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The Macalester Review

Abstract

Oil has profoundly shaped the political, economic, and social structures of the twentieth century and it continues to shape the global order today. As both a source and a medium of power, oil binds together seemingly disparate elements into a highly sensitive web. This paper examines the first Gulf War as a turning point in the narrative of oil and power. The United States’ engagement in the Gulf War reasserted American dominance over the Middle East and ushered in a new era of oil security. In the war’s aftermath, the United States assumed roles that indicate an agenda of new imperialism – dominance in an effort to preserve economically favorable conditions.