Long before oil dependence and security became pressing public issues, Steve Yetiv published Crude Awakenings: Global Oil Security and American Foreign Policy (Cornell University Press, 2004). This book represents the most involved analysis to date of political-security threats to global oil supplies, and offers a conceptual framework for analyzing these threats. The book underscores how critical it is to decrease oil dependence, but it finds that this is not chiefly due to the problem of physical oil disruptions, which we often worry about. In tracking seven variables, his study illuminates how three decades of major changes in the Middle East, in world politics and in the global energy sector actually decreased political and military threats to global oil supplies from 1975 to 2003, even as oil prices increased and periodically spiked. In this sense, the book, which involves significant primary research, including work at the library of OPEC headquarters in Vienna and data analysis on global energy, challenges conventional wisdom on the state of global oil security. The book also sketches how such threats do remain serious and how a variety of other factors should hasten our move toward decreased oil dependence.
The book is not intended to be predictive. However, since the book went to print in 2003, the most serious disruptions to oil supplies have not come from global military or political events, as so many have feared, but from Hurricanes. The Iran nuclear crisis may yet unfold into a serious threat.
"Yetiv provides an invaluable guide to the realities that surround the supply of global oil to the world economy. At a time when political analysts and policy makers agree that threats to the global supply of oil have never been greater, Yetiv asserts that such assumptions about oil markets are misleading and wrong. . . . This fine piece of scholarship clearly enhances understanding of global oil security."
-Choice, March 2005
"Yetiv's discussion is thorough, grounded in a sound understanding of each development's history and versed in the nuances that are required to appreciate its complexities. . . . His book is one of the best that I have read in recent years on oil security."
- Bruce Kuniholm, International History Review, Vol. 28 (2006)
"Crude Awakenings is smart, practical, and convincing. . ."
-The Wall Street Journal, September 16, 2004
"This is an excellent book that goes against the grain of much of today's thinking. It is a rare example of superb integration of domestic politics, geopolitics, international politics, and market economics. Steve A. Yetiv sheds light on an important subject that pertains to the largest single sector of global trade and the locus of two very large wars fought by the United States over the past dozen years."
-Edward L. Morse, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Energy Policy
"Crude Awakenings is a fine piece of scholarship that enhances our understanding of global oil security."
- Joseph S. Nye, former Assistant Secretary of Defense
"At a time when academics, journalists, and policymakers agree that threats to the global supply of oil have never been greater, Steve A. Yetiv offers a powerful argument that they are all wrong. According to Yetiv, oil disruptions are less likely and more easily coped with today than they have been since the oil embargo of 1973. This welcome state of affairs is due to long term developments such as global interdependence, the development of alternative fuels, the emergence of new suppliers, the moderation of rogue states, the effects of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the creation of strategic petroleum reserves, and even the American occupation of Iraq. In Yetiv's view, these factors collectively militate against the oil producers launching another embargo and mitigate the damage to the importing states if they do. Yetiv amasses a large array of sources to make his points, all of which are presented in clear, jargon-free prose. This is must reading for anyone concerned with the role of oil in international politics and American foreign policy."
-Steven R. David, Professor, Director of International Studies Program, Johns Hopkins University