Washington, March 27 : An expert on international security and energy has said that military action taken to influence oil-producing nations has been proven largely ineffective.
The expert is Clifford Singer, a professor of nuclear engineering and of political science at the University of Illinois, who has done extensive work on energy systems for the U.S. Department of Energy.
According to him, trying to influence oil supply with military force in the Middle East is not only ineffective, it also is counterproductive.
Singer's latest analyses show that despite the deep-seated perception that oil-producing regions retain a special strategic importance, with strong effects on U.S. defense planning and strategy, "The time has already passed when oil was strategically important enough to require individual industrialized nations to be prepared to intervene militarily in oil-producing regions."
Singer explains his findings in a policy analysis brief he recently published for the Stanley Foundation, titled "Oil and Security." The brief was based on research Singer conducted for his forthcoming book titled "Energy and International War: From Babylon to Baghdad and Beyond."
The works in question address the widespread belief that the U.S. needs to maintain military capability to intervene unilaterally in the Middle East, "because the oil in that region makes it strategically important."
According to Singer, "This idea persists even though the invasion of Iraq resulted in reduced oil production and higher oil prices for many years."
Oil prices also increased dramatically when the United States intervened to tip the balance in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. Oil prices remained even higher while the United States helped Iraq prolong the Iran-Iraq War.
"It is fortunate that oil has long since stopped being strategically important to the NATO alliance, since U.S. intervention in Middle East conflicts has evidently had the opposite of any desired effect on oil prices," said Singer.
By 2003, the U.S. ratio of use of oil to GDP was half of what it was in the 1970s, and the GDPs of the United States and other major oil importers "have continued to grow despite a recurrence of high oil prices."