Oil as an ‘Economic wealth’ or ‘Economic Curse’


Oil as an economic wealth helps a country to develop all spheres of strength particularly socio-economic, political, and cultural infrastructure within states. Similarly, economic stability and strength also help to enhance a military power of a state. To achieve these goals, only sincere and strong administrative hands can play a significant role in maintaining stability. Unfortunately, the countries with large oil and energy resources lack in developing these characteristics in their countries despite having natural resources. The authoritarian governments in the region failed to handle the issues at home as well as to formulate strong foreign policies. These countries did not find that space to develop like democratic countries. The unaccepted Jewish state made a region more restive for the natives and so the US and its Western allies jumped into the oil politics and so exploited the natural resources of the region, especially after 9/11. The Petro-politics dates to the OAPEC crises of the 1970s and is still now the weapon to pressurize the impact of policies. The age of globalization demands more economic strength in the industrial sector due to economic competition. After the 9/11 events, the World experienced new economic and political challenges. The industrialized countries changed their policies according to the will of the US. Oil as an economic wealth provides more economic power to the industrialized countries, but not to oil-producing countries. Authoritarian governments in oil-producing countries get more revenue from petroleum exports but could not establish an effective industrial infrastructure. The world’s second-largest oil resource in Iraq made Saddam Hussein strong in the region. Similarly, Saudi Arabia has huge oil resources which makes it economically strong. Inversely, authoritarian governments have been suffering from civil war phenomena since 1989. According to an estimate from 1989 to 2006, the world experienced 122 armed conflicts, of which 115 were civil wars and 7 were international wars. In the year 2009, 36 civil wars were recorded around the World due to oil politics. Thus, economic wealth proves as an economic curse for the countries that own oil resources. The centrality of civil wars was North Africa and the Middle East. The influential policies of the US and Western lobbies destroyed MENA unity just for the oil resources. Lust for oil by the industrial democracies and civil wars in MENA severely rotten the world’s environment. Military campaigns from the US and its allies after 9/11 perished the world’s peace. In the 21st century oil proved as a curse for non-oil producing countries rather than an ‘economic wealth’ or ‘economic weapon’. Oil politics enters the age of market competition where this commodity is considered a guaranty of prosperity and power of a country. The rapid growth of industrial and market competition requires more energy resources. In the 21st century, economic relations among relations escalated in terms of bilateral trade agreements. The rise of economic powers creates threats to the hegemonic state, the US. Historically, the cold war rivals Russia and the US engaged in economic, and military might. The US with the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, and others established new trade relations after the 9/11 event. Similarly, Russia established strong relations with China and other countries. Change in the economic and foreign policy of the US proves that it wants to compete with China and Russia economically and politically. It was seen in the past when Japan and several other West-European states switched their pro-US policies to Pro-Arab policies during the Arab oil embargo in 1973. In the contemporary era, economics might determine state relations and other systemic factors including foreign policy. The rise of China as a strong economic power threatens the prestige of the US. On the contrary, in the Middle East civil wars, insurgencies, separatist movements, terrorism, violation of state’s sovereignty, and genocides of the citizen in their countries are the phenomena of the oil politics in the context of ‘war on terror’. Nevertheless, market competition is continued with its great intensity among nations. Every country is trying to gain modern industry and technology for its economic strength. On the other hand, major oil-producing countries like Iraq, Libya, Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, and several states have been suffering from political, economic, and social unrest in their countries due to foreign intervention. The currency decline in 2001 and the Iraq war in 2003 made the US change its economic policies toward the Middle East. Here in this scenario, the Western allies of America provided support to the superpower to relatively attain their interests as well. In the 21st century economic competition compels states to escalate their economic realm. To meet this requirement major economic countries, start to explore new resources. To run the industry, they require oil products. The economic interests of the major powers are attached with oil-producing countries. Industrial expansion and growing market competition in the 21st century generated more lust for natural resources among major powers.

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