It has long been acknowledged that in America the car is king. However, America's car-orientated and car-dependent lifestyle goes beyond the culture of fast cars and freeways. In Addicted to Oil, Ian Rutledge explores the political, economic and social ramifications of the motorisation of the US economy. He argues that America's dependence on the car has created a lifestyle leading to oil needs which have heavily influenced US foreign policy in the modern era.
Rutledge traces the origins of America's addiction throughout the twentieth century and explains how America's relations with the Middle East were developed through its quest for energy security. America's motorisation and its consequent demand for oil at predictable market prices was and continues to be an important influence on US policy towards Iraq – especially given the uncertainties relating to what has so far been the securest source of Middle East oil – Saudi Arabia.
Ian Rutledge argues that the war in Iraq was neither a war for 'freedom' or 'democracy' nor was it a plot to 'steal Iraq's oil', but rather an attempt to establish a pliant and dependable oil protectorate in the Middle East which would underwrite the soaring demand from America's hyper-motorised consumers. Addicted to Oil is the first book to undertake an in-depth analysis of the motorisation of US society which explicitly links it to America's foreign policy adventures, past and present. Addicted to Oil is essential reading for an understanding of America's international political priorities and its fraught relations with the Middle East.
"Addicted to Oil provides a sweeping account of the forces, policies, and personalities that drive America's unending pursuit of foreign petroleum. Ian Rutledge has done a superb job of recounting the evolution of U.S. oil dominance in the Persian Gulf and the events leading up to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. Highly recommended for those seeking a keener understanding of the geopolitical underpinnings of American foreign policy."
– Michael Klare, Professor of Peace and World Security Studies, Hampshire College, Amherst, Massachusetts, and the author of Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America's Growing Dependency on Imported Petroleum
"This is an interesting study of the crucial role which the motorisation of the US economy has played in shaping America's approach to energy and foreign policy issues."
– Asian Affairs
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Ian Rutledge is an energy economist and an energy business consultant. He has also lectured at Sheffield University and has published widely on world oil and gas markets, petroleum taxation and oil and gas company corporate strategy.