belongs to mankind!!!”.

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