Article from ROAPE Volume 30 Number 98
Bush Admin/African Oil: Security Implications of US Energy Pol
‘It's been reliably reported,’ former US Ambassador to Chad Donald R Norland announced during a House Africa Subcommittee hearing in April 2002, ‘that, for the first time, the two concepts - 'Africa' and 'US national security' - have been used in the same sentence in Pentagon documents.
1 When US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs Michael A. Westphal held a press briefing that same month, he noted that 'fifteen per cent of the US's imported oil supply comes from sub-Saharan Africa' and that 'this is also a number which has the potential for increasing significantly in the next decade.' This, Westphal explained, is the main reason that Africa matters to the United States and why 'we do follow it very closely,' at the Pentagon.
2 And during his July 2002 visit to Nigeria, US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Walter Kansteiner declared that 'African oil is of strategic national interest to us' and 'it will increase and become more important as we go forward.'
3 While American interest in oil and other strategic raw materials from Africa is not new, the Bush Administration's decision to define African oil as a 'strategic national interest' and thus, a resource that the United States might choose to use military force to control is completely unprecedented and deeply disturbing.