America’s dependence on imported oil is undermining the country’s national security by tying the U.S. economy to unstable and undemocratic nations, thus increasing the risk of military conflict in political hotspots around the globe.
Oil extraction has gradually shifted to more dangerous corners of the globe. Today, the world’s oil frontier includes a list of countries that mirrors a catalog of global trouble spots, including: Angola, Azerbaijan, Chad, Nigeria, Sudan, Iran, and Venezuela.
Aside from being at the mercy of foreign countries to supply petroleum for transportation, heating, etc., the United States’ national defense could easily be compromised in a crisis. Lieutenant Colonel John E. Malapit of the United States Army states in his study, Petroleum as a Strategic Center of Gravity, that petroleum engineers, geologists, and economists forecast no change in the long term availability of worldwide petroleum supplies. But, according to American policymakers, the increasing worldwide competition for this commodity by countries with emerging economies (China, India, and others) and the our nation’s increasing dependence on foreign petroleum imports threaten our national security.
The centralized and geographically concentrated nature of our country’s power plants, refineries, pipelines, and other infrastructure leaves it vulnerable to everything from natural disasters to terrorist attacks. In many areas of the world, the U.S. diplomatic hand would be greatly strengthened if energy imports were going down rather than up.