American foreign policy is influenced heavily by the nation’s need for foreign oil.

How does the U.S. “shale revolution” and decreasing dependence on foreign energy impact America’s “special relationship” with Saudi Arabia? To what extent are South China Sea disputes about oil and gas? How will the reintroduction of Iranian oil and gas to global markets, a result of the Iran nuclear deal, affect regional dynamics and energy prices?

These and other questions will be up for discussion in a program entitled “U.S. Foreign Policy and Petroleum,” the Arizona Senior Academy’s third installment of a five-part Great Decisions 2017 series presented by the Foreign Policy Association.

The discussion will be held at 3:00 p.m. Wednesday (Feb. 15) in the ASA Great Room. The facilitator for this session is George Scholz, an ASA member and retired Foreign Service specialist.

The topic will center on ‘U.S. Foreign Policy and Petroleum’ and address the effects of U.S. petroleum security on foreign policy. “For 45 years,” the FPA wrote in its introduction to this part of the series, “the country has alternated between periods of energy security and insecurity, sometimes able to wield petroleum as a useful instrument of foreign policy, sometimes not. Despite the so-called ‘energy revolution,’ the U.S. today is by no means disentangled from foreign dependence and global trends. In order to be successful, policymakers must recognize both petroleum security circumstances and patterns in the relationship between petroleum and foreign policy.”

Designed to elicit constructive ideas from those who attend, the 2017 series focuses on the theme “Continuity and Change in American Foreign Policy,” a theme especially relevant in this year of presidential transition.

The remaining topics for the “Great Decisions” series include energy, nuclear security and regional issues around the globe.  Each session will include comments by a facilitator, giving a context to the topic, a DVD presentation on the topic (provided by the Foreign Policy Association), and a discussion of relevant questions.

Written by George Scholz, Academy Village Volunteer

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How Petroleum Influences U.S. Foreign Policy: February 2017