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UFPPC (www.ufppc.org) Book Discussion Series @ Mandolin Café (Tacoma, WA) March 14, 2005, 7:00 p.m. Michael T.

Klare, Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America’s Growing Dependency on Imported Petroleum (New York: Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt, 2004).
Preface. How to explain the post-Cold War violence? Some attribute it to identity politics (xi-xii). Pace Samuel Huntington, the cause is a struggle for resources (xii). Oil as special resource: 2001 and since revelatory of the consequences of oil dependency (xiiixv). Goal of book: “Tracing the evolution of U.S. oil policy and weighing its consequences for the future” (xvi).

Ch. 1: The Dependency Dilemma: Imported Oil and National Security. Centcom (1-4). Military sees it as an extension of the 1980 Carter Doctrine (5-6). Similar development elsewhere of military as “global oil-protection service” (6-7). Oil as key to U.S. economic and military strength (7-10). “Oil makes this country strong; dependency makes us weak” (11). U.S. policy has been to “securitize” oil (12). Dependency on imported oil surpassed 50% in April 1998 (13). Late 1990s policy debate (14). George W. Bush acknowledges problem but does not really counter dependency with policies (15). “Dependency is not a static condition” (15). Forecasts of growing dependency through 2025 (17-18). Table of proven reserves (19). Reserves in volatile regions (18, 20-21). U.S. presence in these regions and the nature of the oil industry are inherently destabilizing (21-22). Competition (or demand) for oil is increasing (22-23). Result: global economic instability (23). Ineffectiveness of military strategy, which has serious unintended consequences (2426). Ch. 2: Lethal Embrace: The American Alliance with Saudi Arabia. Importance of “U.S.-Saudi relationship” (26-27). Anxiety about oil supplies in early 1940s led to decision in favor of “substantial and orderly expansion of production in Eastern Hemisphere sources of supply, principally the Middle East” (April 1944, “Foreign Petroleum Policy of the United States”) (28-30). SOCAL creates CASOC and finds oil, 1938 (31). Recognition of importance leads Roosevelt to extend Lend-Lease to Saudi Arabia, 1943 (32-33). U.S. govt. tries to set up the Petroleum Reserves Corp. to buy CASOC’s

concession, 1943 ― but resistance keeps it from being realized (34-35). A “publicprivate partnership” (David Painter, Oil and the American Century [1986]) characterizes U.S. involvement in development of Persian Gulf oil (35). Roosevelt and Ibn Saud forge alliance, Feb. 14, 1945 (35-37). U.S. commitment to defend Saudi oil fields and the Saudi government ― and other Persian Gulf oil sources ― “a major theme of coldwar history” (37-38). Iran crisis of 1946 and concern for Mideast oil: need to overcome domestic resistance to overseas commitments led to “apocalyptic terms” of the Truman Doctrine (39-41). U.S. helps create modern Saudi army and air force, 1949-early 1950s (40). Eisenhower Doctrine (Jan. 5, 1957) designed to bolster proAmerican regimes in the context of Nasser’s flirtation with the Soviet Union (41-42). Vietnam War forced proxy-based Nixon Doctrine (July 1969); Saudi Arabia and Iran are proxies of choice (42-43). But it inspired domestic opposition and leads to Shah’s overthrow in 1979 (44-45). Hostage drama and Soviet invasion of Afghanistan lead to Carter Doctrine (Jan. 23, 1980): the U.S. will protect Persian Gulf oil “by any means necessary” (45-46). Creation of Central Command (46-47). Consequences of the Carter Doctrine: huge arms sales to Saudi Arabia (47-48), tilting toward Iraq in Iran-Iraq war (48-49), ousting Iraq from Kuwait (4950). Aug. 6, 1990 Cheney-King Fahd meeting leads to Operation Desert Shield (51-52). Desert Storm (52-53). Containment of Iraq: No-fly zones, $40b in arms to Saudi Arabia (53). 9/11 attacks and Osama bin Laden’s hostility “provoked primarily by the deployment of American troops in Saudi Arabia and the continuing alliance between Washington and the Saudi royal family,” which was “a product of America’s thirst for imported oil and the monarchy’s hunger for protection” (54-55). Ch. 3: Choosing Dependency: The Energy Strategy of the Bush Administration. Bush administration’s May

17, 2001 National Energy Policy (“the Cheney report”) (feigns commitment to energy independence (56-59). But ch. 8 reveals immensity of growing dependency on imported oil in a chart and calls on the president to “make our energy security a priority in our trade and foreign policy” (6164). Hopes for source diversification (Latin America, Caspian Basin, West Africa) “face a high risk of supply disruptions and shutdowns” (64-66). Defense Planning Guidance of 1992 and the Project for a New American Century highlight military (67-69). George W. Bush’s Sept. 24, 1999 Citadel speech called for greater power-projection capabilities (69-70). A Feb. 3, 2001 secret NSC document aims at assessing military implications of the energy plan (70-71). The Sept. 30, 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review emphasizes power projection (71-72). War on terror morphing into energy supply protection: “It appears that the administration has merged its three main foreign-policy and security policies (increased access to overseas oil, enhanced power-projection capabilities, and intensified anti-terror operations) into a single, unified plan” (72-73). Ch. 4: Trapped in the Gulf: The Irresistible Lure of Bountiful Petroleum. The Cheney report “committed the United States to perpetual dependence on Persian Gulf oil” (74-78). U.S. strategy aims at raising Persian Gulf oil production “from 24.0 million barrels per day in 1999 to 44.5 million barrels in 2020” (79). Obstacles: economic, technological, political, and military (79-82). Strands of U.S. policy constitute a “strategy of maximum extraction” (82-84). Primary importance of Saudi Arabia led some to advocate in 2002 for seizure of Saudi oil fields (84-86). Social, economic, political, and religious sources of Saudi instability (8689). U.S. approach is to strengthen Saudi royal family and encourage reform (89-90). Iraq war as a way of being able to withdraw U.S. troops from Saudi Arabia (90). Palestinian statehood also backed for this reason (91). Likewise. calls for reform and fighting terrorism in Saudi Arabia (91-93). Overthrow of Saddam Hussein needed both to foster Gulf stability and to boost Iraqi production (94-105). Iran’s policies are in opposition to U.S. plans in the Persian Gulf, and sanctions are an inadequate weapon

because they impede development of petroleum resources (105-07). Iran also has the power to disrupt energy supplies by blocking the Strait of Hormuz (107-08). For the time being the “dual-track policy” of Zalmay Khalilzad, consisting of denouncing Iran’s government while encouraging opponents of the regime is being followed, but more aggressive policies are being considered (108-10). Gulf problems will continue to require U.S. troops: “No matter how costly the effort grows, we cannot remove our forces from the Gulf as long as we remain committed to a strategy of maximum petroleum extraction. To meet anticipated U.S. energy demand in the years ahead while also slaking the thirst of other oil-importing nations, the Gulf producers must . . . boost their combined oil output by 85 percent between now and 2020, and these supplies must safely reach their markets” (111-12). Ch. 5: No Safe Havens: Oil and Conflict beyond the Persian Gulf. Bush-Cheney National Energy Policy promotes “diversification of oil supplies” as a solution to dependence on Persian Gulf oil (113-14). The “Alternative Eight”: Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Angola, have been a focus for U.S. commercial and diplomatic efforts (115-20). But these plans face obstacles: domestic consumption in producing countries (12021); oil field depletion (121-22); technological impediments (122-23); need for $3 trillion in investment (123); legal and constitutional obstacles (123-24); corruption, crime, and political unrest (124-26). “Production of petroleum in otherwise undeveloped countries can lead to distortions of the local economy and political system that practically ensure instability” (127). Nigeria (127-28). Colombia (128). Venezuela (128-29). Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan (129). Uzbekistan (129). Chechnya (130). Ethnic conflicts in Georgia, Azerbaijan, Angola (131). Border zone and offshore disputes (132). Carter Doctrine implicitly extended to new areas of the world (132). Clinton administration support for the Baku-Tbilsi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline (133-35) and Kazakhstan military exercise (135-36). Role of oil security interest in post-9/11 military and economic aid to the region (13639). Oil as factor in U.S. involvement in

Colombia (140-42). Deeper involvement in West Africa seems imminent (142-45). Ch. 6: Geopolitics Reborn: The U.S.Russian-Chinese Struggle in the Persian Gulf and Caspian Basin. Geopolitics is “the struggle between rival powers for control over territory, natural resources, vital geographic features (harbors, rivers, oases) and other sources of economic and military advantage” (146-48). 20th-century role of oil in geopolitics (148-50). Neoconservative and other geopolitical analysts in 1990s (150-51). U.S. commitment to prevail (151-52). Russia. Focus on domestic economy has led to prioritization of energy sector and Caspian Basin (152-54). Potential for conflict (15455). Bush administration: provocation, then post-9/11 cooperation, then renewed competition (155-57). U.S.-Russian tensions in Middle Eats (159-61). China. Growing economy makes its rivalry inevitable (16162). Uighur insurgency (162). Fear of encirclement by U.S. (162-63). China’s growing dependence on imported oil (16367). China’s geopolitical concerns about U.S. dominance of the Middle East (168-69). Chinese strategy acts through three state owned oil companies: CNPC, Sinopec, CNOOC (169). $10b pipeline to Kazakhstan (170). Oil swaps with Iran (170-71). China owns 40% of a consortium in Sudan (171). Military aid (172). Moving force behind Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) (172-73). Military aid to Iran, Sudan, and (in the past) Saudi Arabia (173-74). Overall, a relatively minor factor but a harbinger of the future (174-75). Future. Unpredictable tripolar struggle (175-79).

Ch. 7: Escaping the Dilemma: A Strategy for Energy Autonomy and Integrity. U.S. inescapably mired in oilrelated conflicts as a result of energy dependency (180-81). Potential quagmires (181-82). Economic cost: more than $150b/yr. (182). Political and moral cost: corruption and crime (183). U.S. soldiers’ lives a “blood sacrifice” (183). Morally indefensible, practically uncertain (183-84). Peak oil [not a term used in this book] here or coming, and war with it (184-85). Alternatives. Energy independence not a real alternative (185). “A national energy strategy of autonomy and integrity,” ‘autonomy’ meaning the ability to say no, and ‘integrity’ meaning agreement with “fundamental American values” and longterm interests (185-86). Prerequisite: “a new attitude toward petroleum,” placing values and national good ahead of convenience (187-88). Policy proposals: (1) separate military commitments from energy access commitments (189-92); (2) reduce reliance on imported oil by reducing consumption (193-97); (3) prepare the transition to the postpetroleum economy (197-201). Need to repudiate the cowardly, self-deluded false promise of Bush administration’s energy plan and embrace “autonomy, self-restraint, and innovation” (201-02). “It is not too late” (202).
Notes. 45 pages. Notable: Michael A. Palmer, Guardians of the Gulf (1992); David S. Painter, Oil and the American Century (1986); Aaron Dean Miller, Search for Security (1980); Ahmed Rashid, Taliban (2001). Acknowledgments. Tom Engelhardt. Grant from William H. Donner Foundation. About the author. Hampshire College, Amherst, MA. Defense correspondent for the Nation and contributing editor for Current History. 8 previous books.