Book Review: Oil and war do mix

Book Review

Oil and war do mix

Resource Wars: The New Landscape of Global Conflict, by Michael T. Klare. New York: Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Co., 2001, 289 pp.

Richard A. Matthew

Throughout his career, Michael Klare has written engaging, thoughtful, and timely pieces on emerging security issues. His latest book, Resource Wars, is another very readable and remarkably well-timed work that ought to be a welcome addition to the desks, night tables, and reading lists of all those interested in contemporary world affairs.

In particular, chapters 2 and 3 should make this book immediately appealing to a broad audience. These chapters offer a concise and well-documented discus- sion of the links among oil, conflict, and national security that provides a useful framework for understanding the terrorist attacks of September 11. Klare makes it very clear just how important Persian Gulf oil is to the economies of the United States, the Middle East, and the rest of the world. For example, oil provides 39 percent of the world’s energy, a share that is not likely to decline by much over the next 20 years. Five Gulf states (Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) possess two-thirds of the world’s oil, completely dwarfing the nonetheless significant supplies that exist in the Caspian and North Seas, Venezuela, Mexico, Russia, Nigeria, and the United States. As long as economies depend on oil, the strategic value of this region is assured.