Security and the Resources Scramble: Will 1984 be Like 1914?

  • Bruce Russett
Part of the Advances in Foreign Policy Analysis book series (AFPA)


We are about to witness the demise of nonalignment as a viable foreign policy for states with any significant resources. The world market is losing its force as a means of allocating supplies of natural resources. Rather, major powers increasingly will seek assured access to vital raw materials, with that assurance achieved by political means. Access to raw materials will be too important to leave to market forces under conditions of political instability. Unstable or radical third world governments will seem too unreliable. They may be unwilling, or unable, to maintain the large-scale constant supply of vital resources to the industrialized world. The removal of Iran from the world market of petroleum suppliers may be tolerable for a while, as a single case. But many Irans would either paralyze the entire world economy, or set off a scramble for assured access to the remaining raw material sources and economic disaster for all who lagged behind in the scramble. Hence national leaders may feel irresistible pressure to take preventive steps before a crucial supplier collapses.


Natural Rubber World Market Global Community Military Force Major Power 
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  1. 5.
    J. A. Miller, D. I. Fine, and R. D. McMichael, eds., The Resource War in 3-D: Dependency Diplomacy Defense (Pittsburgh, PA: World Affairs Council, 1980).Google Scholar

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© Bruce Russett 2006

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  • Bruce Russett

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