Exploring the relationship between the state and the private sector in the development of American foreign oil policy, Stephen Randall argues that policy has been consistently dependant on maintaining a delicate balance between private and public interests - between profits and security.
In United States Foreign Oil Policy Since World War I Randall demonstrates that U.S. foreign oil policy has been based on ensuring an adequate supply of oil and oil products at reasonable prices to meet American industrial and military needs. The result has been an ongoing search for energy security that has taken the United States into regions of the world where its national security interests would not otherwise have been at stake, even at the height of the Cold War. Randall's analysis extends from the remote shores of the Caspian Sea in the post-Cold War era to the U.S.'s close neighbours such as Canada and Mexico. He concludes that continued tensions with Iraq and Iran and the increasing instability of Saudi Arabia indicate that the future holds little hope of permanent stability.