Today, the U.S. is the largest energy consumer and importer in the world. According to Klare, three factors play significant role in U.S. foreign policy: energy, environment and the world economy (2009, p. 48). As the country addicted to oil, the U.S. has to develop the new ways of its production and supply from the different regions; therefore, the U.S. foreign and military policies are driven by the increasing needs for oil.
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The modern economy cannot develop without an appropriate supply of energy. Therefore, the international relations are directed by the problems of oil demands and its supply. According to Farrell et al., “the theme of energy infrastructure and security appears in more general studies of national security and warfare” (p. 3).
The following steps had been taken by the U.S. government in order to secure energy facilities and supplies and global oil chokepoints around the world. An understanding of significance of energy supply caused the attempt to destroy the German and Japanese energy infrastructures during the World War II.
As the country consumed about 1/3 of the total oil reserve during the World War II, the government had to find another sources. In 1945, President Roosevelt offered Saudi Arabia the help of the U.S. forces in return of the Saudi oil (Klare, 2008). During the Cold War, the major forces of the United States and the Soviet Union were focused on the nuclear energy system’s development. At the same period, both countries wanted to prevent a large-scale nuclear war.
The government had to be ready to rebuild the economy after the possible damages. Thus, “many electricity generators were expected to survive an urban-focused strike, but transmission system were expected to be largely destroyed, as were petroleum refining and shipping facilities” (Farrell et al., p. 3). In order to protect the energy infrastructure, the scientists developed measures which should be used in critical situation.
Energy system as the most vulnerable sector had to be protected, including the protection of all infrastructural elements such as plants, storages, pipelines, etc. Production of the renewable energy sources and flexibility of energy shipment system had been considered as the most effective methods.
According to Farrell et al., the energy security included the use of “cooling towers at electric power plants could conceivably be used in a deliberate attack as a means of dispersing biological or chemical agents” (p. 8). Besides, construction of the hydroelectric dams could help to store energy produces with the use of water power.
Possible damage of the use of large electromagnetic pulses (EMP) could “induce instantaneous voltages of hundreds of thousands of volts in conductors, creating very large disruptions in electric power systems and destroying electrical equipment components such as motors, backup generators, and microprocessors” (Farrell et al., p. 8). Clifton supposes that the danger of use of the electromagnetic pulses today and in the nearest future is significant (2011).
Terrorists can use this method in order to destroy the facilities and energy infrastructure. EMP attack can include the detonation of a nuclear warhead; therefore, the US government develops the system of defence. However, it is obvious that the damage of use of the nuclear weapons cannot be predicted. In this situation, it is necessary to prevent and stop the possible creation and use of the nuclear energy as a weapon.
Clifton cites the Center for Security Policy that indicates that “a dire warning that an EMP attack could kill nine out of ten Americans”. Obviously, such fears drive the foreign policy of the country. Today, as the world faces the problem of creation of the nuclear weapons by Iran, the US government claims about this danger in the United Nations. In order to prevent the large-scale conflict, the United States has to improve and strengthen its security infrastructure that was created in order to protect country during the Cold War.
A member of Republican Party Cain says about such counter urgent threats as “stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, fix border security – for real, shield us against Cyber and Electro-magnetic Pulse (EMP) attacks” (Clifton, 2011). Such threats are the part of his Foreign Policy & National Security Pillars.
One can notice that the US foreign policy towards Iran has to be developed. This issue is complicated and has a number of particular aspects that should be carefully investigated. According to the US Department of Energy, the national energy infrastructure requires the use of modern technologies that should improve the current position (2001). There are various areas that should be improved such as protection of pipelines, oil refineries and energy transportation infrastructure.
Obviously, the United States is the oil-dependent country and its foreign policy in the Middle East is motivated by the needs of the access to the local oil reserves. After the end of the Cold War, the U.S. foreign policy became concentrated on the Persian Gulf with its huge oil reserves.
The military presence of the U.S. army is important measure that should help improve the process of democratic changes and prevent the disruption of oil sources. In the film Blood and Oil by Michael Klare the U.S. foreign policy is present as a simple search for oil no matter of the price, including the human lives. Klare says that after 1945, the U.S. foreign policy had been concentrated on the search of the access to the energy reserves around the world (2009).
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Obviously, the country had to provide an adequate energy supply to its industries and citizens; however, as the result, there was a problem of overvalue of fuels and underestimation of human life. The Middle East can be considered as the most important geographical region which, on one hand, can affect the U.S. security, as it happened on September 11, 2001, and, on the other hand, provides the possibility to get the energy reserves needed for the U.S. industries and daily life.
When in 2003 the US government suspected Iraq of development of chemical weapons, the foreign policy consolidated its main forces in order to prevent possible threats and damage of use of this king of weapons. In fact, the main reason of this War was Iraqi oil reserves. According to Richardson, “most international trade in goods – over 80% of the total – is carried by sea” (2007). US Department of Energy claimed that The Hormuz strait in the Middle East is the most important chokepoint.
In order to protect national and commercial interests in this area, the US sends ships and naval forces to this region. In 2007, when the threats of Iran occurred, “US officials were seeking to tighten financial sanctions on Iran and were openly accusing Iranian paramilitary forces of siding with Shiite militia factions in Iraq to attack US troops” (Richardson, 2007). Two US aircrafts carriers and associated warships were sent to the region in order to control this area and prevent the danger of military conflict.
In 1980, President Jimmy Carter claimed about the necessity to use the military forces in order to protect the access to Middle Eastern oil (Klare, 2009). In recent years, the foreign policy of the U.S. includes the revolutions and conflicts arisen in the Middle East. For instance, after the revolution in Libya in 2011, the United States got an access to the Libyan oil reserves. The national Defense Council Foundation indicates that the overall money spent on oil-defence securities was 137 billion dollars in 2007, comparing to 50 billion dollars in 2002 (Klare, 2009).
Man power is one of the steps that US takes in order to protect this territory. Today, the U.S. naval forces patrol and protect “about 2.5 million square miles of water, including the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman and parts of the Indian Ocean” (Richardson, 2007). Together with other countries such as Pakistan, Singapore, Japan and European nations, the US forces control the Middle East oil reserves and the ways of its transportation.
Checkpoint insecurity in the Middle East can lead to the serious problems and economical loss, therefore, the U.S. wants to improve the democratic situation in this region. In order to promote democracy abroad, the US soldiers provide common training programs with local military groups in Afghanistan and Iraq.
At the same time, the presence of the U.S. forces in the region can guarantee that the influence of the U.S policy on the other countries’ governments will increase. The U.S. forces help other countries and, as the result, the United States get their support and gain allies. Cross-cultural training programs can increase the level of understanding of the current problems between local military forces, citizens and the US forces.
In return of the military help, the United States can get not only access to the oil reserves, but also the allies who will support the US policy on the international level. Although the presidential candidates discusses about the necessity of bringing home the U.S. military forces in Iraq, this oil-rich area is still used as the oil supplier. Thereby, the U.S. military forces provide training programs for the Iraqi soldiers, helping the local citizens to improve the protection measures.
The U.S. Army uses the light and swift forces and the communicational facilities which help in the coordination. Besides, they use hundreds of aircrafts and satellite-mounted sensors. Iraq increased the oil production after the U.S. forces arrived to the country. According to the statistics of International Energy Agency, “crude oil production capacity in Iraq is set to increase by 1.87 million barrels per day (mb/d) between 2010 and 2016” (2011).
However, at the same time, “warns of potential risks to this production increase in Iraq, notably the withdrawal of US troops and fears of escalating instability as insurgency bombing increases” (International Energy Agency, 2011). According to Cummins, the U.S. government has already committed 277 million dollars for energy infrastructure protection (2007). In fact, such programs are driven by the desire to control the present area and to protect the special access to the oil reserves by the U.S.
Clifton, E. (2011). Far-Fetched EMP Doomsday Part of Cain And Gingrich Foreign Policy Platforms. Web.
Cummins, C. (2007). U.S. Digs In to Guard Iraq Oil Exports, Wall Street Journal, p. 7.
Farrell, A. E., Zerriffi, H. & Dowlatabadi, H. (2004). Energy Infrastructure and Security. Ann. Rev. Environ. Resour., vol. 29. Web.
International Energy Agency. (2011). Iraq’s oil production capacity is forecast to increase sharply over next five years. Web.
Klare, M. T. (2008). Blood and Oil. Web.
Klare, M. T. (2009). The New Foreign Policy Agenda: Energy, the Environment, and the Global Economy. In R. M. Lloyd (Ed.), William B. Ruger Chair of national Security Economics Papers, Number 4: American Foreign Policy: Regional Perspectives (pp. 47-54). US, Newport: Naval War College.
Richardson, M. (2007). Asia’s Middle East Oil Dependence: Chokepoints on a Vital Maritime Supply Line. Web.
US Department of Energy. (2001). America’s Energy Infrastructure: A Comprehensive Delivery System. Web.