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US foreign policy and energy resources during the George W. Bush administration

Mahdi, Ahmed Samir Sayed (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Based on the Open Door Policy, the United States has pursued an informal empire based on spreading its economic influence by ensuring open access to vital goods and raw materials, and establishing military presence in areas of interest, as America’s corporate and strategic interests worked together in harmony. This approach has been especially evident in energy-producing regions, where the US seeks to establish economic and military dominance to support its global economic power. George W. Bush, like all his predecessors, pursued the Open Door Empire, especially with respect to access to foreign energy resources, which took on an even higher priority because of his ties to the oil industry and the belief that the US was suffering from an energy crisis and relative economic decline. Energy procurement was linked to his other foreign policy priority as he took office; military advancement. After the September 11 attacks, two other foreign policy priorities were established: the War on Terror, and global power projection. Bush used the War on Terror to implement the Open Door Policy and meld the four priorities. He used the military to solve America’s economic and energy problems by invading Afghanistan and Iraq to control vital energy routes and resources, both as an end in itself (due to the economic and corporate benefits to the US) and a means to other, greater ends (as control over global energy supplies strengthened America’s imperial status). The Bush Doctrine stipulated that in the War on Terror, the US should take the war to the enemy and spread democracy as a tool to combat terrorism. Invading Iraq was meant to demonstrate US military power, fight terrorism (based on the false claims of Saddam Hussein’s ties to al Qaeda), secure Iraq’s oil resources and rebuild the country, using Iraq’s oil revenues. Thus Iraq would become a democratic model for the Middle East and a substitute for Saudi Arabia as America’s main strategic ally and source of oil. Compared to the George H.W. Bush and Clinton Administrations, the George W. Bush Administration is unique in two ways. First, it put energy resources at the fore of its foreign policy goals during his first days in office. Second, unlike previous US administrations that preserved undemocratic regimes in the Middle East to stabilize the region’s oil resources, the Bush Administration tried to democratise the region, using Iraq’s oil to rebuild the country into a democratic model. In pursuing these aims, the Bush Administration can be blamed for negligence, as it ignored warnings of post-war violence while planning for the Iraq war. The Bush Doctrine was too dependent on success in Iraq and on rebuilding the Iraqi oil sector. The post-war instability led to the failure of the Bush Doctrine’s plans for the region, meaning that the Bush Administration had to return to supporting undemocratic regimes in the Middle East. Despite endeavours to spread its global military power, promote global economic influence and diversify energy resources away from the Middle East, the US will continue to suffer from relative decline and will be less energy secure than ever.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Lucas, W. Scott
Department:Department of American and Canadian Studies
Subjects:E151 United States (General)
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:748
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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