The Geopolitics of Red Oil: Constructing the China threat through energy security, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Geopolitics of Red Oil

Constructing the China threat through energy security, 1st Edition

By Andrew Stephen Campion


186 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

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Energy security has emerged as one of the most important contemporary geopolitical issues. Access to reliable, cheap energy has become essential to the functioning of modern economies but the uneven distribution of energy supplies has led to perceptions of significant Western vulnerability. At the same time, many in the West have become wary of China’s re-emergence as a major power in global politics, with its impact on Western foreign policies and potential threat to Western energy security.

This book offers fresh insights into the rise of China as a global superpower and the ways in which its rise is perceived to threaten Western energy security, engaging specifically with how the idea of the China threat has emerged in popular discourse. The author questions how recent US foreign policy has sought to position China as an antagonist to Western energy interests and explores how this image has become the dominant understanding of China by the West. Rather than treating these issues as given, which orthodox approaches tend to do, this book analyses the discursive relationship between US identity, foreign policy and energy security, which leads to a more nuanced and critical understanding of perceptions of China’s potential threat to Western energy security.

Filling an important gap in the emerging corpus of research on energy security, this book will be particularly valuable to students and scholars of Politics, International Relations and Chinese Studies.


'This book is a valuable addition to scholarly works on energy security, national security, and foreign policy. Using the Unocal decision as a case study, the author has skilfully woven various arguments surrounding the failed bid to demonstrate how CTD made common cause with ESD to frustrate a legitimate market transaction. Informative and exhaustive, it expounds in depth on various allied themes--energy security, national security, national interest, the China threat, foreign policy, and many more--to corroborate the author’s central thesis.'

Sudha Mahalingam, H-Asia, H-Net Reviews

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Central Discourses: The China Threat Discourse 3. Central Discourses: The Energy Security Discourse 4. Case Study: The CNOOC/Unocal Affair 5. Conclusion

About the Author

Andrew Stephen Campion is the Head of Research at the Atlantic Council, UK. His work focusses on the construction of security threats with an emphasis on energy and China.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General