Should We Stay or Should We Go: The Shale Revolution and American Involvement in the Middle East

Campbell-Mohn, Emma; Kragie, Andrew; Leonhardt, Ted; Raghuraman, Anand; Singh, Jason

Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2006, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice once railed against the United States’ addiction to foreign oil: “We have to do something about the energy problem. I can tell you that nothing has really taken me aback more… than the way that the politics of energy is… ‘warping’ diplomacy around the world.” Such statements are nothing new. Indeed, every president since Richard Nixon has labeled America’s overreliance on foreign oil as a strategic liability and promised to put America on the path towards energy independence. Unfortunately, the history of presidential energy security policy is riddled with failure. Despite several presidential initiatives, American imports of crude oil rose steadily from 1.93 billion barrels in 1970 to a peak of 3.69 billion in 2005.2 A 2011 CBS News story summarized the trend with the damning headline: “Fuelish Dreams: Every President Tries to Break U.S. Oil Addiction; Every President Fails.”
Today, however, the headlines read differently. The United States is in the midst of a “Shale Revolution” in which domestic sources of shale oil and natural gas are rapidly transforming the nation’s energy outlook. Soaring U.S. shale oil and gas production is sharply curbing U.S.’s net energy exports to the point that America will be a net energy exporter by 2050. Suddenly, the U.S.’s energy security seems to be on rather sound footing.

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The Journal of Politics and Society

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Helvidius Group of Columbia University
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April 26, 2016