The Skeptics

Does the U.S. Military Actually Protect Middle East Oil?

The United States should gradually withdraw its forward deployed military forces from the Persian Gulf region. America’s carrier-based airpower and long-range bombers, along with prepositioned equipment in Europe or Diego Garcia, should be sufficient to enable rapid deployment in unlikely contingencies. We should work with allied Gulf states to further develop pipelines that can bypass the Strait of Hormuz in the event of a crisis and also to reassure markets of sufficient backup supply routes should any conflict erupt. Finally, the United States should negotiate with Russia, China and India to develop mutually beneficial norms of behavior to ensure that no external power tries to control the region’s energy resources for its exclusive advantage and also to encourage burden-sharing in a region whose resources are consumed increasingly by China and India, and decreasingly by the United States.

John Glaser is Associate Director of Foreign Policy Studies at the Cato Institute.

Image: Aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower transits the Strait of Hormuz. Flickr/U.S. Navy