Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


International Relations

First Advisor's Name

Félix Martín

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Thomas Breslin

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Brian Murray

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Peter Craumer

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Edward Glab

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Energy, Security, United States, China, Strategy, Grand Strategy

Date of Defense



Energy is a critical component of a state’s national security and economic considerations, and beginning in the 20th century, this focus has been acutely centered on oil. Having evolved globally, consisting of well-developed financial markets and maritime and pipeline routes traversing the world, the oil market provides massive amounts of crude to countries on a daily basis. However, not all states simply rely on the market for oil security, and instead take additional steps to secure their respective supplies. Oil supply security is a critical driver for large, consuming states, and merits further study. And, in terms of demand on the global supply, and sheer size, there are two giants that stand out, and deserve a closer look: the United States and China.

This research project approaches the task by understanding the grand strategies of both states. Using a grand strategic approach offers key advantages for analysis as both states pursue oil security in a strategic environment, and are forced to account for the various threats to supply, their own capabilities, and their ultimate security objectives.

The methodology used is a comparative, focused case study, in order to draw out differences and similarities between these two large consumers, and as a way of further illuminating the oil security approaches of both states, this research generates an oil security rating system using weightings derived from a principal components analysis on multiple countries, among several indicators, over a 22-year period.

Ultimately, the aim of this study is to demonstrate in as clear terms as possible, how these states pursue their respective strategies and whether each state may pose a threat to the oil security of the other, now or in the future.





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