A new book on the events that led to the Pacific War illuminates the most likely future U.S. foreign policy.1 Its author argues that resource issues triggered the 1941 crisis. That is a new idea; it usually is argued that U.S. motives in 1941 had little in common with the current idea that conflict over access to resources, such as oil. probably would cause future local wars. It is often suggested that the Gulf War was more about who would control the massive oil reserves of the Persian Gulf than the injustice visited by Saddam Hussein on Kuwait. Those opposing U.S. action at the time argued that whoever owned the oil would sell it, so that the war was really being fought to protect the interests of several major oil companies, rather than U.S. national interests. It also has been argued frequently that the U.S. government precipitated the Pacific War by initiating an oil embargo against Japan, in the hope that it would cause the Japanese to end their war in China.
World Naval Developments: Work Smarter, Hit Harder
By Norman Friedman