Thursday, May 08, 2008

Going to War Over $200 Oil?

The underlying cause of World War II was the effort by Japan and Germany to take by force of arms resources they decided they needed to fuel their economies. Both countries were dictatorships; this is important because, under modern standards of conduct, democracies probably could not go to war for this reason.

Yet it is also clear that we would not be in Iraq if it were not for the fact that oil is the source of funds for the Islamic terrorists to carry out their atrocities on westerners, nor would they, without oil riches, be dreaming of restoring their caliphate; and we are in Iraq to protect our access to oil, as well. If it were not for oil, there would have been few westerners needed by the Arabs to develop their oil resources and compete for its access – bringing with them western influences that conflict with their culture. If it were not for oil, we would have little interest in the Middle East, and they would have little interest in us. As Coach Lombardi said about winning, oil is not just the main thing, it is everything.

And as time goes by, it is also clear from the Biofuels fiascos and the puny results of alternative energy research, that oil may be everything for another 100 years.

The reason for this introduction is to bring to the attention of my readers that the first known calls for us to just go in and take the oil we need are beginning to be heard.

The Candidates and Oil
By Roger Kaplan 5/6/08 American Spectator (Excerpts)

“There are at least two foreign policy issues that are arguably as important to our Great Republic as were slavery in the mid-19th century and the statist-vs.-liberty debate in the mid-20th. These are our relations with China and our relations with the oil-producing states. And nary a candidate has brought them up yet.

If I find this astonishing it may mean I am a sanctimonious pest, but the fact is that we Americans, as citizens, ought to be grateful if someone running for office, between now and November, causes us the pain and anguish of thinking about China and oil as national, not pocketbook, issues.

If you do not mind, I will return to China in due course, but today I would suggest some smart-aleck such as myself in the press corps seizes the next opportunity to get the ball bouncing by asking any candidate just what exactly prevents us from seizing the oil fields? We have the finest army in the world a few miles from the world's major reserves of hydrocarbons, am I correct? The Saudi regime, the emirates of the Gulf, would all be dead were it not for the American and British uniforms that guard them. Neither the Iraqi army, weakened by the tribal and sectarian fissures in the Tigris-Euphrates so-called cradle of civilization (as well as by our own misguided policies), nor the politicized, paranoiac Persian forces are in any position to resist a focused application of American military power.

Focused on what? Why, very simply, on the oil fields, the world's energy jugular. The pre-modern state of communal relations, otherwise known as politics, in the Middle East and more narrowly in the Gulf region is really not our problem. It becomes our problem when the locals begin threatening the rest of the world with ruin…..

Can we, as a free and democratic Republic, co-exist with regimes and movements advancing under the banner of militant Islam? ….

Apart from all the other mischief they have proven capable of, the miscellaneous tribes of Araby and environs are now partaking of the wreckage of the world's economies. They are provoking Biblical scourges, notably starvation. Doing something about that, is a mission worthy of the world's first new nation and still its most generous.

Those who are holding the world's masses hostage to hydrocarbons must be stopped. And if not by us, by whom? And why should we wait until they figure out how to build viable democratic institutions?

WHAT IS TO PREVENT US from seizing the oil fields? The U.S. Army can solemnly announce that it will not take a dime from their exploitation beyond operating costs, and surely there are economists who can figure out how to set up a distribution system that will not wreck the world's oil markets, with all the ramifications that would bring about. I am in particular thinking of what a provisional neo-colonial administration of the Gulf's oil resources might do to Africa's booming oil industries. For what it is worth, the European dependence of Russian oil will be lessened by our seizure of the Middle East's reserves.

Price controls fail. However, this is not a matter of price controls but of replacing a cartel run by tyrants with a commission that, notwithstanding your private thoughts about the U.S. government, will still be overseen by the U.S. government. Which has got to be better than a committee of Caribbean caudillos and Saudi princes.

Anyway, let the morrow take care of itself. Here we have an election in which the word change seems to come up like a bad intestinal disorder, and yet of changing an oil regime that is putting the entire world at risk of terminal disease, nary a word. Basically, this regime was set up before World War II and consolidated in the 1950s as the Brits retreated from east of Suez, and it consists very simply of this: you (Gulf Arabs) run this industry on market principles and we (Yanks) protect you. Well, hell.

YES, WE WILL SUFFER a PR reverse, as the champion of democracy in the world pulls off what the oil billionaires and the American extreme left -- the Democrats? -- will assail as "neo-colonialism," claiming vindication for their blood-for-oil thesis. Let the stupids talk to the stupids, what matters is who are the real neo-colonialists? And does anyone seriously doubt that by a swift military campaign we will do more for the cause of liberty in Africa and beyond than the half-century of boondoggling by the likes of U.S. AID, Peace Corps, and the other scams perpetrated on the American taxpayer to the benefit of spoiled children of the American middle classes who have nothing better to do than play missionary in air-conditioned offices? Mother Teresa, let alone Dr. Schweitzer, these lifelong juveniles ain't. But meanwhile, the farmer in Malawi who cannot afford petroleum for his third-hand tractor is suffering due to the stick-up, masquerading as "the market," of the oil billionaires. Does anyone really doubt he would rather have another National Endowment for Democracy-funded boondoggling NGO give him advice than a fuel bill cut by half? Yo, America, as we say in the old neighborhood, get real.

The Lincoln-Douglas debates concerned the means available to the United States to end slavery. You can say what you want about slavery, but both Illinoisans were against it, and they both understood it was not a parlor game to see who proposed the most clever gimmick. As a practical matter, Stephen Douglas's understanding of the American compact led him to take a gradualist position, which Abraham Lincoln argued would have the effect of perpetuating the peculiar institution and permit its extension into the western territories. Notwithstanding the national as well as local audiences whose attention they sought and of whose sectional interests they were well aware, their arguments were intellectually honest.

It seems not too much to ask of individuals as intelligent and morally serious as this year's contenders for the presidency that they express themselves on what the United States might do about the peculiar institution which is, by any other name, global oil slavery.”

Oil nears $123 on $200 oil prediction, supply concerns
Tuesday May 6, 5:32 pm ET
By John Wilen, AP (Excerpt)

Oil prices rise to record near $123 a barrel on prediction of $200 oil, supply concerns

NEW YORK (AP) – “Oil futures blasted to a new record near $123 a barrel Tuesday, gaining momentum as investors bought on a forecast of much higher prices and on any news hinting at supply shortages. Retail gas prices edged lower, but appear poised to rise to new records of their own in coming weeks.

A new Goldman Sachs prediction that oil prices could rise to $150 to $200 within two years seemed to motivate much of Tuesday's buying, although a falling dollar and increasing concerns about declining crude production in Mexico and Russia contributed, analysts say.”

May 7, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist
The Democratic Recession
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN NY Times (Excerpt)

“At the end of last year, Freedom House, which tracks democratic trends and elections around the globe, noted that 2007 was by far the worst year for freedom in the world since the end of the cold war. Almost four times as many states — 38 — declined in their freedom scores as improved — 10.

What explains this? A big part of this reversal is being driven by the rise of petro-authoritarianism. I’ve long argued that the price of oil and the pace of freedom operate in an inverse correlation — which I call: “The First Law of Petro-Politics.” As the price of oil goes up, the pace of freedom goes down. As the price of oil goes down, the pace of freedom goes up.

“There are 23 countries in the world that derive at least 60 percent of their exports from oil and gas and not a single one is a real democracy,” explains Diamond. “Russia, Venezuela, Iran and Nigeria are the poster children” for this trend, where leaders grab the oil tap to ensconce themselves in power.”

Of course, there is no chance that a democracy like ours would countenance a return to colonialism in this manner, or is there? If oil hits $200 and keeps going up; if Iran is on the verge of a deliverable nuclear weapon; if the Saudis keep financing schools and mosques preaching hate and the imposition of the Sharia; if OPEC continues to limit production to keep driving up prices; if CNN shows videos of third world populations dying of starvation by the millions while sheiks in the Arabian desert build indoor ski slopes, etc., etc., etc., the rules we live by may change.

Lets hope liberals in Congress and in the environmental movement can be persuaded to face facts and stop acting on emotions – the emotions that stop us from using the resources we have – before we either turn into a third world country or go to war to prevent that from happening


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