How should we think about the oil supply's impact on national security? For much of the twentieth century, petroleum was a coveted ingredient of military power and economic prosperity. Nations warred, colonized, and launched coups to secure their access to oil. The United States declared it would not allow a hostile power to take the oil-rich Persian Gulf, a policy which eventually led to today's large, permanent Gulf military presence. At the same time, America has become the world's largest oil producer and oil trading has become more flexible. How should this inform national security policy?
Rosemary A. Kelanic is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, where her research focuses on international security, coercive diplomacy, energy politics, and U.S. grand strategy. Her book, Black Gold and Blackmail: Oil and Great Power Politics (Cornell University Press, forthcoming), explains why great powers adopt radically different strategies to secure oil access in case of emergency or war. Kelanic has also published Crude Strategy: Rethinking the U.S. Military Commitment to Defend Persian Gulf Oil (Georgetown University Press, 2016), a book co-edited with Charles Glaser, which questions whether the United States needs to station military forces in the Gulf to protect the flow of oil.
Professor Kelanic earned her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago. She holds an M.A. in International Relations, also from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. in Political Science, summa cum laude, from Bryn Mawr College. Prior to joining the faculty of Notre Dame, Kelanic taught political science at Williams College and held research positions at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University.