Well you have a point....up to a point. Mainly the point in time when the really big American stick bashes both Mexico and Canada over their America hating heads. I've never understood the strategy of building the very best possible (and one of the biggest) military machines...and then being too wimpy to use it properly. If I can take out Canada and Mexico almost simultaneously (as western US) while fighting 2/3's of the US, I'm pretty sure I can do the same as the entirety of the US.
On a more pacifistic note... I've never had any real trouble becoming self sufficient in oil with the US. Yeah the money to drill all those wells can make you tighten your belt, but when you pull it off it is worth it. Try developing that Alaskan oil field and build a small Army base next door. The supply will boost it's output enough to solve most of your problem by itself.
Now if you are playing with a voluntary ban on facility building...to make it even between the AI and yourself.... well good luck.