‘Access to oil is the primary motive of the United States’ politics in the Middle East.’ Discuss this statement using historical evidence.
Historical evidence shows that US interest in the Middle East predates its dependence on oil. In the early 20th century, the US government became involved in the region’s politics to protect the interests of American missionaries, businessmen, and traders. For example, President Theodore Roosevelt brokered a deal between Russia and Japan to end the Russo-Japanese War in 1905, which earned him the Nobel Peace Prize.
During World War II, the US developed a strategic interest in the Middle East to protect the Suez Canal, a vital sh
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The US continued to support authoritarian regimes in the Middle East during the Cold War, but this was primarily driven by anti-communist sentiment rather than oil interests. In the 1970s, the US became more involved in the region’s politics due to the Arab-Israeli conflict and the oil embargo imposed by OPEC. The US sought to maintain access to Middle Eastern oil by building alliances with oil-producing states and supporting pro-US governments. However, this was not the only motive for US policy in the region. The US also sought to counter Soviet influence and promote stability and security in the region.
Today, while access to oil remains an important factor in US policy towards the Middle East, it is not the only one. The US also seeks to promote democracy, human rights, and regional stability in the face of threats such as terrorism and nuclear proliferation. Additionally, US policy towards the region is influenced by domestic politics, including pressure from interest groups, public opinion, and electoral considerations.
In conclusion, while access to oil has played a significant role in US foreign policy towards the Middle East, it is only one of many factors driving US policy in the region. Historical evidence shows that US involvement in the Middle East predates its dependence on oil and is motivated by a range of political, strategic, and ideological factors.