Since 11th September, 2001, America’s foreign policy has been build on premises whose primarily goal is to engage and win the war on terrorism activities. This has resulted into the attack on the Islamic nation because the U.S believes that Islamic fundamentalism is the main driving force that promotes international terror. In its quest to counter terrorism activities, United States have engaged into foreign policy strategies that are intended to democratize various countries that are in the verge of political and socio-economic instability and pose threaten to the international peace. However, the motives at which the U.S initiates international intervention, have primarily changed the general perspective of fighting terror, but rather incorporate their desire to counter the looming peak oil crisis.
The theory of peak oil have challenged the worldwide concept of fighting terrorism by suggesting that what we are witnessing is the global conflict over rapidly dwindling reserves for fossil fuels. Therefore, religious radicalism continues to act as pretext for what is essentially a resource war especially in the Middle East and Africa. The write up in addressing the U.S international relation, examines various data associated with the “Peak oil,” theory in enhancing U.S energy, foreign, and security policies. It examines whether U.S foreign policy is unduly influenced by energy needs.
According to Cox (2008), the atrocious 9/11 attack on the United State’s Twin Towers and the partially destruction of the Pentagon changed America’s international relationships. He points out that U.S modified its international relation on how to associate with its perceived enemies and friends. The United States international relationship has as its major aim the need to counter and eliminate international terror groups that have been engaging in terrorism activities. As he points out, the America’s international war against terrorism has surpassed the general concept of the theory of religious radicalism in enhancing terrorism activities. He notes that since the 9/11, the U.S foreign policy on the fight against terrorism has concentrated on the fight against Islamic fundamentalism that has adversely affected the global peace. This has not only assisted the U.S but also other countries in attacking and undermining the principalities of Islamic religions that was seen to influence international terror activities.
However, as pointed out by Brown (2006), the U.S fight against international terrorism in enhancing international relation is viewed to inhibit international relation theory of realism. He notes that dating from the Cold War period; realism has been the dominant theoretical aspect from which powerful countries such as U.S have been enforcing their international affairs. According to him, the theory of realism normally depicts the use of power to help in the achievement of the interests of the powerful states such as the U.S. this is done in a pessimistic prospects of eliminating conflict and war that threaten global peace. He notes that realism dominated the U.S international war on terrorism activities especially in the Middle East countries which are rich reserves of oil. In addition, he points out that the U.S foreign policy in fighting terrorism tend to emulate the theory of neo-realism which primary ignore the importance of human nature, but rather enhance international systems. For instance, the America’s war against Saddam Hussein in Iraq in fighting terrorisms posed humanitarian crisis on the region even though also enhanced U.S’s foreign systems and policy in Iraq.
As pointed out by Brown (2006), the global wars that threaten the international relationship of various countries tend to be contributed by the scramble for important non-renewable resources. He notes that U.S foreign policy in fighting the Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East is further contributed by “Peak oil,” theory rather than liberal theory. According to him, the liberal theory depicts the use of power in democratizing a state which is adversely affected by political and socio-economic factors that have undermine its economic interdependence. However, noting from U.S intervention in democratizing the Middle East countries especially in Iraq, nothing is sought of enhancing economic interdependence of the country (Cox, 2008). According to his observation, the U.S used war intervention not only in fighting the Islamic fundamentalism in Iraq, but also in enhancing its international relation with the Middle East countries that would benefit it from the rich oil reserves. This was also evident in the recent global fight in Libya during the ousting and killing of its leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi.
Moreover, it is argued that United States foreign, policy which determines its international relationship, is influenced by the need for energy resources. The write up in addressing the U.S international relation, examines various data associated with the “Peak oil,” theory in enhancing U.S energy, foreign, and security policies. It examines whether U.S foreign policy is unduly influenced by energy needs.
History of Fossil Fuel Exploration and Use
According to Cundith (2006), the world’s dominant use of fossil fuel can be dated back from 1800s during the Industrial revolution. He notes that since then, the major fossils fuels namely coal, oil and natural gases have widely been explored and used in various sectors especially in the industrial sectors. This has led to the formulation of various foreign and energy policies that regulate the exploration and use of these energy resources. As he points out, since the beginning of the exploration of fossil fuel, United States has become a nation which highly depends on oil, coal, and natural gases in its transportation, agricultural, and food production sectors. He notes that this has prompted U.S to initiate foreign and energy policy in enhancing their fossil fuel energy consumptions and meeting its demand.
Cundith (2006) points out that oil was first explored and drilled in 1859 at Pennsylvania in the United States. He notes that with the successful drilling of the oil in the region, the hunt for oil exploration in the entire country began of which by 1917 U.S had explored and drilled various oil wells in the country. He points out that at the time, U.S’ transport agency and Texas Railroad Commission (TRC) were mandated not only to control the oil pipelines, but also to establish monthly oil production allowances. According to him, the oil exploration in Texas oil well primarily became the ultimate source for the global oil production until the discovery of oil in the Middle East in 1950’s. He notes that, even with the discovery and exploration of oil in the Middle East, the Texas Railroad Commission was still controlling the global oil supply system and consequently determining the global oil prices. For instance, TRC in an attempt to enhance and maintain U.S’s national security limited the importation of foreign oil which was intended to protect the local oil producers from cheap foreign oil (Cundith, 2006).
However, Cundith (2006) points out that the energy and foreign policy on foreign oil regulation by TRC created intense domestic oil exploration in U.S. This in turn depleted the oil reserves. He notes that unlike in 1970 when oil production registered high production rate of 9.4 millions barrels per day, intense domestic oil production led to decline in oil production. Consequently, there was need for the importation of oil in maintaining the energy consumption. He points out that this prompted U.S to begin importing 6 million barrels a day as it was unable to independently sustain itself from domestic oil production. Moreover, he notes that the formation of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) by the Middle East oil producing Arab countries undermined the U.S control and regulation over oil supply. With the production of over 40% of World oil supply and approximately 77% of global oil reserves, OPEC adamantly dictates the power influence that surrounds the oil energy resources and more so the global economy (Cundith, 2006).
According to Cundith (20060, the 1973 price quadruple on oil and gasoline products demonstrated how powerful OPEC dictated the global economy. He notes that this resulted in the enactment of 1973 Emergency Petroleum Allocation Act which prompted the government to distribute oil fuel in times of oil crisis and shortage. In addition, he points out that the Congress enacted the Energy Policy and Conservation Act in 1975 which led to the establishment of Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in promoting U.S interdependency on foreign oil. He notes that the SPR was not only established to maintain the desired oil exploration level in U.S, but also to enhance and regulate oil reserves of up to 1 billion barrels. He points out that with the continued filling SPR and protection of oil supply disruption chains; U.S recorded the largest emergence oil stockpile in the world. It thus became the second largest oil producer in the world in 2001.
However, Cundith (2006) points out that the increased U.S oil production led to increased oil energy consumption which in 2002 grew and exceeded the U.S oil production rate. For instance, he notes that with only 5.8 million barrel of oil being produced while only 19.6 million barrel of oil was consumed in any given day, U.S had to import 10.6 million barrels per day so as to sustain its current consumption rate. Being that the country consumes 70% of oil in transportation sector, it requires good and effective energy, foreign, and security policies that can enable it to benefit from foreign oil resources (Cundith, 2006).
On the other hand, coal is another fossil fuel whose exploration and use are historically based on United States. According to Bardi (2009), the use of coal as an energy resource in U.S can be dated in 1300’s among the Hopi Indians who lived in the Southwest desert of America. He notes that coal gained use in large-scale manufacturing and transportation during Industrial Revolution period. He points out that before the resurgence of petroleum oil; coal was the major source of energy in United States. With U.S forming the world largest coal supply and producing country, it became apparent that coal energy was a significant resource in determining the U.S economy. Therefore, U.S had to take advantage on its huger coal mining and production in enhancing economic standards of various countries which were dependent on its coal exports. In doing so, it had to initiate local mechanism that encouraged industries in using coal energy in their industrial processes so as to avoid over dependent on foreign oil resources.
Cundith (2006) noted that the enactment of Energy Supply and Coordination Act of 1974 was primarily done to enable utility companies in U.S to take advantage over the excessive coal resources. This act had primarily suspended the air pollution requirements which had created an environmental set back in the country and prompted the government to pass the Clean Air Amendments. He points out that this amendment required the utility companies to install scrubbers which would decrease the emission of sulfur dioxide into the environment. This would increase the mining and use of coal in the United Sates.
However, Cundith (2006) point out that the greenhouse effect of coal usage became a significant issue in 1980’s which led to the proposal of tougher restrictions by Clean Air Amendments. He notes this lowered the U.S coal exploration and use, but increased coal production in Western Countries whose coals were of low sulfur dioxide content. According to Shepard (2008), U.S had been beacon by lower coal exportation based on high production costs and the overwhelming competition from other coal producing companies. He notes that with a country whose 91% of coal burned is primarily used for electricity production like the U.S, such strict regulations undermines not only coal exploration but also its usage. Therefore, he points out that U.S requires energy and foreign policy framework that not only standardizes the exploration and use of oil among local industries, but also builds its international relation to help in coal exportations.
Natural gas is another fossil fuel whose exploration and use in United State can be dated back as early as 1815. According to Cundith (2006), in 1821 William Hart from the New York City drilled a 27 foot deep well in an effort to enhance the larger flow of natural gas from the underground surface. According to him, due to undeveloped transportation pipelines during 1800s, natural gas was used in lighting city streets lamps. He points out that the U.S government was not interested in regulating the natural gas industries until the enactment of Natural Gas Act in 1938. He notes that this act mandated the Federal Power Commission (FPC) not only to control the prices of the natural gases, but also to construct new gas supplying pipelines.
As pointed out by Shepard (2008), the ability of the Federal Power Commission to control gas field production and thereby reducing the prices of gases was a good effort towards encouraging the use of natural gas over coal. However, he points out that the increased consumption of natural gas led to the decline of exploration and further development of new energy reserves in the United States. Moreover, the expensiveness and the nature of the natural gas which undermined its exportation resulted into it being used locally in the U.S. on the other hand, the enactment of National Gas Policy Act in 1977 allowed the same price listing on natural gas with other resources which in turn enabled the exploration of new energy reserves (Shepard, 2008). This has continuously increased the consumption natural gases by an annual index number of 14%. With total natural gas consumption in U.S accounting for 23.6%, the U.S government needs a foreign policy and energy policy framework that explicitly encourage the exploration and use of natural gases (Shepard, 2008).
Peak of Oil Theory
According to Deffeyes (2008), the peak of oil theory is based on American geologist M. King Hubbert who predicted in 1956 that U.S oil production would peak between 1965 and 1970. He points out that most of the people rejected Hubbert’s theoretical analysis but later came to apply his methodology when oil production in United States began to decline in 1970. He notes that the theory is now being applied in determining and highlighting the fate of worldwide oil production. Bardi (2009) points out that the peak of oil theory depicts an oil production history that systematically inhibits a high peak of production which in turn will inevitable decline. He points out to the argument by Hubbert that once the oil production has declined, it will be irreversible to take it back to its eminent production peak.
However, Deming (2012) notes that most of the people who do not believe on the facts about the peak oil theory argue that this theory is only promoted by oil companies in justifying their increased high oil prices. He notes that, even though Hubbert correctly predicted the timing for the oil production in United States, most of his predictions based on the peak oil theory were empirically falsified. For instance, he points out that Hubbert predicted a maximum oil production in United States of 1 billion barrels in 2011 while the actual figures were two million barrels. Additionally, he notes that Hubbert predicted a steady rise in world oil production in 2000 at 12.5 billion barrels which in actual representation was not true.
According to Deming (2012), most of the people who argue in support of the peak of oil theory base their thesis on the assumption of the static amount of oil resource that are primarily determined by geological factors. He notes that the peak of oil theory suggests that oil is primarily not made up of ancient life forms but is rather created from earth’s core hydrogen accumulation. He points out that the peak of oil theory believers suggest that there is far more oil deposit underneath the earth core that is not being claimed by oil companies. He notes that since oil companies are afraid of decline in their oil prices as presented by peak oil theory, they normally speculate on decline on oil deposit and production so as to support their increased oil prices. Even though, these factors are difficult to predict and interpret, what determines the quantity of explored oil resources is primarily based on the subjected prices and the invented technologies (Deming, 2012).
According to Graefe (2011), there has been a raging peak oil debate over the fate of world energy supply which is adamantly dependent on oil production and supply. He points out that these arguments have been coming up due to the fact that the predicted amounts of the remaining oil resources are typically based on probabilities with no distinct facts. He notes that the peak oil debates are even more confusing due to lack of common definitional strategies and framework. Generally peak oil is not about running out of oil reserves, but instead highlights an inevitable timeline of which the world will no longer be able to increase its energy outputs. This is due to the fact that the energy production level is estimated to decline as energy consumption increases. He notes that the result of the oil production will amount to increased cost of oil that will seriously impact negatively on the global economy especially on countries such as United State that primarily depend on oil energy.
Abdullah (2006) points out that the world oil production estimated at 81.1 million barrel per day and associated production capacity of 0.62 million barrels per day. The increased oil consumption which is expected to shoot beyond 3 million barrels per day has resulted into upward pressure on oil which continues to affect the global economy. He notes that the abrupt insurgence of oil prices in 1970s prompted the U.S to enact various energy and foreign regulations and policies that were intended to bring down the country’s overdependent on oil resources. However, with the drop of oil prices in 1980s and 1990s, U.S ventured into consumption of more cheap oil which primarily became part of their economic traditions (Abdulla, 2006). He notes that this led to not only U.S but global increased demand on oil resources which in turn resulted into global decline of oil production. He points out those countries such as United States that tend to initiate effective preparation for the peak oil have found themselves adversely affected by the ravaging economies of their co-trading partners who ail from peak oil trauma.
Peak Oil and 9/11 Attack
According to Zarembka (2011), ever since the decline of oil exploration and production in United States in 1970, U.S has increasingly imported more of foreign oil so as to stabilize its economy. He points out that through its energy, foreign, and security policies, U.S has adamantly encouraged international relation either through war intervention or diplomatic effort so as to have access to oil reserves. He notes that since the lives and economy of U.S are adamantly dependent on fossil fuel consumption, especially oil, any disruption on the production and supply of world oil could negatively affect U.S. According to him, U.S had to utilize any given opportunity that could allow it to have fundamental roots in oil rich countries.
Zarembka (2011) points out that United States used the 11th September, 2001 terror attacks as a pretext to give it entrance into the oil reserve Middle East countries so as to counter the looming peak oil crisis. He note that the ideal of peak oil motive in countering the 9/11 attack was evident in the way in which the then President Bush administration exploited on the attack to invade Middle East oil reserve countries. The U.S 9/11 counter attack targeted Afghanistan and Iraq in the Middle East all of which have rich oil reserves. In his argument, it would have not been possible for the U.S to invade Iraq and gain control over its major oil field if the 9/11 attack could not have occurred. According to him, the 9/11 attack was just a break through for U.S who in any way was planning to attack Afghanistan even before the 9/11 so as to dominate and control its rich oil fields.
For instance, Zarembka (2011) points out that in the eve of 2001 before the 9/11 attack, the U.S energy tasks force constituted by the Vice-President Cheney had examined the maps of Iraqi’s oil fields. Additionally, he notes that the report had not only presented data on other Arabian Gulf oil field, but it also illustratively presented major oil drilling companies in the area. He points out that in April 2001, the President Bush administration had established Afghanistan as a destabilizing oils exporting country which was adversely affected the international flow of oil. Therefore, there was need for proper action to be taken against Afghanistan not only to influence international oil trading, but also to root for U.S control over Iraq’s oil fields. And in his support, he points out that the Vice President Cheney acknowledged knowing of oil companies and their officials even before the 9/11 attack. This evidently show that U.S was long prepared to go to war with Afghanistan just months before the 9/11 attack. Furthermore, he points out that Dick Cheney was a major shareholder of the world’s largest oil servicing company, Halliburton, from which he rationalized the U.S attack on Afghanistan. This was to assure U.S of retaining its energy supply and consumption even in times of looming peak oil crisis.
Peak Oil and the WAR on Terror
According to Lansford, Watson & Covarrubias (2009), the oil factor has continued to be a determinant element as it guides the United States engagement in its war against terrorism. They point out that the motive of U.S administration in attacking Iraq and Afghanistan, and that of positioning its troops specifically around the oil fields clearly illustrate that oil factor was the primary agenda in its fight against terrorism. They note that ever since, the U.S military campaign in fighting war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan has been primarily motivated by oil factor, and oil revenues, rather than enhancing national security. They point out that none of the declared objectives which led to America-Afghanistan war on terror have been achieved. A part from capturing Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and the destroying of al-Qaeda communities, no peace have been established in the Country since U.S began war on terror in the region (Lansford, Watson & Covarrubias, 2009). Amazingly, they point out that the America-Afghanistan war has in turn led to the routing of American-led oil and gas pipe in the country which would selfishly benefit U.S.
Lansford, Watson & Covarrubias (2009) note that U.S has strategies on its foreign policy, energy policy, and security policy that would enable it to construct massive oil pipelines through Afghanistan. They point out that the proclaimed fight against terrorism in Afghanistan have successfully satisfied America’s long quest of capturing the area which had rich oil fields enabling it to counter the looming peak oil crisis.
On the other hand, Kuan (2007) points out that America’s led attack on Iraq in fighting terrorism especially in destroying the perceived Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mars destruction ever since have not been justified. He notes that U.S has justified its attack on Afghanistan and Iraq due to their support for al-Qaeda terror group. But, as he points out, this is just one of the strategies that the U.S administration uses in gaining control over oil rich countries. For instance, Saudi Arabia is one of the world largest oil producing and exporting countries. Similarly, he notes that in 2002, The Council on Foreign Relation advised the U.S government to attack Saudi Arabia in case it continued to support the al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. This was seen as one of the cases in which America could use its international intervention in enhancing its economy through oil explorations and control. Moreover, he points out that ever since the execution of Saddam Hussein and the killing of Osama bin Laden, the U.S and other developed western countries have used the war of terror as an avenue for oil exploration.
Alternative Energy and Strategies
According to Lund (2007), the environmental impact and the perceived depletion of fossil fuel energies have called for a rapid replacement for renewable energy resources. He points out that the renewable energy such as wind, solar, wave and biomass requires alternative strategies so as to improve on their exploration and supply. He notes that the alternative energy strategies involve initiating energy saving as demand increases, efficiency in the production of the renewable sources and fully replacement of the fossil fuels. There is therefore the need for the U.S government to initiate large-scale implementation strategies towards enhancing the production and saving of the renewable energy.
As pointed out by Lund (2007), the U.S government should revise its energy policy so as to drastically enhance the use of renewable energy sources such as biomass as substitute for the fossil fuels. Moreover, he points out that the U.S government should fund the new technologies such as the solar panels. Thus would help in reducing their prices thereby making them affordable to the American populations.
In conclusion, it is evident from the write up that U.S foreign policy framework is primarily dependent on the exploration of rich oil fields in its attempt to enhance international relation. The paper has pointed out that, non-renewable energy resources such as fossil fuels primarily dictates the global energy consumption. This has made most countries to depend on oil energy. However, it is pointed out that the peak oil theory tends to establish another foreign, energy and security policy framework that U.S inhibits in enhancing its international relations. With the depicted depletion of non-renewable energy resources such as fossil fuels, there is need for the world to embrace the exploration and use of renewable energies.