Rosemary A. Kelanic’s, Black Gold and Blackmail: Oil and Great Power Politics and Emily Meierding’s, The Oil Wars Myth: Petroleum and the Causes of International Conflict are deeply engaging and important books that advance our knowledge on the politics of energy security.[1] Both books challenge many existing assumptions on the role of oil in international conflict and power projection.  In Black Gold and Blackmail, Kelanic focuses on the energy security strategies of great powers and explains how those powers secure oil supplies during war.  Specifically, based on a meticulous “observation of great power oil policies since World War I,” Kelanic identifies three “anticipatory strategies,” mainly “self-sufficiency, indirect control, and direct control” to avert attempts at “oil coercion” (3).  In The Oil Wars Myth, Meierding argues that the idea of “wars over oil” is a myth and demonstrates why and how it is important to revisit existing claims about the relationship between the value of oil and the initiation of wars.[2] Specifically, Meierding outlines “four sets of impediments,” which she refers to as “invasion, occupation, international, and investment obstacles” to explain why states refrain from launching conflicts to grab petroleum resources (5).[3]

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