If Iraq voted not to sell oil to the US.

A future hypothetical:

If the people of Iraq voted never to sell any oil to America, would this democratically expressed wish be respected?

I would imagine a candidate running on a nationalistic ticket might get a few votes out of proposing denying oil to the country who had killed so many young Iraqis. (And it is their oil, agreed?)

(Incidentally, my hawk/dove status is unresolved as of yet).

Oil is a commodity, we’d get it from someone else. As long as the oil is on the market, we’d get our share from someone.

I’ve seen estimates of the percentage of Iraqi oil imports to the U.S. as anywhere from 6 to 11 per cent. The more recent the estimate, the lower the number.

So the U.S. is already getting at least 90% (and maybe as much as 94%) of its oil from other countries. I think the U.S. could buy the remaining 6-10% from countries other than Iraq without too much trouble.

Correct. It wouldn’t matter that much in terms of US oil supply as Iraq doesn’t sell us much oil right now.

To be fair though, the issue with nationalists isn’t usually selling the US oil, as they generally have no problem with that. If the US wants to buy stuff from them, who are they to complain? It is more a problem with allowing the US to invest or profit from oil supplies. And it has been an issue. Way back when, one of the reasons Mossadegh was deposed was because of his desire to kick out the British from the oil fields. However, Kuwait has nationalized its oil fields (although some will argue that it is only a partial nationalization since foreign oil companies are still allowed to receive maintenance contracts and have received contracts to develop the neutral zone, but I think the distinction is negligible) without seeing any ill effects from the US. It really depends on the regime in question.

Indeed, perhaps my opening post was a little limited in scope. I wished to explore what the people of Iraq might not be allowed to vote for should Iraq ever become a democracy. Should ever a “Salvatore Allende” character become president, would the US exert pressure to invest the Iraqi version of Pinochet?

You mean someone along the lines of Chavez? Maybe. But Allende never proposed not selling copper to the US, just to nationalize the US investments in the copper mines.

I still don’t understand your question.

Well, since the US will be running the Iraqi state for at least 10 years, I’d say it’s a moot point.

After that, they’ll all be so happy at the improvement in their lives that they won’t have any hard feelings about the way the system was changed. Not.

Seriously, though, it depends on US politics. If true freedom-lovers get into power, the Iraqi government can do what it likes, and we’ll get our oil elsewhere. If scared jackrabbits are in power, any excuse will be used to show off our strength and repress any who would dare confront us.