The End of the Counterrevolution?

The Politics of Economic Adjustment in Kuwait

by Yahya Sadowski
published in MER204

Over the last 50 years, a massive infusion of petrodollars enabled the new monarchies of the Gulf to engage in impressive experiments in counterrevolution. During the 1970s, King Faysal of Saudi Arabia attempted to preserve the traditional social hierarchy of his country by modernizing without industrializing. A decade earlier, the Shah of Iran staged a preemptive strike against demands for change by launching his own “white revolution.” Yet the most successful counterrevolution in the Gulf was the massive and successful program of the Sabah dynasty in Kuwait to preserve its power by building the region’s first modern welfare state.

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Oil, Gas and the Future of Arab Gulf Countries

by Fareed Mohamedi
published in MER204

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Oil and the Middle East

The End of US Hegemony?

by Simon Bromley
published in MER208

The contemporary international political economy of oil presents a puzzle: political instability in regions where oil is found coexists with steadily falling prices. This combination of continuing political conflict and uncertainty in the Middle East (particularly the Gulf), and the continuing slide in the real price of crude oil encourages consideration of relations between world oil markets, Middle East politics and the international role of the United States. To comprehend these relations, one must consider both the political and geopolitical objectives of the states involved and the economic motivations of the key actors in the international oil industry.

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The Containment Myth

US Middle East Policy in Theory and Practice

by Stephen Hubbell
published in MER208

Among those who direct American foreign policy, there is near unanimity that the collapse of communism represents a kind of zero hour. The end of the Cold War so transformed the geopolitical landscape as to render the present era historically discontinuous from the epoch that preceded it. Policy makers contend that America’s mission abroad has had to change to keep pace with these new circumstances.

The Push for Petro in the Twenty-First Century

by Chris Toensing | published January 20, 2011

With another interminable presidential campaign approaching, Americans grit their teeth as the aspirants to the White House take turns deploring the country’s dependence on foreign (particularly “Middle Eastern”) oil. It is a theme as old as disco and the pet rock -- vapid and dull, yet forever capable of arousing popular scorn. On the one hand, every president since Jimmy Carter has set the goal of ridding the United States of this scourge, but to no avail, for American consumption of imported petroleum inexorably climbs. On the other hand, volatile gasoline prices, climate change and the specter of terrorism enhance the urgency of finding an alternative, if not to oil, then at least to oil of Middle Eastern provenance.

Scandals of Oil for Food

by Joy Gordon | published July 19, 2004

Rep. Ralph Hall opened a set of Congressional hearings on July 8 with a dramatic flourish, denouncing "the deaths of thousands of Iraqis through malnutrition and lack of appropriate medical supplies." "We have a name for that in the United States," the Texas Republican told a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. "It's called murder."

The Iraqi Klondike

Oil and Regional Trade

by Raad Alkadiri
published in MER220

The Decline (But Not Fall) of US Hegemony in the Middle East

by Yahya Sadowski , Fareed Mohamedi
published in MER220

Americans who voted for “compassionate conservatism” in the November 2000 presidential election have been disappointed. George W. Bush has proven to be much more radical than his moderate campaign rhetoric implied. In the area of environmental policy, Bush’s moves to lift regulations on pollutants, promote the use of nuclear power and “clean coal” and encourage oil exploration off the coast of Florida and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge have triggered opposition even on the right. Where Ronald Reagan sought to overturn the social policies of Franklin Roosevelt, George W. seems to seek an even wider reversal of the health and labor regulations instituted by Theodore Roosevelt.

From the Editor

published in MER220

Upon its installment in the White House, the second Bush administration was universally expected to be the loyal handmaiden of Big Oil. The US oil and gas industry lavished $1,387,975 upon the hastily assembled committee which planned the inaugural festivities for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. BP-Amoco contributed $100,000, and executives from Conoco, Chevron and Exxon Mobil ponied up the same amount. In all, Big Oil gave $26 million to Bush, Cheney and their fellow Republicans in the 2000 election campaign.