Professor Michael T. Klare addressed the current crisis in the Middle East and the growing international demand for oil in a lecture to students and faculty Fri., April 23.
Outlining an argument discussed in his book, “Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America’s Growing Petroleum Dependency,” Klare stated that the world’s increasing demand for control of the few last bastions of oil in the Caspian Sea are in the Middle East.
Klare argues that the world powers of China, Russia and the “hyper power” United States are currently engaged in a power struggle for the remaining oil supplies in the Middle East. This struggle is proving to be dangerous business, Klare explained, because of growing anti-American sentiment there as well as the large number of scattered “non-state actors,” or terrorist organizations.
“This is where the greatest concentration of military forces are, and the greatest risk of escalation to nuclear war.” Klare said. “This is what we worry about. This is what I would argue is the new pivot of world affairs.”
Klare said evidence of this pivot in affairs is the repositioning of the world’s military forces. “But now there’s been a kind of global shift in military power from that area to this central region of the Middle East,” Klare said.
Klare discussed several factors of the crisis as it relates to the rising demand for oil. He noted that although no single presidential administration is directly responsible for the conflict, President George Bush’s administration has pursued the policy of the protection of oil reserves more vigorously than any other.
“No matter who’s in power in Washington, the mere fact of America’s overwhelming power is going to produce resentment and hostility from those that don’t like the way power is distributed or don’t like the influence the United States [has] in their own region.” Klare said. “It’s not a product of any single administration.”
Klare’s argument was supported by a triangular theory that explains the prevalence of increased interest in the Middle East – the terrorist activities that strike the headlines daily and the interest of these nations in acquiring weapons of mass destruction. This belief was used as the primary premise for the current war in Iraq and was also the subject of Klare’s lecture.
The lecture, which was sponsored by Temple’s Center for the Study of Force and Diplomacy (CENFAD), is given annually. Klare is the author of several books, including “Resource Wars: The New Landscape of Global Conflict” and “Rogue States and Nuclear Outlaws.” He also has written for several scholarly journals and has served on the board of directors of the Arms Control Association and the National Council of the Federation of American Scientists and on the advisory board of the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch.
Joe Redding can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.