Barr, Kathleen (2012-05). Held Hostage: America and Its Allies Confront OPEC, 1973 - 1981. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon

abstract

  • The oil shocks of the 1970s, initiated by the first Arab oil embargo in 1973, stunned the industrialized world. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) controlled a resource that was vital to the national well-being and national security of America and its allies. In the United States, gas lines formed as Americans waited for increasingly costly and scarce fuel. Europeans realized that the energy shortages, which they originally believed to be short-term, might permanently change their lives. This dissertation places the historical debate about the effectiveness of domestic and foreign energy policy within the framework of the global transformations taking place at the end of the twentieth century. The collapse of the Bretton Woods system in 1971 and the advent of petrodollars on world currency markets, the emergence of the Soviet Union as an oil exporter, the rise of OPEC as a regulator of oil prices and the consequent decline in the power of the seven major multinational oil companies, and the growth of a global environmental movement, all contributed to the shifting interplay of forces confronting the United States and its allies in the late twentieth century and shaped the debate over national and international energy policy. America's efforts to work with its allies to develop a cohesive national and international energy policy fell victim to the struggle between political autonomy and interdependence in an era of globalization. The allied response to the Iranian hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan highlighted these conflicts within the alliance.
  • The oil shocks of the 1970s, initiated by the first Arab oil embargo in 1973, stunned the industrialized world. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) controlled a resource that was vital to the national well-being and national security of America and its allies. In the United States, gas lines formed as Americans waited for increasingly costly and scarce fuel. Europeans realized that the energy shortages, which they originally believed to be short-term, might permanently change their lives.

    This dissertation places the historical debate about the effectiveness of domestic and foreign energy policy within the framework of the global transformations taking place at the end of the twentieth century. The collapse of the Bretton Woods system in 1971 and the advent of petrodollars on world currency markets, the emergence of the Soviet Union as an oil exporter, the rise of OPEC as a regulator of oil prices and the consequent decline in the power of the seven major multinational oil companies, and the growth of a global environmental movement, all contributed to the shifting interplay of forces confronting the United States and its allies in the late twentieth century and shaped the debate over national and international energy policy. America's efforts to work with its allies to develop a cohesive national and international energy policy fell victim to the struggle between political autonomy and interdependence in an era of globalization. The allied response to the Iranian hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan highlighted these conflicts within the alliance.

publication date

  • May 2012