General Question

elbanditoroso's avatar

Would the US ever attack Canada to take control of their oil supply?

Asked by elbanditoroso (28647points) January 22nd, 2012

With the Administration’s decision to say no to the Keystone pipeline, Canada is now trying to market their oil – of which they have a lot – to China and the Far East. That’s their right and it makes some business sense to Canada. If they can’t sell to the US, then why not sell it elsewhere?

The US may not like that, long term. Canada’s oil is close by and safe in a political sense, not subject to the whims of the Sheiks and Emirs.

Can you see a possibility – if Harper and other Canadians start playing like they are Saudi Arabia – of the US attacking Canada to take control of the oil fields?

(If the US ever did, Canada would fold in a matter of days – their military, while well trained – is miniscule.)

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34 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

Yes. They would. Without a doubt.
After all, they already tried that in 1812.

mattbrowne's avatar

If the US did this, the country would become as isolated as Iran in the world community. Europe would cease to be an ally to the US if this really happened.

So, no. Not in the foreseeable future.

WestRiverrat's avatar

For their oil? No.

Now if it was for the skiing, fishing or hunting then maybe.

jrpowell's avatar

The oil Canada has isn’t like the stick a pipe in the ground and oil pours out stuff they have in the Middle East and Texas. It is much more expensive to refine and the environmental damage is much worse. Some info is here.

choreplay's avatar

No, Canada is like a sister country to us. It’s just absurd and even if our wars in middle east were motivated mostly by that, they were not entered into without provocation from radicals from that area and a general societal support for those radicals acts of terrorism. We are so blessed to have a neighbor like Canada and I just don’t think we are that stupid, close sometimes but not that much.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

The Motley Fool has an article about top economic stories that have not been covered by the press.

The US is now a net energy exporter.

We have more energy than we need.

marinelife's avatar

No, Canada is our ally.

laureth's avatar

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought – While being technically true, that headline is also misleading. We import the crude, refine it, use some, and export some. It doesn’t mean that we just naturally possess more oil than we need. We had to buy it somewhere before we could refine it.

The pipeline was a way for Canadian tar sand oil to ooze its way down to the complex of refineries down in Texas and the central U.S., so it could be refined, and sold on the open market, just like all the other oil in the world. Oil is fungible. Once it’s refined into petroleum products, it’s like all other petroleum products. Nixing the pipeline doesn’t mean that we won’t buy Canadian oil – Canada and Mexico are still our top two sources of oil.

To answer the question, would we attack Canada to take their oil sands? It depends. As the world stands now, there are other ways to get oil. As long as we can keep buying it, even at higher prices, the international “peer pressure” as well as internal pressure means that we won’t attack the country that is probably our greatest ally in the world. I also think we’d start trying to dig out Colorado oil shale (which has about as much energy value as an equal amount of granola) or drilling ANWR (which has about seven months’ supply or so, last time I checked). But, and this is important, even oil shale and ANWR oil would be sold on the open market, because oil is like that.

What would cause us to attack Canada for oil in my opinion? It would have to be a Mad Max style of breakdown. We’d have to be so desperate for oil that we’re willing to be a pariah. People would have to be dying from lack of petroleum products.

There’s always a fringe element that wants us to control the world. But as long as there are other countries to attack, that have a supply of oil, and which are easier to find bald-faced excuses for (“They had WMDs! Honest!”) or for which it is easier to drum up public hatred or fear (“OMG, Islam!”), Canada is probably safe.

jaytkay's avatar

The US and Canada are too economically intertwined for such a major conflict.

They are each other;s largest source of imports. Canada buys more US goods than China, Japan, the UK and Germany combined.

Canada by far our largest oil source – it’s not like we can’t buy Canadian oil without Keystone.

And besides, contrary to the panicked headlines and false GOP claims, Keystone isn’t dead. The administration told TransCanada the route needed tweaking before it could be approved. And Harper’s hints about China are bluffing.

FutureMemory's avatar


Not a chance in hell. Have you heard of NATO? The UN?

Is this a serious question?

gailcalled's avatar

No. They might, however, cross the border in order to steal the copyright on poutine.

@laureth: Sadly, poutine is not fungible.

ragingloli's avatar

That looks absolutely vile

gailcalled's avatar

@ragingloli: I am only the messenger. Perhaps we can burn it for fuel?

marinelife's avatar

@gailcalled You are in rare form today. Thanks for the chuckles.

filmfann's avatar

It won’t happen. It simply could not be justified, and we are not that evil.

gailcalled's avatar

@marinelife; MIlo here; You do remember that I am the ghost writer in this family, don’t you?

Me. recovering.

basstrom188's avatar

All depends if the British poodle is willing to come to the aid of a Commonwealth partner and France has the stomach to protect fellow French speakers.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@laureth I was mostly shocked and surprised by the trend lines, then I saw this question. It made me reconsider how much of the current energy discussions we have are based on assumptions that are becoming outdated by facts.

King_Pariah's avatar

Lol, the US has the LARGEST oil reserve in the world. It’s called green river basin.

JLeslie's avatar

Never say never. But, so much would have to change between the US and the world I can’t ever see it happening.

wilma's avatar

At first I thought that this was some kind of trolling question and not serious at all. I’m still not sure if it’s serious.

No the U.S. would never attack Canada for any such reason.

flutherother's avatar

If they needed it and there was no other way to get it I am sure they would.

john65pennington's avatar

Canada is to the United States, like Kentucky is to Tennessee.

Next door neighbors lean on each other, not attack each other.

filmfann's avatar

The reason Obama nixed the pipeline is the Republicans tied it to extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich.
I don’t blame Obama, and I expect a clean bill to be signed by him, when the Republicans realize he won’t budge.

jerv's avatar

@mattbrowne That never stopped up before, especially not in the last fifty years.

@john65pennington Not all neighbors get along though. I’m sure you saw enough domestic disputes over the years to know that.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I’m surprised that so many people don’t believe that, if it came down to it, we would not attack Canada for their oil. Now, I’m not imagining ‘would we do it right now’, but rather sometime down the line when resources get tighter and we still have not invested in alternative fuel technologies. I do very much believe that, if circumstances got to a certain point, we absolutely would.

Maybe I’m cynical, but history tells me that we are kind of dicks when it comes to getting things we want. We don’t much seem to care about human rights or friendship or treaties or agreements. Just ask the indigenous peoples of the Americas about that.

laureth's avatar

@john65pennington – Or, next door neighbors like the Soviet Union and Afghanistan? Or like Iran and Iraq? Kuwait and Iraq? Germany and France? The United States and the Republic of Texas? China and Tibet? North and South Korea?

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

A US government dominates by an alliance of extremely right-wing Republicans and the Tea-Party might just be fascist enough to think they could do such a thing without any serious economic or political consequences. They would of course quickly discover just how wrong-headed such an action would prove to be.

wundayatta's avatar

What a silly question. Don’t you realize the US already has invaded Canada?

We lost, of course, but that’s of no account. The point is that the premise is…. well… certainly a premise.

Soupy's avatar

No way. Canada has rich white people. At this point the US can only get away with attacking poor brown people in far away places for resources.

At some point in the future it might be possible, I mean lets face it, the US doesn’t show much restraint when someone else has a shiny toy that it wants. I don’t foresee anything like this happening in the immediate future though.

talljasperman's avatar

No… But I belive they made a Tom Clancy novel about it.

FutureMemory's avatar

I say we make Canada the 51st state, problem solved.

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