Baldwin, Hanson W.
July 1957
Foreign Affairs;Jul1957, Vol. 35 Issue 4, p655
The article analyzes various strategies made by the Middle East to safeguard its oil deposits. The Middle East oil fields, stretching in a great arc from Iran and Iraq around the Persian Gulf, comprise collectively the largest known petroleum deposits, approximating about two-thirds of the oil reserve of the free world. Access to this oil and use of it at reasonable prices cannot be termed vital to the United States. Western Hemisphere sources can supply United States needs, though costs would undoubtedly increase if the West were denied Middle East oil. For limited periods even Western Europe can get along without the black gold of Kuwait, Bahrain, Iran and Iraq. This was demonstrated during the past winter when alternative sources of supply and new routes were utilized. The Suez Canal was closed intermittently during the World War II and would probably be closed during any future war. NATO's strategic planning cannot count upon use of Middle Eastern oil in another war and Western Europe- with United States help can probably fight without it. During limited periods of emergency the Western world can live without Middle East oil, and this fact is perhaps the strongest answer to political blackmail from any quarter.


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