After half a century, conspiracy theorists are going to have to find a new bogeyman
(Jonathan Kay, The Walrus) – In his April cover story for The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg delivered what now stands as the definitive assessment of US foreign policy under the current president. At about 18,000 words, “The Obama Doctrine” is double the length of your typical Atlantic cover story. But Obama has been in office for two terms. And the American empire is a big place.
What amazed me about Goldberg’s article isn’t just what it contained—it’s also what it didn’t. Here is a comprehensive assessment of America’s relationship with the rest of the planet that mentions the word “oil” precisely . . . once. And even then in the context of its irrelevance: “For Obama, Asia represents the future . . . And the Middle East is a region to be avoided—one that, thanks to America’s energy revolution, will soon be of negligible relevance to the US economy. It is not oil but another of the Middle East’s exports, terrorism, that shapes Obama’s understanding of his responsibilities.”
To any student of foreign affairs, this caps an astonishing development—and one that, as recently as a decade ago, few could have been predicted. For more than half a century, the need to protect the flow of cheap oil from the Middle East to Western refineries had been a non-negotiable parameter of US foreign policy. That era is now over.