Monday, March 10, 2008

Get ready for the resource wars

Time is running out for us all.

We live in a dangerous moment of history. Irony of ironies, Americans in the near future may be conscripted en mass into the armed forces as America declares resource wars on the rest of the world in order to escape the consequences of the two Iraq wars, which now include a second Great Depression (breaking news).

If you're now scratching your head pondering what I'm talking about, consider Obama's or Clinton's refusal to state unequivocally that we will pull ALL of our troops out of the Middle East now. While the invasion of Iraq was in part at the instigation of the neoconservative cabal in their support of the racist policies of the Zionists (fundamentalists) of Eretz Israel, for the Eastern elite who rule us (and the oil cowboys of the Southwest) it was always about the oil. Cheap oil, easy-to-get sweet crude oil, a resource that is about to get real scarce all too soon. The phenomenon is call "Peak Oil."

Peak Oil has been a fact of life for some time, as even Dick Cheney cops to. And while it sounds good to the American public that we went into Iraq to remove a terrible dictator, it really doesn't sit well with Joe Q Public that our fair Republic often throws its weight around for purely economic and selfish reasons.

In all fairness, if the subject of Peak Oil were spoken of more honestly by the oil conglomerates and the politicians, Americans at large might have a better idea of the seriousness of the issue and plan accordingly. They might even stop buying 4-ton Hummers and Cadillac Escalades that get 10 MPG. But they have been coddled and spoon-fed the fairy tale of a glorious consumerist future - mostly involving huge SUVs and endless highways to a perfect suburbia - for so long that there's little room left in their greedy ignorant heads for the real world, a world rapidly running out of easy-to-get cheap oil. Not to mention that for the most part, most Americans don't even know that the rest of the world exists, except as a "resource."

But not everybody is an idiot or uninformed, and that includes Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. They both know that the end of cheap oil is upon us, and it behooves America to hang on to all the oil-producing territories that we can, for as long as we can, and also to grab all the new oil territories we can, the sooner the better. Russia's Vladimir Putin knows that, too, which is why we're starting to see headlines like the following in the foreign press - but not the US press, because there is no such thing as an end to cheap oil in the dreamland of the American mainstream media.
Climate change may spark conflict with Russia, EU told
Alert over scramble for control of energy resources in the Arctic
Ian Traynor in Brussels
The Guardian, Monday March 10 2008

European governments have been told to plan for an era of conflict over energy resources, with global warming likely to trigger a dangerous contest between Russia and the west for the vast mineral riches of the Arctic.

A report from the EU's top two foreign policy officials to the 27 heads of government gathering in Brussels for a summit this week warns that "significant potential conflicts" are likely in the decades ahead as a result of "intensified competition over access to, and control over, energy resources".


The officials single out the impact of the thawing Arctic and its emergence as a potential flashpoint of rival claims, pointing to the Kremlin's grab for the Arctic last year when President Vladimir Putin hailed as heroes a team of scientists who planted a Russian flag on the Arctic seabed.

Developments in the Arctic had "potential consequences for international stability and European security interests".[i.e., resource wars]

"The rapid melting of the polar ice caps, in particular the Arctic, is opening up new waterways and international trade routes," the report notes. "The increased accessibility of the enormous hydrocarbon resources in the Arctic region is changing the geostrategic dynamics of the region."

The report also stresses the volatility of the regions that hold large mineral deposits and predicts greater destabilisation in central Asia and the Middle East as a result of global warming
This "scramble for resources" and the warnings of conflicts from government agencies put the lie to the arguments of the deniers of global warming, inasmuch as there would be no scramble if the resources - oil - were still plentiful elsewhere.

Cheap oil is indeed running out but global warming is affording an opportunity for a race for resources in previously inaccessible regions. The greed of stock-jobbers and our mindless preoccupation with McMansions in suburbs that can only be accessed by giant, luxury trucks masquerading as family vehicles have blown apart the economic stability of the markets of the world. Americans are pigs who can't stop eating, consuming fully half of the world's resources while the average Third World person lives on less than a dollar a day. George Kennan is considered to be the most important foreign policy analyst of the last century; as the architect of the Cold War policy of containment of the USSR, he put it in no uncertain terms:

"We have about 50% of the world's wealth, but only 6.3% of its population . . . In this situation we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security."[1]

These are soft and weasely words, but words that point to inevitable resource wars, unless we stop our gluttonous energy consumption now.

The warming climate and the end of cheap oil is a recipe for a bloody future for everybody, and we have no one but ourselves to blame.

Happy motoring, indeed.


[1] George F. Kennan, "PPS/23: Review of Current Trends in U.S. Foreign Policy." First published in Foreign Relations of the United States, 1948, Vol. 1, 509-529, it has been reprinted in Thomas H. Entzold and John Lewis Gaddis, eds., Documents on American Policy and Strategy, 1945-1950 (New York: Columbia University Press), 226-28; the quoted passage is at 226-27.

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