From Pres. Bush's worry about America's "addiction to oil" to the debate surrounding alternative fuels, the U.S.'s alleged vulnerability to foreign oil producers is a major part of the national security debate. Yet, a policy analysis from the Cato Institute, Washington, D.C., claims to shed light on the true nature of the oil market and dispel the falsehoods underpinning current American foreign policy.
In "Energy Alarmism: The Myth That Make Americans Worry about Oil," Eugene Gholz (assistant professor of public affairs, University of Texas, Austin) and Daryl G. Press (associate professor of government, Dartmouth University, Hanover, N.H.) argue that fears about the U.S.'s "energy security" are overblown. They acknowledge that the oil market is complex and subject to internal and external disruptions, but stress that, above all, "market forces, modified by the cartel behavior of OPEC, determine most of the key factors that affect oil supply and prices."
Without a doubt, global demand for oil is growing, and will continue to increase. However, oil supplies are not as endangered as they seem-weakening arguments that military action or democracy promotion is needed to secure America's "oil interests."
"Peak oil" theorists have cautioned--erroneously--for decades that world oil reserves are dwindling, but due to improved technology and the rise in oil prices, reserves that once were too difficult or costly to tap have become...