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Black Gold and Blackmail: The Politics of International Oil Coercion

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Abstract:

Can nations coerce adversaries by threatening their access to oil? When is oil coercion most likely to compel a target state to change its policies? I argue that oil coercion affords great potential leverage over states, not because of oil’s economic importance as many assume, but because of the devastating effect cutoffs can have on the target’s military power. I hypothesize three variables that determine how vulnerable a state is to oil coercion: the percent of total oil imported, the number of supply sources it has, and the number of oil transportation routes. However, I expect potentially vulnerable states, acting strategically, to recognize the danger of oil cutoff and take anticipatory measures to avert it, including preventive war. I expect to see few cases of successful oil coercion, because preventive conflict breaks out before coercive threats are made, particularly in those cases where states are most vulnerable to cutoff and thus coercion is most likely to be effective. Selection effects will therefore bias the historical record against cases of success. The paper examines empirical evidence from a number of cases, including an in-depth look at how oil factored into Japan’s surrender in WWII. It concludes by examining the key implication of my theory: that the fear of oil cutoff can sometimes spur states into preventive wars.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

oil (255), war (109), pp (93), state (89), japanes (82), japan (68), secur (65), energi (63), coercion (61), p (53), polit (52), new (51), press (50), militari (50), would (47), vol (46), intern (46), power (44), econom (42), suppli (39), kelan (39),

Author's Keywords:

Oil, coercion, energy security, interdependence, resource conflict
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Name: Midwest Political Science Association 67th Annual National Conference
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http://www.indiana.edu/~mpsa/


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MLA Citation:

Kelanic, Rosemary. "Black Gold and Blackmail: The Politics of International Oil Coercion" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association 67th Annual National Conference, The Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, IL, Apr 02, 2009 <Not Available>. 2014-11-29 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p364356_index.html>

APA Citation:

Kelanic, R. , 2009-04-02 "Black Gold and Blackmail: The Politics of International Oil Coercion" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association 67th Annual National Conference, The Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, IL Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2014-11-29 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p364356_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Can nations coerce adversaries by threatening their access to oil? When is oil coercion most likely to compel a target state to change its policies? I argue that oil coercion affords great potential leverage over states, not because of oil’s economic importance as many assume, but because of the devastating effect cutoffs can have on the target’s military power. I hypothesize three variables that determine how vulnerable a state is to oil coercion: the percent of total oil imported, the number of supply sources it has, and the number of oil transportation routes. However, I expect potentially vulnerable states, acting strategically, to recognize the danger of oil cutoff and take anticipatory measures to avert it, including preventive war. I expect to see few cases of successful oil coercion, because preventive conflict breaks out before coercive threats are made, particularly in those cases where states are most vulnerable to cutoff and thus coercion is most likely to be effective. Selection effects will therefore bias the historical record against cases of success. The paper examines empirical evidence from a number of cases, including an in-depth look at how oil factored into Japan’s surrender in WWII. It concludes by examining the key implication of my theory: that the fear of oil cutoff can sometimes spur states into preventive wars.


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