Naval War College Review


Michael Klare argues that most wars of the future, like many of those of the past and present, will be caused by conflicts over natural resources, especially oil and water. As a consequence, he suggests that American national security policy focus “on oil field protection, the defense of maritime trade routes, and other aspects of resource security.” This position represents a reaffirmation of the industrial and economic dimensions of U.S. national security. In effect, if Klare is right, we are witnessing a resurgence of a materialist strand of American strategic thought that has been prominent at least since Alfred Thayer Mahan. For strategists, neither the clash of civilizations, the tragedies of identity politics, nor the long-buried animosities of religion or ethnicity are sufficient motivations for the major sources of conflict in the modern world.