Aiding in Oil Production or Funding Terrorism
Rose State College
The goal is for this essay is to develop an area of inquiry, pursue that inquiry to identify a problem to be solved that will be of significance to the student and a larger audience, and then go through the steps needed to create an argument that attempts to solve the problem by finding common ground. This must include adding a global perspective in the research conducted. This essay is over America’s decision to be oil independent or remain active in internal oil production.
International Trading or Funding Terrorism
What do a shoe, a road, and jet fuel have in common? They all are biproducts of crude oil. One of the most prevalent issues facing the world today is the production-to-use ratio of oil. America has been receiving oil from the Middle East for decades. The question is if America should refine its own oil or continue the process already set up. Oil manufacturing is an important issue today, mainly due to the high demand for transportation uses. It is an important topic because the United States has resources that are not being used efficiently that could bring income into the country. On the other hand, America has established bases in the Middle East for refining oil and shipping it across the ocean. The areas with United States presence are safer for civilians to live. This problem needs a solution for the growth of the United States and ultimately the rest of the world. As a global leader, the United States has accepted a role in international affairs to assist other countries, but they also must keep in mind the importance of the American economy’s influence of the world. This issue effects the Middle East, America, and other countries that use oil in their daily lives.
America Continuing its Presence Middle East
Safety for Civilians
Supporters believe that America needs to keep receiving oil from the Middle East. The United States has an obligation to assist other countries. As a world leader, America is expected not only to send supplies, but to protect and help jump-start economies. When another country is in distress, they call on America for help. Foreign aid is an important aspect to international affairs. In the Middle East, America sends supplies to civilians under harsh regime settings. The regime poses a threat to the citizens, nearby countries, and the hostile nature of regime is a threat to the rest of the world. The United States, in addition to supplies, deploys soldiers to the Middle East. 8308311400The areas with United States presence are less violent because of the stability from the United States military. 8627292753227Figure 1 Women holding sign protesting the regime
Figure 1 Women holding sign protesting the regime
Figure 1 shows the need for safety in the Middle East. These people are struggling because of protests against their government. The women in particular are holding a sign calling for help. The regime is a radical group which the locals are not able to compete with. They either join or are demoralized by the regime. The local people alone do not have the abilities to stand against it alone, but with American help they can provide for their families with a sense of security. This image has a strong emotional appeal with the harsh language of the sign being held by women who are already considered lower than men in their society. In the background the buildings are dirty giving the sense of poor living conditions. America being in the Middle East stabilizing the regions can provide a safer life for the people.
America has established military bases overseas to connect a worldwide system for multiple purposes. A major benefit of this is military control. America’s military provides defense to several of the Middle Eastern oil-producing nations against Iran and Iraq. Chief Operating Officer of the non-profit Lexington Institute and Chief Executive Officer of Source Associates clarify that the countries’ incomes are based on oil revenues, but “none of these countries except Saudi Arabia has the wherewithal to defend itself against military pressure from Iran if America leaves the stage” (Thompson, 2012). Several countries would be left vulnerable without the United States’ presence. Iraq has attempted to assert its dominance on nearby states to obtain their oil resources and will go as far as to invading these countries to take control on the oil production for money. Israel is protected from the United States army being in the Middle East. The countries that produce oil are being protected by the same United States armed forces that protect Israel from Islamic radical groups making it nearly impossible to secure Israel without having a large military presence in the Middle East. The religious conflicts are an issue in the Middle East between Islamic and Jewish believers. Many wars have been due to differences in religion in the Middle East over the control of the “Holy Land” in Israel. America’s presence helps control the problems and resist the violent nature of the issue.
Oil in the Middle East is abundant. With the United States advancements in technology accessing that oil is easier and faster. The oil field, like in America, provides jobs for citizens in the Middle East. Those people without the production of oil would have the choice of living in poverty or joining the regime to provide for their family. Economically there are opportunities for the United States in the Middle East. The Middle Eastern region possesses the potential for large amounts of exports with its available, but not efficiently used market. This change to competing into the global oil market can improve the economy, allowing citizens the ability to earn more money to provide for their families. Opening the market with free trade agreements gives lower tariffs when trading with the United States, in particular, allowing the United States to lprofit from assisting in the oil production. The Washington Institute which specializes in United States and Middle Eastern policies explains the free trade agreements the United States are working to make with several oil producing countries as “comprehensive and state-of-the-art” therefore countries find a positive result from using them for their economy (Zoellick, 2003). They can be an economic organization tool covering procedures, intellectual property rights, and other necessities. These agreements are helpful for both the importer and exporter because they lay out a clear set of guidelines for the transport of products. America’s involvement has provided jobs for civilians in the Middle East. By accepting the free trade agreements with the United States, the “Jordanian government estimates…30,000 new jobs in Jordan” alone were created from 1999 to 2003 (Zoellick, 2003). The United States’ presence in the Middle East is beneficial for both, the countries inhabiting United States military and for the United States itself.
America Becoming Oil Independent
Opponents believe the United States needs to become self- sufficient. America relying on itself to provide for its own people supplies jobs, builds the economy, and brings home soldiers. Figure 2, the United States using scissors to cut off a gas line from the Middle East, supports America becoming oil independent. America, for decades, has relied on other countries, especially the Middle East because of their large oil reserves. The fact that the only colors in the picture are red white and blue on the hand cutting the gas line is significant because it represents America as a whole freeing itself from the Middle East dependence. Independence Day in America is celebrated every year for separating from the tyranny of England, and using the same saying compares the two instances that when America becomes oil independent from the unstable Middle East, it will be a day that is remembered for years to come. It emphasizes the 1400175000importance of cutting ties with countries that hinder America’s growth. This image has a strong patriotism appeal. The need for America to be self-reliant gives a 15430503303905Figure 2 America cutting oil line from Middle East
Figure 2 America cutting oil line from Middle East
sense of pride and nationalism instead of relying on other problematic countries for supplies.
September 11, 2001 changed the American society forever. After the attacks, war began with the Middle East. An aggressive movement uniting all Americans drove the demand for a response to the violence that took American lives. Also, the United States has learned from the attack and maximized defenses on foreign and security policies. One example of this is in the airports, security checks all the belongings and metal detectors are a requirement for not only people but also their baggage. World Economic Forum writer Stephanie Thomson writes that since September eleventh, Muslims in American face “harassment, bullying and aggression” from United States citizens still in fear and anger from the attack (Thomson, 2016). The acceptance of Muslims in America has decreased and there is a rise of discrimination against them. Now, seventeen years later, is the question of does America still need to be as active in the Middle East? Leaving the Middle East, staying out of the wars, has been found harder than the United States originally predicted. The terrorism has not gone away, but America can reduce its intervention with terrorist lead countries, which happen to be oil rich. Most of the Middle Eastern countries profit from oil reserves and the export of oil. Therefore, if America starts to decrease its reliance on them, they lose money and power. The oil field already supplies Americans jobs. By becoming self-sufficient on oil more jobs will be available which in turn can decrease the unemployment rate. As the United States starts to disappear from the Middle East the soldiers that are there can return home to their families. Most of the terrorism today has turned to cyberattacks, attacking the power and energy systems. These threats still strike fear into the hearts of American citizens because the reality is terrorists have more capabilities than ever before. Now known as the “Global War of Terror” America is not the only country involved in battling the radical groups, as a result America can decrease the number of soldiers deployed to the Middle East. Andrew Bacevich, author of United States military history and foreign policy book, stated the United States has “spilled a lot of blood, spent trillions of dollars, and have achieved next to nothing” in fighting the wars in the Middle East (Stockwell, 2017). America has reached its limit on helping the Middle East and needs to separate itself before any more resources are used.
Building the Economy and Using the Resources Available
America’s oil and natural gas industry has grown. Oil is used mostly for transportation in the United States. Robert Fares, who works for the U.S. Department of Energy states that oil’s main use is transportation but is also used as a “raw material to manufacture plastics” (2016). The amount of oil needed in the United States can be matched by the oil produced in the United States without the help from outside countries. Taking advantage of the resources America has naturally the oil demand can be met. The portion of energy America is independent include natural gas and coal, but the transportation system which relies on oil is still dependent on foreign countries. For the most part, America is energy independent. Oil is decreasing in demand because of the increased use of other energy sources therefore allowing America the ability to produce the amount of oil needed to sustain life.
Cutting Ties with Countries the Hinder America’s Growth
The Middle East countries are unstable. Continuing to take part in Middle Eastern affairs permits the corrupt nature to influence the United States. A driving factor of America’s want to become energy independent started with the “1973 Arab oil embargo, which led to skyrocketing oil prices” because of the global control Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) had over the oil market (Fares, 2016). The unstable Middle East having control over the oil price is not good for the global oil market. When a country is involved in a war or down economically the prices will rise rapidly. The continual war and unstable governments the Middle East have will not allow the high price of oil to go back down. Since America’s urge to separate from the Middle Eastern oil company and start to produce its own, OPEC has had less effect on the universal oil market. The strength of the United States and developments in technology compared to other countries is more efficient and allows America to be ahead of the Middle East. Arab leaders have specifically targeted the United States for their attacks. Director of the Center for Energy, Natural Resources and Geopolitics (CENRG), Ariel Cohen, states that Arab terrorist leaders, including Osama bin Laden, had repeatedly ordered “the mujahideen to concentrate their attacks on Muslims’ stolen oil” which includes the United States (2006). The basis behind terrorist attacks is the radical Islamist that believe America has stolen what is rightfully theirs given by God. A major current issue in America is with Syria. The Syrian refugees the United States has allowed to come into the country has become a large controversial topic. The fighting the refugees were trying to escape from has developed into a war between Syria and the United States, but as Ishaan Tharoor states, “the geopolitical complexity of the conflict has led to strategic paralysis” leaving the diplomatic decision making difficult in how to engage the issue (2015). America’s involvement has cost time, money, and lives. The United States has to protect itself and its citizens from threats both politically and economically. Cohen proclaims America “must reduce its dependence on Middle Eastern oil as quickly and efficiently as possible” (2006). For safety and economic reasons, it is in America’s best interest to become oil independent from the Middle East.
Need of Oil
Both sides of this argument agree that oil is an important aspect of daily life and the economy. Oil is a major import and export for several countries. Based on the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s report the United States alone in the last year “imported approximately 10.1 million barrels per day” of petroleum products such as gasoline and diesel fuel, and biofuels (Petroleum United States imports and exports, 2018). Of that import, 79% was crude oil. Both views understand oil is the most needed and used import in the world. America relies on oil for several uses, the main being its transportation system. Crude oil accounts for gasoline and diesel which allow cars, trains, air planes, and boats to travel and ship products. Due to the global demand of oil, both sides can agree on the need to create an increase of oil production and manufacturing.
Duty as A World Leader
America is a world leader. With that title, the United States is expected to have some sort of foreign aid. The issue is how far does America need to involve itself in other countries’ problems. When America aids other countries’ the problems the problems become the United States. The United States has problems of its own that need to be taken care of first to be able to adequately help foreign countries. Where is the line that states the United States has done enough if there is one? America aids in the solution of problems but does not know when to stop, making the other countries’ problems its own. America can produce more oil to be effective, which both sides agree on.
To fix the problem of oil production America should take advantage of its oil resources and depend less on the chaotic Middle East but continue being active for networking and security reasons. This solution produces jobs for Americans. Starting to access and manufacture oil that is found in the United States Maximizing the United States resources is the goal of this solution while keeping a presence around the world. This compromise proposes that America does lessen its foreign aid, without completely cutting off countries in need. The United States should keep a few bases in key trading ports and strategic military locations, for example the Persian Gulf and Israel. With fewer bases less soldiers are needed to go over to the Middle East allowing them to be home with their families. America needs to use its resources efficiently to grow independently, but also as a world leader it should aid other countries and continue internationally trading.
Cohen, A. (2006). Reducing U.S. Dependence on Middle Eastern Oil. The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.heritage.org/defense/report/reducing-us-dependence-middle-eastern-oil
Fares, R. (2016). Is the U.S. Energy Independent?. Scientific America. Retrieved from https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/plugged-in/is-the-u-s-energy-independent/
How much petroleum does the United States import and export? (2018). U.S. Energy Information Administration. Retrieved from https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=727&t=6
Stockwell, N. (2017). Disaster Area: U.S. Policy in the Middle East. Progressive, 81(2), 37-39. Retrieved from http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.rose.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=7&sid=10edbe56-3dc6-47b2-a79b-130976bb442a%40sessionmgr4010
Tharoor, I. (2015). 7 Middle East crises that are a bigger problem than Iran’s nuclear program. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/09/09/7-middle-east-crises-that-are-a-bigger-problem-than-irans-nuclear-program/?utm_term=.0c98bae7737a
Thompson, L. (2012). What Happens When America No Longer Needs Middle East Oil?. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthompson/2012/12/03/what-happens-when-america-no-longer-needs-middle-east-oil/#73ad09d73a77
Thomson, S. (2016). 15 years after 9/11, this is how the US has changed. World Economic Forum. Retrieved from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/09/15-years-after-9-11-how-has-the-us-changed/
Zoellick, R. (2002). U.S. Trade with the Middle East. The Washington Institute. Retrieved February 28, 2018, from http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/u.s.-trade-with-the-middle-east-opportunities-and-challenges