Peter Dale Scott - January 1, 2011
Since World War Two, the United States has had in effect two conflicting styles of conducting foreign policy, one for other developed states, and a quite different style for regions of little economic interest apart from their mineral resources – above all oil and natural gas.
As a general rule, the US has worked through the established governments of developed states. But in Third World areas and regions with oil or other minerals, the US has done whatever it thought necessary to secure access when it wished to do so. As Michael Tanzer observed some years ago, a number of CIA-engineered coups in the 1950s and 1960s, starting with Iran in 1953, can be related to the intentions of those countries to nationalize their oil companies.
The US has also embarked on at least three major military campaigns – in Vietnam, Colombia, and now Afghanistan, where oil has been one of the factors in the US commitment, and oil lobbies among the groups urging engagement. Other campaigns which seemed unrelated to this concern – notably Kosovo – have also been interpreted by strategic realists as important to America’s oil “needs.”