The Fading Arab Oil Empire

Major developments in the oil sector are decisively undermining the once-defining role of the Middle East in the global energy market. The region’s potency in global affairs is on the wane, making Obama’s pivot to East Asia well-timed.

Issue: July-Aug 2012

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S pivot to East Asia is well-timed. The geostrategic importance of the Middle East is vastly overblown. The region matters to the United States chiefly because of its influence in the world oil market, but that influence has been in terminal decline for a generation, a fact almost wholly unnoticed by outside observers. A confluence of developments—including rising prices and production costs, declining reserves, and the availability of alternate fuels and unconventional sources of oil—will decisively undermine the defining role of the Middle East in the global energy market. Meanwhile, the United States has vital interests at stake elsewhere in the world at least as pressing, if not more so, than its interests in the Middle East.

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