Oil as a weapon of the 21st century: energy security and the U.S. pivot to Asia-Pacific
English, Jay C.
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This thesis examines the U.S. pivot to Asia to determine whether energy security issues are likely to complicate relations and/or lead to friction between the United States and China in the twenty-first century. Drawing on case studies in which energy issues directly and indirectly drive states’ decisions to use military force to secure access to energy resources, or leverage access to resources as a means of coercive diplomacy, this research projects how similar scenarios may develop in the twenty-first century. The analysis also supports the notion that mutual interests in access to Middle Eastern energy resources and centrality of the Sea Lanes of Communication (SLOCs) in its transport could result in cooperative security arrangements in the absence of preferential access to any country. Conflict could potentially result from territorial disputes involving U.S. collective defense treaty allies. For this reason, it is recommended that the United States pursue a diplomatic solution to territorial disputes and avoid policies that limit China’s access to the SLOCs.
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