This paper seeks to explore the impact of energy, foreign policy and terrorism on the United States government. It is without doubt that these aspects play a very significant role in the government of the U.S. but little has really been documented in literature. In order to explore this aspect exhaustively, the peak oil and its impact on the September 11 attack will be considered. This is because the two aspects cover the key elements eminent in the oil, foreign policy and terrorism in the United States. Further foreign policy is discussed in the paper from the point of view of the diplomatic relations between the United States and other countries. The point of contention is whether the United States relates well with other countries, for instance, Iraq and Afghan countries. Is it using excessive force or is it set to maintain peace by considering humanitarian rights? The paper will draw conclusions from the three aspects, energy, terrorism and foreign policy.
Energy, Foreign Policy and Terrorism
For many decades the United States has not adequately addressed the aspect of energy policy. As a result of lack of comprehensive policy, Americans have continued to face energy challenges, such as recurrent intermittent shortages of energy, energy price volatility and escalated energy prices in the face of world financial crisis. The failure to design practical strategies in the energy sector can be linked to the ignorance of the political group. The major political parties in the country, Democrats and Republicans, allowed the energy policy to slip away in spite of its mainstream to the country’s domestic economic policy and aspect of national security .The energy policy in America was allowed to drift, although oil prices both locally and globally escalated amid the state of American moment of recession in 1940s. The energy crisis in America has had severe effects on its economy and the world`s economy. The current energy crisis has evolved into supply constraints, which have become to be the greatest impediment to economic growth and prosperity. The peak oil theory explains why there have been decline in supply of oil in the United States. The theory is anchored on the observed production capabilities of oil well in the world. The production of oil, according to the theory, has decreased over the past decades affecting the U.S. economy due to lack of comprehensive oil policy. The inadequate supply of oil leads to escalation of prices, which finally leads to energy crisis that will need quick intervention measures to salvage the situation (Taylor, 2009). The US government has used the issue of energy crisis, foreign policy, and fight against terrorism to acquire the oil for its domestic use, with an objective of dominating the world by laying strategies that will enable it acquire oil from other oil-producing countries to an extent of using military force.
In 2001, the top priority on the agenda for George W. Bush was not the issue of foreign policy on counter-terrorism or elimination of the weapons of mass destruction, but his focus was to boost the flow of petroleum from foreign suppliers. The US administration openly justified its intentions in the Middle East in terms of convincing privileged entry to the region’s energy resources in form of oil, or safeguarding the interests of the US oil firms. After the terrorist activities of 9/11, furthermore, US policy in the Middle East has been inherent nearly absolutely in relation to the US “war on terror”. However, the politics concerning oil and the military actions have dominated the US foreign policy. The US existence in the Gulf is mainly to maintain the continued flow of oil by preventing the unreceptive regimes from establishing supremacy over the region. US foreign policy in the Middle East aims at establishing an element of intransience of its military presence in the vast oil region by reducing its political costs to the US and allies. In this regard, Iraq was a threat that limited the US activities and missions in the region. The following year, America experienced the worst oil and natural gas shortages ever witnessed, which was culminated by consistent blackouts in major states, such as California. Consequently, the U.S. oil imports just rose over 50% of the total country’s consumption, thus, threatening the country’s long-term stable energy supply. The Bush administration laid down strategies that would address the problems experienced in the energy sector. There were several benefits that would be accrued from the strategies that were significant to the stability and productivity of major industries in America. This meant that energy shortage in the country would lead to severe and insidious repercussions. Petroleum is particularly vital to the U.S. economy, since it contributes two-fifths of the country’s total energy supply and it is the main resource for transportation industry. Furthermore, petroleum plays a key role in sustaining the country’s national security, since it powers the entire military machinery (Sanger, 2009).
Peak Oil Theory
The peak oil theory explains a situation where the oil drilling has reached optimum level and the production has declined in the oil reserves. This situation is currently experienced by the US energy and has led to decline in production. The energy crisis witnessed in America has no connection with the global hydrocarbon resource, but the crises arose from inadequate infrastructural policies. The military forces in the United States have been used as an instrument to achieve its energy policy ends. The oil dependence of US foreign policy relies on the globally projected balance of supply and demand in international market, the technological and cost-effective presence of new oil reserves, and substitute energy sources that might be used as alternatives to scarce oil. To meet the growing demands in the U.S. economic sector, the government had to increase imports from the Persian Gulf nations, which are known to have almost two-thirds of the world oil reserves. In this regard, the government also had the duty of ensuring that they persuaded Saudi Arabia government through the diplomatic efforts to allow American government to improve infrastructure of their countries.
The American authorities have dedicated their strategies to the aspects of expansion, modernization of the U.S. military potentialities, and procurement of foreign oil. These priorities have independent origin; however, they are intertwined together and with the aspect of war on terrorists and its activities to develop a unified strategic approach to both security and energy crisis situations. The centerpiece of the American energy policy has been to promote, both at home and internationally, liberal markets that effectively distribute capital, offer optimal consumer preference and allow low prices via market competition. American foreign policy also promoted the aspect of diversity of supply, both geographically and in aspect of energy sources. Locally, infrastructure requirements have been abandoned to the existing market forces. Tax policy was not adequately employed to discourage the use of hydrocarbon fuel or foster the use of eco-friendly sources of energy (Taylor, 2009). U.S. foreign policy assumed the aspect of demand management, thus, frequently allowing energy supply objectives to take place at the back seat to environmental concerns when it comes to issues of land management, releases, and other policy needs. U.S. international oil policy depends on the maintenance of liberated access to Middle East Gulf oil and access for Gulf commodity exports to global markets. Through the aspect of foreign policy, the United States has developed a mutual relationship with Middle East exporters that desire stable oil prices in the world, and particularly in the USA (Sanger, 2009).
US foreign policy focuses to promote a policy of optimum privatization via “shock attitude” and “adversity capitalism” employing the use of aggressive regime change and other identical disasters for forced change on the focused regions in the world, perceived to be having adequate oil reserves. Consequently, US foreign policy is anchored on the principles of expanding US liberal trade regime and empire, where the desire of politicians is coupled with business interests with the element of political economy of the large corporation. To safeguard the interests of US corporate ventures in the oil sector, the US administration intervened in foreign regions, where there was no actual or urgent danger to America’s national security, except for cases where the US business undertakings and interests were threatened (Taylor, 2009).
Peak Theory, War on Terrorism and 9/11 Attack
In many decades, the importance of energy control has impacted immensely on the US foreign policy initiatives. The major role of oil resources in the US economic position has influenced the country’s geopolitical priorities and operations, since most of the oil rich reserves are located in places that are unsafe to venture due to internal divisions and terror factor. America’s empire is purely based on controlling the global oil industry, which made them displace the Great Britain as the major oil dominant empire in the Middle East and its oil deposits. The US interest in controlling oil reserves globally is not only limited to America’s own oil consumption, but also denying it to other nations and empires so that the USA can use its control influence to have power over economic destinies of the target countries. The US currently has control over the key oil reserves in the world.
The connection between the US authorities and oil venture business is vital to maintain control over the world’s system, sustain the US Empire, safeguard US oil interests and foster foreign policy decisions that will propel their interests in the oil industry. Beyond the attack of Afghanistan, the September 11th invasion had great impacts on the American’s foreign policy strategy. The Bush administration, while assuming the office, had two foreign policy objectives: military power predominance and foreign energy procurement. Following the September 11th attack, another foreign policy goal was incorporated, the war on terrorism and its activities. This, according to the Bush administration, was done to ensure that they have control on countries with major oil reserves and avoid resistance. These objectives at a point in history converged as it was in attack of Iraq and Afghanistan. The Bush administration generally embraced the policy of world economic openness anchored on sustaining the US predominance in order to safeguard the Open Door Empire, as it was evident on the administration’s support for Saddam. This was particularly seen in the field of oil resources where the political economy of the entire corporation in utilizing the corporate interests to foster US energy security matters. The main goal of the 1991 Gulf War was to safeguard energy supplies and to promote the US predominance in the system of the world’s openness.
The policy which aimed at regional diversification was not well defined within the formal policy document, however, Energy Secretary Bill outlines that the energy security in the US was based on diversifying the oil resources and gas resources worldwide. Therefore, the diversification of energy resources was a matter tied to national security. In April 1997, the Department of State argued that the strategic significance of the Caspian region was vital for US foreign policy, which was seen as a tool that would promote and deploy the Caspian oil resources. Clinton strongly advocated for American firms that sought to explore the region, thus, unequivocally stating that the resources in region were a matter of national security (Teather, 2003).
The September 11th invasion did not lower the American dedication to an open world economy, as the Bush administration advocated the world Open Door Policy, which was a tool for defeating threat by the terrorists. According to the regime, terrorists and their activities threatened the aspect of openness, which was essential for America’s economic growth. The war on terror was at the centre of the strategy for creating an integrated and open world. The anti-terrorism strategy was vital in maintaining national security and foreign policies, since terrorism was a threat, originating from nations perceived to have rich oil deposits and comprised crucial routes to oil pipelines and transportation, situated in Central Asia. The 9/11 attack has been linked to terrorism activities in Saudi Arabia and this caused security concerns and controversy in Washington. However, the 9/11 Commission Report found no connection between the Saudi government and 9/11 attack. Despite the enjoyed friendly atmosphere between the US and Saudi governments, after 9/11 attack, tension continued between the two trading partners, particularly concerning Arab-Israeli and Islamic fundamentalism that could lead to terrorism. The Americans had the notion that the Saudi government might not be in position to support them when it came to military activities in Iraq .On the other hand, the Saudi government feared that the American attack of Iraq would generate the discovery of more Iraqi oilfields, leading to increased competition and higher supply against Saudi oil resources (Sanger, 2009). The ousting of Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq was meant to ensure that the US authorities would eliminate any obstacles as Saddam was viewed by America as impediment to the mission of enjoying the oil resources in Iraq. This eventually impacted negatively on the economy, since the prices of oil in the global markets rose.
The Cheney report suggested that procuring the ever-shifting supplies of the imported oil resources and other energy alternatives to meet the country’s demands would present a profound effect on America’s military and foreign policy. The adoption of the Cheney energy plan will also present significant impacts on both US security policy and foreign policy. This is due to the reason that majority of the nations that are expected to provide oil resources to the US face internal conflicts, are involved into terrorist’s activities or present strong anti-American opinion. This means that the American authorities will face difficulties in trying procuring additional resources from these countries, because they will face violent disorder and element of resistance in major producing regions. The US officials would plainly admit that they avoid use of military force in such circumstances, however, they will conclude that the one only way to ensure there is constant supply of oil is to protect the oil fields and pipelines by use of military forces (Taylor, 2009).
To extend its dominance, the Bush administration planned and killed Saddam Hussein who was viewed as anti-American, and its main objective was to install pro-US regime in Baghdad. The war in Iraq was majorly to destroy the remaining Iraqi capabilities of production of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons (Teather, 2003). The US also wanted to avoid the handover of the country to terrorists. The American authorities are worried about the future prospects of oil supply in the Gulf region and they are doing everything to eliminate any impending threat that can be an obstacle to flow of oil to America. The American authorities are out to ensure that the vast oil resources in Iraq are accessible to US firms in the future and to prevent a situation where the resources are dominated by China, Russia and European companies. The American military forces were deployed to Central Asia and the Caucasus after the 9/11 invasion to support military operations against the threat of terrorist activities of Taliban in Afghanistan.
Alternative Energies and Strategies
For the last two centuries, the US economy has been dependent on cheap energy sources from steam engines, nuclear electric power and petroleum-based transportation. These sources of energy reduced the cost of production and transportation costs, thus, increasing the income; however, due to shortage of these resources the trend had to be reversed. Energy experts within and outside the government proposed to raise the cost of the cheapest and most important energy source, coal (Sanger, 2009).
Subsidies for generating wind power and solar energy have been the current strategies in the American energy sector, aimed at inducing investment in these new strategies. The basic and peak load capability needs for nuclear or coal power will not be lowered, however, their costs will escalate. Least cost in every kilowatt per hour manufacturing will need a consistent energy supply near to plant capacity, thus, low daily and seasonal difference. The seasonal use of wind power and solar energy minimizes the level of capacity of use of coal and nuclear processing plant. There is a need that the public utilities explore and buy accessible renewable energies, escalating the cost of energy in two approaches: the price of renewable sources of energies supersedes the cost of production of the utility, thus making the utility cost to rise. Introduction of tax on carbon materials during energy production or permits that should be bought is the third form of energy cost increase. Unless a tax on carbon supersedes the cost difference amid the renewable and coal power, it will only impact on coal use via a decline in customer and business demand for this form of energy (Taylor, 2009).
The major form of renewable energy, proposed for adoption in the US, is wind and solar power. These forms of energy play a key role in reducing the cost of production and, at the same time, increasing firms’ productivity. However, these forms of energy, despite being renewable, are costly to install and use, since they cannot meet the need for base or peak load (Teather, 2003).
There is a need for the US government to be independent of oil as the main source of energy, especially in the transport industry, where there is no other alternative source of energy. The oil deposits in the US are declining, which has mandated the country to import oil from other anti-US countries in order to meet the country`s demands for energy (Sanger, 2009).
The US government must explore carefully the existing sources, since most of these forms of energies are not cost-effective or they need to be highly subsidized by the US government. The alternative source that could provide much-needed energy in the US at low cost or equivalent of fossil fuels is the nuclear energy. The use of bio-fuels in the US energy could fuel the prices of corn and its products leading to inflation. There is a critical requirement for the US government to embrace energy independence, in order to avoid global conflicts associated with foreign policies and international terrorism witnessed in oil producing nations (Taylor, 2009).
Energy has become a fundamental aspect in the US economy, domestic prosperity, and national security. Therefore, it is evident from the discussion that there is a link between America’s national interests and energy. The start of globalization, the widening gap between the poor and the rich, the compelling factor of protecting global climate and war on terrorism are all issues intertwined with energy requirements of America. US foreign policy in oil-producing has been observed as aiming to acquire oil to meet the demands of their energy needs.
The profound changes of the past decades and the compelling challenges of the 21st century evoke a need to acknowledge the role of energy in America’s future and the requirement to embrace modern, ambitious, and innovative strategies in the energy sector. The US government, through its foreign policies and national security, has been criticized as perpetuating the element of self-interest in oil producing nations (Taylor, 2009).
There is a need for the US government to embrace the aspect of energy independency to avoid importing oil from other countries, hence, avoiding conflicts. In the past, the country waged war on oil-producing nations, like Iraq and Afghanistan, which was aimed at getting oil from these countries and eliminating “stubborn” regimes. This discussion supports the thesis of the paper where the US uses the foreign policy aspect to acquire oil (Teather, 2003).