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Volume 11 SPRING/SUMMER 2004 Numbers 1/2



About the Contributors

Preface: Oil as a Weapon


Oil: Weapon of Mass Destruction
Marjorie Cohn
Thomas Jefferson School of Law
San Diego, California (USA)

The Failure of the Oil Weapon: Consumer Nationalism vs. Producer Symbolism
A.F. Alhajji
College of Business Administration
Ohio Northern University
Ada, Ohio (USA)

The U.S. in the Middle East: Oil as a Factor
Kenneth M. Cuno
Department of History
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Urbana, Illinois (USA)

An Annotated Refutation of President George W. Bush’s September 23rd Address Before the United Nations
Stephen Zunes
Department of Politics
University of San Francisco
San Francisco, California (USA)



James H. Austin, Chase, Chance, and Creativity: The Lucky Art of Novelty
Richard Isaacman

Robert H. Bork, Coercing Virtue: The Worldwide Rule of Judges
Pauline Kaurin

Michael Carter, Where Writing Begins: A Postmodern Reconstruction
Raphael Sassower

Cynthia B. Cohen and David H. Smith, eds. A Christian Response to the New Genetics: Religious, Ethical, and Social Issues
Rosamond Kilmer Spring

Maria Espinosa, Incognito: Journey of a Sacred Jew
Rosamond Kilmer Spring

Philip Fisher, Wonder, the Rainbow, and the Aesthetics of Rare Experiences
Art Spring

Richard C. Foltz, Frederick M. Denny, and Azizan Baharuddin, eds., Islam and Ecology: A Bestowed Trust
Art Spring

James N. Gartner, The New Scientific Theory of Evolution: Intelligent Life is the Architect of the Universe
Jeffrey W. Robbins

Daniel Gold, Aesthetics and Analysis in Writing on Religion: Modern Fascinations
Ingrid Shafer

Jürgen Habermas, Truth and Justification
Art Spring

Stephen Hagen, Buddhism Is Not What You Think: Finding Freedom Beyond Beliefs
Dan G. Deffenbaugh

Czeslaw Milosz, To Begin Where I Am: Selected Essays
Pedro Blas Gonzalez

Douglas Walton, Ethical Argumentation
Andrea Birch Croce


Anne Aghion, Gacaca, Living Together Again in Rwanda?
Dovilé Budryté

Paul Carlin, The Spectre of Hope, with Sebasti?o Salgado and John Berger
Art Spring

Martin Doblmeier, Bonhoeffer
Jeffrey W. Robbins

Tewfik Hakem, Al Jazeera: Voice of Arabia
Richard Isaacman

Stefan Haupt, Facing Death: Elizabeth Kübler-Ross
Ingrid Shafer

Oeke Hoogendijk, The Holocaust Experience
Raphael Sassower

Lou Petho, Ted’s Evolution
Richard Isaacman

Christopher Walker, Trinkets and Beads
Rosamond Kilmer Spring



The cover design for the SPRING/SUMMER 2004 issue of BRIDGES was created by Mr. Ty Bachus.

Abstracts of Current Issue

Oil: Weapon of Mass Destruction

Marjorie Cohn

The Bush Administration’s strategy is to maintain itself as sole remaining superpower in the world today. Energy imperialism is key to that goal. U.S. hegemony over Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and central Asia provides ready access to the oil in those regions and the land for pipelines through which to transport it. The United States’ bombings and regime changes in the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and Iraq all serve that objective. U.S.-led NATO bombing of the former Yugoslavia was justified as “humanitarian intervention” to stop “ethnic cleansing.” Actually, the bombing was aimed to exercise U.S. hegemony over Eastern Europe in order to stabilize the area for the construction of a pipeline to transport oil from the Caspian Sea. After September 11, 2001, the United States bombed Afghanistan and changed its governmental regime. Our country’s stated objective was to fight terrorism. “Operation Enduring Freedom” was really conducted to install a U.S.-friendly regime in Afghanistan in order to facilitate the construction of a Caspian oil pipeline. George W. Bush said he attacked Iraq and overthrew the government of Saddam Hussein to prevent Hussein’s proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The real motive behind “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” however, was and is control of Iraq’s petroleum resources and expanding the American empire.


The Failure of the Oil Weapon:
Consumer Nationalism vs. Producer Symbolism

A.F. Alhajji

The effectiveness of the use of oil as a political weapon is investigated. An historical overview of the 1956, 1967, and 1973 oil embargos is provided. Several political, economic, natural, and technical factors made the 1973 embargo unique. This combination of factors made the impact of the 1973 embargo appear much greater than it actually was and contributed to the misperception that the “oil weapon” was successful.

The “oil weapon” failed to coerce targeted nations into altering their policies toward Israel. Indeed, the condition of the Arab world has deteriorated significantly since the launch of the “oil weapon” in 1973. Nationalism in the consuming countries made it impossible for politicians to yield to Arab political demands. The Arab oil-producing countries were aware of the limitation of the oil weapon. They imposed the oil embargo principally for its symbolic value in domestic and international politics. They intended to influence domestic public opinion, disarm domestic political critics, and enhance their status in the Arab world.

The Producer Nationalism/Consumer Symbolism synthesis predicts that the Arab producing states will impose another embargo if they believe that its symbolic value is very high, but not to alter the target’s political behavior. The value of this symbolism increases if the leadership in some oil-producing states feel that they are in danger of losing control of their own countries if they do not react to U.S. and Israeli polices in the Middle East. Given the current turmoil in the Middle East and the level of anger among Arab people, the possibility of an oil embargo is still very high. The reasons that triggered the 1967 and 1973 oil embargoes still exist today. However, any embargo would lead to higher oil prices and may backfire by reducing oil revenues. While the possibility of an embargo is still very high, the threshold for imposing an embargo is much higher than it was in 1973.


The U.S. in the Middle East: Oil as a Factor

Kenneth M. Cuno

Operation Iraqi Freedom was not a war of “blood for oil” in the simple sense of the slogan because the United States already had access to Iraqi oil. Rather, in the view of policy makers Saddam Husayn posed an unacceptable threat to the future (if not present) stability of the Persian Gulf region and the wider Middle East. The Middle East accounts for about two-thirds of the world’s proven oil reserves and around one-fourth of current world oil production. The bedrock of American policy there has been to maintain a regular flow of oil exports at stable prices to the U.S. and the rest of the industrialized world. In pursuit of that goal the U.S. has successfully sought hegemony (the exclusion of outside, rival powers), and, less successfully, regional stability. The war to remove Saddam Husayn from power represents an unprecedented level of direct U.S. military involvement in the Middle East. However, the roots of that involvement can be traced to the United States’ replacement of Britain as the dominant power in the Middle East after the Second World War.

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