Oil and World Politics
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Oil and World Politics

The real story of today's conflict zones: Iraq, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Ukraine and more

By John Foster

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Petroleum is the most valuable commodity in the world and an enormous source of wealth for those who sell it, transport it and transform it for its many uses. As the engine of modern economies and industries, governments everywhere want to assure steady supplies. Without it, their economies would grind to a standstill.

Since petroleum is not evenly distributed around the world, powerful countries want to be sure they have access to supplies and markets, whatever the cost to the environment or to human life. Coveting the petroleum of another country is against the rules of international law — yet if accomplished surreptitiously, under the cover of some laudable action, it's a bonanza. This is the basis of "the petroleum game," where countries jockey for control of the world's oil and natural gas. It's an ongoing game of rivalry among global and regional countries, each pursuing its own interests and using whatever tools, allies and organizations offer possible advantage.

John Foster has spent his working life as an oil economist. He understands the underlying role played by oil and gas in international affairs. He identifies the hidden issues behind many of the conflicts in the world today. He explores military interventions (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria), tensions around international waterways (Persian Gulf, South China Sea), and use of sanctions or political interference related to petroleum trade (Iran, Russia, Venezuela). He illuminates the petroleum-related reasons for government actions usually camouflaged and rarely discussed publicly by Western politicians or media.

Petroleum geopolitics are complex. When clashes and conflicts occur, they are multi-dimensional. This book ferrets out pieces of the multi-faceted puzzle in the dark world of petroleum and fits them together.


List of Maps


Chapter 1 Petroleum and Geopolitics

Chapter 2 Iraq — A Quest for Control

Chapter 3 Syria — A Tale of Two Pipelines

Chapter 4 Iran — Out of the Cold?

Chapter 5 Libya — NATO Creates a Failed State

Chapter 6 Maritime Trade Routes and Conflict

Chapter 7 Afghanistan — The TAPI Pipeline

Chapter 8 Ukraine and Pipeline Rivalry — Two Narratives

Chapter 9 Economic Skirmishes and Pressures — Whose Oil Is It?

Chapter 10 The Petroleum Game — New Realities



Selected Bibliography


"Oil and World Politics is essential reading for anyone wanting not only a round-up, but also a behind-the-scenes exposé of the players and pundits in what Foster rightly calls the Petroleum Game. He outlines in fascinating and frightening detail the history, geography and culture behind the biggest game of Risk we'll ever play."

- Wayne Grady, author

"One point made in the first chapter of John Foster's riveting book immediately caught my eye — that when it comes to the geopolitics of oil and gas, members of NATO "sing from the same hymn sheet". I saw this up close in my 15 years of work developing training exercises for senior NATO commanders. Ostensibly a "peace support" or "stabilization" operation, there was always an energy component to "defend". But this vital driver of so many of the world's conflicts, and in particular, of western military interventions, is rarely if ever part of our public discourse. John Foster's invaluable book changes all that. This is a must-read for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of global conflict and its potential resolution."

- Peggy Mason, President of the Rideau Institute

It's not the first time someone has examined the role of black gold in world affairs, but Canadian energy economist John Foster does so in clear, engaging language, drawing on his own considerable global experience, to shine light on some key conflicts — Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Afghanistan and Ukraine — using the lens of oil.

- Diplomat and International Magazine

"A key text for understanding of oil and global politics."

- Canadian Military History

John Foster has chosen to take one mighty big bull by its globe-encircling horns ... Foster has written a book that draws road maps of why American and European oil companies would benefit from managed political outcomes.

- Jim Scott Esprit de Corps

JOHN FOSTER is an energy economist who has worked for 40 years in policy and economic issues relating to infrastructure and petroleum. While working at the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, Petro-Canada and BP group, he witnessed first-hand the impact petroleum geopolitics in more than 30 countries around the world. Today he gives talks on petroleum rivalries and conflicts at universities and trade union and public meetings across Canada. He is the author of the research paper A Pipeline Through a Troubled Land, published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and contributor to the book Afghanistan and Canada: Is there an Alternative to War? He lives in Kingston, Ontario.

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Publication Details:

Binding: Paperback, 280 pages
Publication Date: 25th September 2018
ISBN: 9781459413443
Format: 9in x 6in
maps, 10 b&w images

Binding: Electronic book text, 280 pages
Publication Date: 2nd October 2018
ISBN: 9781459413450
Format: EPUB
maps, 10 b&w images

BISAC Code:  BUS070040, BUS079000, POL011000, POL062000, POL068000
Imprint: Lorimer


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