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The Oil Wars MythPetroleum and the Causes of International Conflict$
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Emily Meierding

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501748288

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501748288.001.0001

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Why Classic Oil Wars Do Not Pay

Why Classic Oil Wars Do Not Pay

(p.40) 3 Why Classic Oil Wars Do Not Pay
The Oil Wars Myth

Emily Meierding

Cornell University Press

This chapter challenges a key assumption underpinning classic oil war claims. It argues that, although oil war believers correctly observe that petroleum is extremely valuable, they make a mistake in jumping to the conclusion that fighting for oil pays. It also describes four sets of impediments to seizing and exploiting foreign oil resources, all of which reduce the petroleum payoffs of classic oil wars: invasion, occupation, international, and investment obstacles. The chapter analyzes the intensity of each of the four obstacles that varies temporally and geographically. It discusses the petroleum payoffs of international aggression that are far lower than classic oil war believers have assumed even under favorable conditions. It also points out how states are likely to avoid fighting for petroleum resources.

Keywords:   oil wars, invasion, occupation, international obstacles, investment obstacles, international aggression, petroleum resources, foreign oil resources

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