The Lawfare Podcast: Oil Wars in Myth and Reality, with Emily Meierding

Jen Patja, David Priess, Emily Meierding
Monday, May 16, 2022, 12:00 PM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With
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During the past couple of months, since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, there have been several claims that Russia was invading its neighbor to seize its oil and gas resources. And even in the cases where pundits were claiming that Russia was not doing this, they would often phrase it as, “This is not yet another oil war.” But do oil wars happen at all?

David Priess sat down with the woman who has literally written the book on this: Emily Meierding, assistant professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. She has argued that countries do not launch major conflicts to acquire hydrocarbon resources because the costs of foreign invasion, territorial occupation, international retaliation and damage to oil company relations deter even the most powerful countries from doing so. They talked about the myth of oil wars, about the logic behind why they will not happen and about why it is that the Russian invasion of Ukraine probably has very little to do with hydrocarbons at all.


Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.
David Priess is Director of Intelligence at Bedrock Learning, Inc. and a Senior Fellow at the Michael V. Hayden Center for Intelligence, Policy, and International Security. He served during the Clinton and Bush 43 administrations as a CIA officer and has written two books: “The President’s Book of Secrets,” about the top-secret President’s Daily Brief, and "How To Get Rid of a President," describing the ways American presidents have left office.
Emily Meierding is an assistant professor of national security affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. Her book, “The Oil Wars Myth: Petroleum and the Causes of International Conflict,” has just been published by Cornell University Press. This article does not represent the views of the U.S. Department of the Navy or Department of Defense.

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