The oil-producing countries are, in addition to being actors in the international oil market, also part of the international system of sovereign states. Sovereignty means there is no formal legitimate political authority above the individual state. The international system of states has no central world government and is thus defined as anarchy. This system is a self-help system where the states are individually responsible for upholding their sovereignty, although they might pursue this fundamental goal in concert. By reproducing their sovereignty, or surviving as independent political units, the states also reproduce the anarchic structure (Buzan et al. 1993:132). While the market structure distributes scarce resources, the political structure distributes power. The validity of an integrated notion of the wealth and power is not new to students of international relations.
1) Wealth is an absolutely essential means of power, whether for security or for aggression; 2) power is essential or valuable as a means to the acquisition or retention of wealth; 3) wealth and power are each ultimate ends of national policy; 4) there is a long-run harmony between these ends, although in particular circumstances it may be necessary for a time to make economic sacrifices in the interests of military security and therefore also of long-run prosperity. (Viner 1948:10, cited in Keohane 1984:23)
Keohane's comment on the fourth point in this citation is that "in the short run, tradeoffs exist between the pursuit of power and the pursuit of wealth" (Keohane 1984:23). Paraphrasing the citation from Viner (1948), the question to be scrutinized in this chapter is to what extent security threats constitute "particular circumstances" that force the oil producers to make "economic sacrifices in the interests of military security." An example could be if the us military's support of Saudi Arabia has made Saudi Arabia reluctant to increase the oil price. Another case would be if the Iran