Michael Klare, author of «Blood and
The Risk of an unending series of
Interview by Jorge
«Blood and Oil: The International
Security Implications of Growing U.S. Dependence on Imported Oil» is the
forthcoming book of Professor Michael Klare, author of the seminal book "Resource
Wars: The New Landscape of Global Conflict", published long monthes before
de 9/11 events. Klare explains in this exclusive interview the larger transformation
in the US strategic thinking regarding the world resources and discuss the possibility
of a series of oil wars with the envolvment of the US Administration. Klare was
the first to focus on the issue of resource conflicts as a new trend in the geo-politics
and geo-economy after the Fall of the Berlin Wall. He pointed out that we live
today with a series of fault lines and the new map of the world has a lot of zones
of potential trouble, including the Persian Gulf, the Caspian Sea basin, Caribean
with Venezuela and Colombia flash points, the South China Sea, along with various
parts in Africa.
© 2002, Gurusonline.tv
T.Klare is Five College Professor of peace and World Security Studies at Hampshire
College, in Amherst, Massachusetts, US, author of «Resource Wars: The New
Landscape of Global Conflict» (2001) and of the forthcoming book «Blood
and Oil» (2003). He wrote a seminal article at Foreign Affairs magazine,
titled «The New Geography of Conflict», volume 80, number 3, May/June
Professor Klare can be contacted by email.
the edition of "Resource Wars" what events confirm or denied the main
messages of your book published in May 2001?
Many events have occurred
that confirm the main argument of the book. In particular, the terrible tragedy
of Sept. 11, 2001 occurred in part because of the U.S. oil alliance with the royal
family of Saudi Arabia. This alliance, established in 1945, entailed U.S. protection
of Saudi Arabia and the royal family in return for privileged U.S. access to Saudi
oil. While beneficial to the too main parties involved, this alliance has also
angered some Saudis who resent the deployment of U.S. troops on Saudi territory
and the close ties between the United States and Israel. It is from this milleu
of anti-American Saudis that sorted out Osama bin Ladden and many of his followers
(including 15 of the 19 Sept. 11 airplane hijackers). In fighting the war against
terrorism, moreover, the United States has also sought to bolster its position
in the vital oil-producing areas of the Persian Gulf, the Caspian Sea area, and
Colombia. U.S. concern over the safety of future oil supplies has also led to
greater American reliance on Russian oil.
In the geo-economic context
you mention in the book, how can we understand the afghan operation? As some analysts
said the consequences of the afghan operation were mainly a logistics movement
regarding future alternatives to present pipelines through Iran and Russia?
U.S. military operation in Afghanistan was primarily designed to destroy the Taliban
and the sanctuary they provided for Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda terror organization.
In some sense, the operation can be said to bear on developments in Saudi Arabia,
insofar as Osama and Al Qaeda represented a threat to the Saudi government, which
is America's most important supplier of imported oil. Now, with the Taliban deposed
and Al Qaeda largely destroyed, the U.S. will use its bases in Central Asia to
protect the future flow of oil from this region. But I do not believe that this
was the original purpose of this operation.
How can we understand the
present interest in Iraq? Is it a strategic movement trying to balance the present
internal turbulence in Saudi Arabia, Iran consolidation and the new repositioning
of Russia since 1997, the clear challenger of the oil and gas chess?
I see it, the Bush Administration's campaign against Saddam Hussein has several
objectives: first, to eliminate the Iraqi threat to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia (which
are two of the principal suppliers of oil to the United States), second, to demonstrate
that no one can be allowed to defy American supremacy forever; and third, to gain
control over Iraqi oil reserves, the world's second largest reserves after those
possessed by Saudi Arabia.
We can expect increased competition
for control over the oil of Colombia and Venezuela in Latin America; Angola, Nigeria,
and Sudan in Africa; and the countries of the Caspian Sea basin. Other major flashpoints
will include major river systems in areas of scarce water supplies, such as the
Nile River basin, the Jordan River, and the Tigris-Euphrates system.
the new geography of potential flash points for resource conflicts, besides Middle
East, in what world regions we can be surprised in the near future?
any area possessing large supplies of oil is likely to be a major flashpoint as
the world's demand for energy rises and some supplies dry up. In particular, we
can expect increased competition for control over the oil of Colombia and Venezuela
in Latin America; Angola, Nigeria, and Sudan in Africa; and the countries of the
Caspian Sea basin. Other major flashpoints will include major river systems in
areas of scarce water supplies, such as the Nile River basin, the Jordan River,
and the Tigris-Euphrates system.
The so called "neo-imperial"
Bush Administration strategy - as John Ikenberry puts out in last Foreign Affairs
issue - is related with this revival of resource control? Is this doctrine a symptom
of force or of strategic defensive in the geo-economy field?
for global supremacy exhibited by the Bush Administration is driven in part by
ideological considerations -- a belief in the superiority of the American way
of life and a desire to impose this system on the rest of the world -- and in
part by resource considerations. In particular, the Bush Administration is determined
to gain control over an ever-increasing share of the world's energy supplies in
order to compensate for the steady depletion of domestic U.S. oil supplies.
occupies an inferior position vis-a-vis the United States and thus enjoys less
political independence and maneuverability.
How you evaluate
Europe position in this new resource dispute?
To the extent that Europe
continues to rely on Middle Eastern oil for a large share of its energy supply,
it will be dependent on the United States to protect the flow of this oil. In
this sense, Europe occupies an inferior position vis-a-vis the United States and
thus enjoys less political independence and maneuverability.
preparing a new book as a follow up of Resource Wars?
Yes, on the global
security implications of growing U.S. dependence on imported oil. The title of
the book is: "Blood and Oil: The International Security Implications of Growing
U.S. Dependence on Imported Oil." It is scheduled to be published a year
I believe that the U.S. will seek to protect
its access to these neighborhoods by stationing troops there or otherwise using
military force. The result, I fear, is an unending series of "oil wars"
unless the U.S. learns to constrain its appetite for oil or adopts alternative
modes of transportation.
And what's the main message?
thesis of the book is that the United States will need to import an ever-increasing
share of its oil supply because domestic production is undergoing a long-term
and irreversible decline. At the same time, domestic oil use is rising at a rate
of about 2 percent per year. The U.S. would prefer to rely on oil from "safe
neighborhoods" like Canada and Europe, but these areas are also experiencing
long-term decline. This means that the U.S. will have to rely more and more on
oil from "dangerous neighborhoods" like the Persian Gulf, the Caspian
Sea, Colombia, Venezuela, and Africa. This being the case, I believe that the
U.S. will seek to protect its access to these neighborhoods by stationing troops
there or otherwise using military force. The result, I fear, is an unending series
of "oil wars" unless the U.S. learns to constrain its appetite for oil
or adopts alternative modes of transportation.
What were the main reactions
to the first book since May 2001?
At first, people seemed to think
that I exagerated the significance of resource issues. But since Sept. 11, and
especially now with the talk of war with Iraq, people are saying that I was right
to focus on this issue.