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U.S. Foreign Policy: Room to Regroup

Henry_VlIl Wrote: Nov 15, 2012 7:23 PM
U.S. military protection of the Persian Gulf is unnecessary to ensure access to oil from that region. Without Uncle Sam's generous help, Persian Gulf oil producers, shippers, and consumers (that latter residing mostly in Europe and East Asia) would have strong incentives to protect the free flow of oil. If the U.S. government eliminated its military subsidy for oil in the Persian Gulf, it could decommission approximately five army divisions, five active air wings of the Air Force, five Marine Expeditionary Brigades, and 144 ships, including six aircraft carriers-roughly half of the U.S. armed forces.
Henry_VlIl Wrote: Nov 15, 2012 7:23 PM
Because only 10 percent of the oil consumed by the U.S. comes from the Persian Gulf, U.S. military protection of that region is even more irrational than nineteenth century European imperialism. American taxpayers would enjoy significant savings if the U.S. were to rely exclusively on markets to obtain oil, just as Europeans became better off as their governments reduced their use of armed forces and protectionist trade policies and relied more on free markets to obtain goods from other countries. Unfortunately, the U.S. government has taken the opposite approach in recent years and has extended its security umbrella over oil-producing regions in West Africa, Latin America, the Caspian Sea region, and Central Asia.

President Barack Obama has won re-election. However, in addition to all of the constraints on him that I discussed last week, he won the election with almost half the people voting against him. His win in the Electoral College was substantial -- and that's the win that really matters -- but the popular vote determines how he governs, and he will govern with one more constraint added to the...