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This chapter looks at the role of oil in the political economy and the international relations of the Middle East. Oil is commonly considered a political commodity. Because of its pivotal importance as a primary source of energy, governments are concerned with its continued availability and seek to minimize import dependence. Historically, interest in oil — especially in the United Kingdom and the United States — strongly influenced attitudes towards the Middle East and the formation of the state system in the region, following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Oil also affects the power balance within the region. The polarization in the region between oil-rich and oil-poor states is thus an essential tool of analysis. The parallel distinction between rentier and non-rentier states helps to explain how oil affects the domestic political development of the oil-rich states and influences their regional relations.

Chapter

25. Nigeria  

Consolidating Democracy and Human Rights

Stephen Wright

This chapter examines the consolidation of democracy and human rights in Nigeria. With regard to the relationship between development and human rights, Nigeria presents an interesting puzzle. It is rich in oil, but has not been able to translate its immense natural resources into sustainable economic development and respect for human rights. Ethnic and religious tensions, a result of colonialism, have been exacerbated by disastrous economic development, which has in turn led to a deteriorating human rights situation and intense violence. The chapter first considers the political economy of Nigerian oil before discussing the country’s political and economic development, with particular emphasis on critical aspects of human security and civil society. It concludes with an assessment of the progress that has been made as well as ongoing development challenges Nigeria faces.

Chapter

This chapter examines the main dynamics that have transformed U.S. foreign policy towards the Middle East over the last eighty-five years, from Woodrow Wilson to Barack Obama. It first considers the applicability of realist, Marxist, and constructivist theories of international relations before discussing the role that the Cold War, oil, and Israel have played in shaping U.S. foreign policy. It shows how, in each of these three areas, U.S. tactical approach to the Middle East has produced unintended consequences that have increased resentment towards America, destabilized the region, and undermined its long-term strategic goals. The chapter also explores the Bush Doctrine, launched after 9/11 and the resultant invasion of Iraq. It concludes by assessing Obama’s attempts to overcome the tensions and suspicion causes by previous U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

Chapter

Sam Raphael and Doug Stokes

This chapter examines growing concerns over global energy security due to rising demand for fossil fuels by industrialized economies coupled with increasing uncertainties over future energy reserves. It considers the implications of increasing energy insecurity amongst the world’s major powers for international security by focusing on the politics of oil. After providing an overview of the problem of energy security, the chapter discusses the connection between energy security and International Relations theories such as liberalism, realism, and historical materialism. It then explores the link between energy security and human insecurity, and how the search for energy security by states in the global North affects the human security of communities in the oil-rich global South. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the role played by the United States in underpinning global energy security in the post-war era, and the impact that this has had for oil-rich regions.

Chapter

This chapter focuses on the Middle East during the post-Cold-War era. It introduces some the key themes that have come to dominate contemporary international relations of the Middle East: oil; new and old conflicts; the impacts of globalization; and religio-politics. In considering the major security patterns and trends in the Middle East, one finds a number of enduring issues, such as the Arab–Israeli conflict and border disputes. At the same time, one can see elements of change, both within these conflicts and with the emergence of recent threats, such as Iranian nuclearization, with profound consequences for regional alliance structures. As old and new security issues mingle in the geopolitical order, events of the past few years reflect a region dominated by conflict clusters. It is no surprise then that the Middle East remains a highly militarized region.

Chapter

Sam Raphael and Doug Stokes

This chapter examines growing concerns over global energy security, as continuing demand for fossil fuels by industrialized economies is matched by increasing uncertainties over future energy reserves. With a particular focus on the politics of oil (which remains the key global energy source), it will assess the ways in which increasing energy insecurity amongst the world’s major powers will impact upon international security more broadly, and will discuss different understandings of the likelihood of future ‘resource wars’ and a new era of geo-political rivalry. The chapter will also examine the impact that the search for energy security by states in the Global North has upon the human security of communities in the oil-rich Global South. Finally, the chapter will examine the central role played by the USA in underpinning global energy security in the post-war era, and the impact that this has had for oil-rich regions.