“…I knew that I could not ever again raise my voice against
the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly
to the greater purveyor of violence in the world: my own government.”
Martin Luther King in his “Beyond Vietnam” April 4, 1967 speech.
The Bush administration has chosen the path of unending war (not so much against
terrorism) but by pursuing a path of energy acquisition reliant on aggression
that stirs global reactions that lead to terrorism.
Simple fact about oil:
Fossil-based fuel is the world’s main source of energy, but an
increasing source of global conflict.
This article posits two main assumptions: (i) that global “peak oil”
is fast approaching its optimum level, and (ii) that the Bush administration’s
jingoism is directly correlated to US efforts at dominance over strategic oil
The foregoing observations, if they are to be credibly substantiated, require
us taking into account the following considerations:
1. An understanding of the geographical locations of the
world’s largest oil and gas deposits, that is, knowledge of “the
geography and politics of oil”.
2. An analysis of the concept of “peak oil”
and how this concept relates to the problem of global conflict
3. An awareness that the war in Iraq is part of a broader
US policy of aggressively pursuing global oil and natural gas reserves to
maintain the US economic and strategic dominance over the world.
Therefore, the Iraq war is only a part of an on-going oil war mechanism in
order for the US to maintain its economic and other types of hegemonic controls
Whatever doubts or reservations the reader may have at the commencement of
reading this article, after a careful grasp of the article’s arguments,
one should be left in no doubt that oil considerations dominate and guide US
foreign policy decisions. Therefore, as a result of this realisation, if one
were to entertain some lurking doubts about stated US public policy –
democracy, freedom, etc – that could be understandable, after reconsidering
US military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. For in contrast and in contradiction
to an apparent benign and enlightened Bush administration’s foreign policy
rhetoric, its militaristic adventures are simply neo-colonial wars. These wars
are imbedded in considerations (1) (2) and (3) above.
This numerical phrase, 9/11 and the catch-all phrase “war on terror”
have repeatedly been recited and relied on by the Bush administration to justify
military action in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the imposition of other draconian
measures on some of its own citizens, e.g. the Patriot Act, and other homeland
security measures. However, it has now been clearly demonstrated in all manner
of ways, and even by Bush’s belated grudging acknowledgement – the
euphemistic term faulty intelligence is used - that before the US invasion of
Iraq there was no training of, or support for terrorists in Iraq; that Iraq
was not intent on attacking the US. WMDs non-existence speaks volumes about
a lying and deceptive US administration. The term “terrorism” has
now become a fashionable tool or a tactic that some unscrupulous countries are
now using, taking their cue from the US, to crush or suppress any legitimate
dissent or opposition within or outside their borders. Viewed in this light,
a reconsideration of the concept of “war on terror” is warranted.
In the absence of a symmetrically positioned or clearly identifiable enemy
what is the precise target warranting billions of war dollars spent in war against
countries that lack military power to pose a military threat to the United States?
How does one defeat with tanks, missiles, bombs and guns an idea that may surface
in any sufficiently disaffected person’s mind? Some terrorist attacks
tend to be reactive and/or retaliatory. Thus 9/11 could be considered as horrific
blowback from the CIA having funded, armed and encouraged Muslim fundamentalist
militant actions cum Taliban regime. However, with about 15 Saudis directly
involved in the 9/11 attack the nexus of the attack raises even more questions
(visit www.911poof.com) beyond the assumption that one man stationed in remote
Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden, almost unilaterally orchestrated an attack which
US intelligence remained ineffective to stop. This article maintains that Afghanistan
and Iraq are essentially oil related military operations pursued by the US in
an on-going oil-war, (3) above.
The problem of globally diminishing supplies of fossil fuel supplies now brings
us to examine
(1) The geography and politics of oil.
There is a massive triangle within which the world’s largest supplies
of oil and natural gas are to be found. Within the area of this triangle are
to be found regions and countries such as:
• The Caspian Sea (with surrounding countries Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan,
Iran and Azerbaijan)
• Central Asia (including Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan,
Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and into China and India)
• The Persian and Arabian Gulf states (Oman, United Arab Emirates,
Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran)
These areas - this triangle of oil and natural gas - hold the world’s
greatest reserves of oil and natural gas, which are mirrored, in the global
politics of oil.
The US bombed, and has occupied Afghanistan pursuant to a declared policy of
pursuing Osama bin Laden. This is an aspect of the US “war on terror(ism)”.
There is a complementary logic of US military occupation of Afghanistan. If
the US is to become less dependent on Arab oil, its focus will be the oil and
natural gas resources of Central Asia and the Caspian Sea regions. However,
access to these alternative supplies of oil requires pipeline routes. Afghanistan’s
geographical position serves well, the oil and natural gas pipeline transit
requirements for a route from Central Asia to the Arabian Sea. For the US to
establish and keep the pipeline functional, Afghanistan will have to be politically
tamed. This political taming of Afghanistan, translates in military terms to
having an occupational force in Afghanistan, effectively for the policing of
the pipeline against sabotage and controlling the regime in Kabul to be within
a sphere accommodative to US oil interests. Viewed in this light, one can more
realistically understand sustained US military action in Afghanistan. If Turkmenistan
and Uzbekistan are to transit natural gas and oil independently of Russia, then
stability in Afghanistan (read: protection of an oil pipeline) is vital from
an oil geostrategic perspective. Although Afghanistan has very little oil, its
strategic importance resides in being a country central for transit to port.
US acceptance of Pakistan’s dictatorship under Musharraf is better understood
when one views Pakistan’s location next to the Arabian Sea and Afghanistan’s
proximity next to Pakistan – how is the oil to reach port if not through
Pakistan? In 2005 Russia briefly disrupted gas supplies via a pipeline transiting
gas through Ukraine. This action demonstrates the kind of strategic calculations
one would then encounter if significant supplies destined for the US had a reliance
on lines that traversed geographical territory that was under Russian or other
potentially threatening control.
There is a correlated US domestic politics of oil that operates quite personally
and directly within the White House. For a moment we might cast aside the fact
that the US uses 26% of the world’s oil supplies vis-à-vis all
other countries. The personal political oil components are in the personages
of President George Bush and Vice-President Richard ‘Dick’ Cheney.
Both persons are ‘oil men’. Both men are also aware of the implications
for oil supplies in an unstable Middle East. There is an occupied but resistant
Iraq as well as an uncertain and non-submissive Iran. Bush’s connections
to the oil and gas industries appear to be manipulated by Cheney’s more
experienced guiding hand. It has to be noted that in the 2000 Bush/Cheney Presidential
campaign Enron was the largest financial contributor.
An early post-inauguration act of Cheney’s was to invite contributions
for a national energy policy. Cheney, it might be recalled, had been the CEO
of Halliburton, a substantially large oil and gas services company. Bush once
owned an oil company. The input to a national energy policy for the US, would,
one might believe, be a reflection of a wide spread of concerned and affected
interests across the national spectrum - oil industry interests, community and
environmental interests, independent academic and scientific interests, alternative
energy supplier interests, the military and oversight Congressional interests.
Not so – what has come to be known as the “Cheney Energy Policy”
(because he orchestrated it) is a policy devised as US national energy policy
subservient to oil industry interests .
The end result is the billions into military occupation of a country that the
US wanted initially to punish when bin Laden had lived in that country and the
US now earnestly and compassionately wants to make Afghanistan free for democracy
– so the US remains as a truly concerned and militarily committed Uncle
Sam. More realistically one might consider that Turkmenistan has the fourth
largest natural gas reserves in the world estimated at 100 trillion cubic feet
and an Afghan pipeline is a direct route for exporting oil and gas from the
Caspian and Central Asian region. Again, there has been militarisation of America’s
energy policy. In its intentions as conceptually articulated (PNAC )
and its actions as perceived (Afghanistan and Iraq) American power projected
into the world seeks dominance with “shock and awe” for dominance
not least of all – over the world’s oil supplies.
There are other global considerations at work in the politics of oil –
US interests vis-a- vis Russia and China; the world community’s concerns
about human rights abuses in countries having large supplies of or being routes
of access to such supplies of oil and natural gas; the political intentions
of the leaders within countries having large reserves of oil and natural gas;
the currencies with which oil is traded are some of the factors at play in bringing
countries into line for US access to the world’s oil.
The Bush administration provided a rationale - the relentless pursuit of Osama
bin Laden - for carpet bombing of an already devastated post-Soviet occupation
Afghanistan. Terrorism is a reactive tactic which can be employed by anyone
anywhere in any country. Rational, even if not humane people, are expected to
accept that the US is pouring billions into the Afghan war for defence of “freedom”.
Again, consider Turkmenistan with the fourth largest natural gas reserves in
the world estimated at 100 trillion cubic feet and the need for an Afghan pipeline.
Russia’s temporary turning off in 2005 of the gas pipelines shipping gas
through Ukraine (to Ukraine and some European countries) is an indication of
the kinds of interplay between oil/gas pricing – supply routes and global
political strategies. Political tolerance of or resistance to suppliers’
domestic political circumstances works equally for Russia’s strategic
pressure on Ukraine as it does with US political responses of tolerance for
human rights abuses in Kazakhstan or Uzbekistan.
If one is to be quite cold-blooded about the geo-politics of oil then the following
appears to be the immediate probabilities. There will be an increase in American
and Russian competition for oil. The fight will not necessarily be direct military
confrontation, but proxy political wars will be fought intermittently. Russia
is likely to cooperate with China on oil issues in Central Asia. Russia’s
reactions on oil issues vis-à-vis Europe’s (read EU) strategy in
satisfying its oil needs will be largely a preference for diplomacy over military
action. With regard to the US its global focus on oil supplies signals a policy
of aggressive military interventions as and when the circumstances permit or
are deemed necessary in US interest. In response to US energy policy, the EU
and Russia will find themselves afforded political and diplomatic maneuvering
room with oil rich countries. The current issue of whether or not Iran can be
permitted to become a nuclear power is indicative of this process of the US
military stick behind the diplomatic carrots of the Russians and Europeans (see:
footnote  for further considerations).
Common sense and common humanity would dictate reliance on multilateral solutions
and peaceful cooperation for resolving the global energy crisis, but rationality
is not always man’s or for that matter the Bush administration’s
(2) Concept of “Peak Oil” and its related problem
The Iraq conflict was accurately predicted by W.C. Clark (“The real reasons
for the upcoming war with Iraq: a macroeconomic and geostrategic analysis of
the unspoken truth”)  and the concept of “peak
oil” serves well to explain central sources of coming global conflicts.
In a simple economic form “peak oil” means that the world’s
demand for oil has outstripped supply.
More detail is required to grasp the concept of “peak oil” for
it means the point when global ultimate recoverable reserves of oil begin to
decline. Grasp of the concept as a dynamic process, requires thinking of the
rate at which the world produces oil vis-à-vis the rate at which globally
available oil is consumed. Next, consider the economic impact on oil prices
once global reserves have passed the half way mark of all globally available
reserves. The “peak oil” problem starts from the halfway point of
declining global reserves, and when supply is not able to meet rising demand.
This process pushes oil prices upwards.
Some people find it convenient to assume – e.g. Dick Cheney, that the
global oil problem arises when the global supply has been exhausted. Cheney’s
assumption implies that simply tapping into more oil from Alaska or wherever
addresses the problem. However, if there is a glass half full and more is being
taken from a fixed non-renewable supply – where does that leave the contents
of the glass? Again, the difficulty is, the ensuing decline from the peak. That
is to say at the point where half of all oil discoverable has been discovered,
and half of the recoverable amount is recovered. At this point ‘peak oil’,
the economic consequences of the absence of abundant and cheap fossil fuels,
impacts countries in the form of rising oil prices. With rising oil prices,
poor non-oil producing countries are severely impacted because balance of payments
debts worsen for them in their attempts at maintaining domestic energy supplies.
Prescient analysts such as Hubbert (his 1956 work that predicted the peak for
US domestic oil production and the 1970s oil crisis) , Clarke
(his analysis of the then approaching Iraq oil war)  and
Campbell (his prediction that 2007 is the global “peak oil” year)
 are important intellectual assessments worthy of consideration
if one wants to understand how the problem of short energy supplies operates.
We need only remind ourselves that fossil fuel is the primary source of energy
for the world, is a depleting non-renewable resource, and will rise in price
as supplies decline. As William Clark has quite cogently explained, there are
correlations between available reserves, currencies, higher oil prices, economic
downturns and war .
Why diminishing world supplies of oil give cause for increased global conflagrations
over accessibility and/or control of oil and gas supplies is easily discernible.
By 2004 the annual compounded rate of global demand for oil was running at
just in excess of 2%. Global demand rates for oil, not surprisingly, are highest
in the industrialised world. However both China and India, with populations
each of over 1 billion are countries rapidly industrialising and their economic
development implies increasing demands for energy - oil. Africa has 0.8 billion
people and will ultimately advance along the path of industrialisation (South
Africa is but one African country launched on the path some 54 others hope to
follow). In South America the population is 0.35 billion people and Brazil’s
expanding industrialisation process is a further assurance of the world’s
increasing demand for oil. While the industrialised North via the WTO is stubbornly
refusing easy access for African agricultural produce, this does not imply that
the global demand for oil will be stablised or placed in decline by reason of
slowed advance towards industrialisation on one continent. Increasing use of
the internal combustion engine in all countries will ensure that in both industrialised
and non-industrialised countries the demand for oil will continue. Global oil
supply is predicted to peak within this decade (i.e. by 2010). Colin Campbell
has pinpointed 2007 as the global “peak oil” year .
Without changes in how the world’s energy is provided we can therefore
expect increased conflicts over oil supplies, of which Iraq is the start of
a more aggressive process by the US for control of the world’s large deposits.
(3) Iraq is part of an on-going oil war
“Freedom” and “democracy” are proffered as credible
secondary or even tertiary reasons after the primary reason provided by George
Bush for the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. The primary reason given: to rid Saddam
of WMDs. The US invasion was belatedly presented as a principled rescue mission
to remove the yoke of Saddamist oppression from around the necks of the long-suffering
Iraqis. There are however some considerable credibility factors of fabrication,
inconsistency and lies plaguing the ‘principled’ rescue mission
. And be assured that one can readily discern consistency
and credibility in this declared US foreign policy - or can we? (cf. Uzbekistan
- natural gas and oil - terror dictatorship - freedom? - democracy? - US ally).
In 1997 the US State Department issued a report that acknowledged Uzbek government
“torture”, “repression” and widespread human rights
abuses . In 1995 the US had started joint military training
of Uzbek forces and the US continues to give grants to Uzbekistan to buy military
equipment. Human rights abuses - natural oil and gas - US friendship and military
training - Washington’s certification for continued assistance - work
well together in Uzbekistan. It is to this country’s prisons that captured
foreigners are secretly taken under the US government’s ‘Rendition’
programme to a country where the State Department has documented that torture
is widely practised . To be fair, US/Uzbek relations have
also been strained. In May 2005, the Uzbek government bloodily suppressed a
rebellion in the eastern town of Andizhan and this drew US criticism. Uzbekistan
did evict the US base about July 2005. However, when oil and US oil companies
come into play, one is left with the impression of abiding tolerance of the
human rights abuses that without resolute international pressure are unlikely
to abate in the near future . When NATO demanded in 2005
an international investigation into Islam Karimov’s abuses, the US vetoed
With North Korea having openly stated its continued development of nuclear
capabilities and at a time when Iraq under UN sanctions had been known to have
disarmed, it is the country no longer possessing WMDs that the US decides to
invade - makes sense - but only if the underlying reason for invading Iraq is
clearly understood. The single clearest and most logical reason for the US invasion
of Iraq remains an effort by the US to dominate Iraqi oil sales. The word “dominate”
is chosen for it is the commanding influence over the currency in which Iraqi
oil is sold that is primarily important. Opponents to this idea would observe
that the US is capable of buying all the oil it needs as oil is traded globally
This brings us to the point of understanding the real reason for US invasion
of Iraq. Saddam’s selling of Iraq’s oil in the Euro (as of 2000)
was more of an explosive threat to US interests than any WMDs so far found in
Iraq by George Bush. If not by political persuasion for continued Iraqi oil
sales in the US dollar, then by invasion to finally fix the problem. Consider
the precipitous impact on the US economy when petrodollars rapidly cease to
subsidise US living standards. The Bush administration perceived this threat
as requiring the alternative to political resolution – military action
- as Saddam was resolved and not playing according to US rules. There are subsidiary
other reasons as well: (1) muscle flexing of the sole superpower
(2) placating and enhancing regional cooperation with Israel
(3) reshaping the Middle East into a sphere of US hegemony
under the guise of promoting “democracy” (4) pursuing a personal
agenda of revenge against Saddam’s misdeed of trying to kill Daddy Bush
(5) muscle flexing by Jr. by finishing what Daddy Bush had
commenced in Gulf War 1 and going all the way to dominating Iraq (6)
following Project for the New American Century ( PNAC) recommendations and translating
neo-conservative thoughts into action.
However, notwithstanding all of these other motivational factors oil remains
the core factor for the US invasion of Iraq. There are several dictatorships
in the world, and one does find it hard to visualise a US invasion into any
non-oil producing country in Africa with the proclamations and degree of military
commitment to establish “democracy” that George Bush has professed
towards Iraq. In a certain ironic sense, one might consider that in 1954 it
was the CIA that had effected the overthrow of Mossadeq, a democratically elected
and Western leaning moderate Iranian nationalist. His was one of many in a series
of CIA engineered coups and US destabilisation endeavors that placed numerous
dictators in power around the world (Iran, Indonesia, Democratic Republic of
the Congo, Iraq to mention some CIA successes and US humanitarian missions).
Friendly US assistance in Iran’s case, with US support for the brutal
and dictatorial Shah, directly correlated to the fact of Mossadeq having nationalised
Iran’s oil. Invasion and US military resolve in Iraq bears a similar direct
proportionate correlation to the large reserves of oil in Iraq, as does the
Afghanistan military mission relate to US strategic interests in establishing
The pretexts of defence of “freedom” and “democracy”
in Iraq came only after the crucial justification of invading to remove the
threat of WMDs had been widely discredited. However in US domestic politics
it would appear somewhat crass, if not politically disastrous, for President
Bush to be professing the truth to the American people that he really did invade
Iraq to ensure sale of Iraqi oil in the dollar  and for
assurance that the world’s second largest supplies of oil in the world
remains under US domination for petrodollars. In the corporate controlled media
as well as in the political consciousness of the American people there is some
measure of misplaced focus and significant measures of unawareness of the role
that oil has played historically and continues to play in directing US foreign
policy in the Middle East, Central Asia and counties bordering the Caspian Sea
US foreign policy in the Middle East is best understood not so much in terms
of spreading democracy in Iraq, or defending human rights, or any country’s
pursuit of nuclear capabilities. These are the political terms in which the
hard sell of protecting “vital interests” (oil) has to be presented
to the populace. The primary US focus and motivational factor in the Middle
East is the oil.
There is a geography of oil related global conflicts and there are complementary
policies that aggressively support US strategic steps for domination (if not
direct control over) the world’s oil reserves. The US has 5% of the world’s
population, consumes 26% of the world’s oil, but has only 2% of the world’s
oil reserves within its boundaries. US foreign policy therefore focuses both
politically and militarily on dominating sources of supply (e.g. invasion of
Iraq) and controlling via petrodollars the world’s trading of oil (e.g.
opposition to the advancing Iranian oil bourse) . There
is an exhaustible global supply of fossil fuel and Iraq has the second largest
supply of oil on the planet. It is with a focus on oil that consideration of
primary US foreign policy motives in Iraq therefore has to begin and from there
one can then better grasp the related problem of US aggression in pursuit of
the world’s oil supplies.
The simple solution to the world’s oil supply problem is the development
of alternative sustainable and affordable sources of energy.
Some globally necessary steps for consideration are: -
1. Development of affordable and sustainable alternative
sources of energy.
2. Viewing the ‘peak oil” problem as essentially
a global energy consumption problem requiring global multilateral action for
fair resolution. In 1956 M. King Hubbert’s prediction that domestic
US oil supplies would peak in the 1970s now implies more serious and urgent
attention as global peak approaches (i.e. there is no oil on the moon to be
tapped – the world’s supplies are declining on the bell-curve
and will in consequence mean more expensive oil). Vice President Dick Cheney
is fully aware of the peak oil problem as he expressed in a 1999 speech: -
“By some estimates, there will be an average of two-percent annual growth
in global oil demand over the years ahead, along with, conservatively, a three-percent
natural decline in production from existing reserves. That means by 2010 we
will need on the order of an additional 50 million barrels a day.” The
Cheney Energy Report  does not recommend either domestic
conservationism on fossil fuel use or development of alternative energy supplies,
but implies militarism to secure oil supplies and therein is the problem of
the Bush administration’s unilateralist or isolationist approach to
this global problem. Accessing more of a limited supply implies more costly
oil, and the core problem of a sustainable energy supply remains unaddressed.
3. Utilising international protocols to shift global energy
usage from fossil fuel to alternative energy sources.
4. Communicating from the global to national and community
levels and implementing policies at those national and community levels for
energy conservation supported by incentives for more responsible energy usage.
Hydrogen, solar, ethanol, geothermal heat and wind or wave generated sources
of energy are probable solutions if appropriate investments in research and
development are made. The industrialised world would have to make significant
adjustments in its pattern of energy consumption and the US would have to be
involved as the world’s largest consumer of fossil fuel. More efficient
engines, vehicles that took account of weight to energy consumption ratios,
development of household energy storage cells, and industries reliance on alternatives
for fossil fuel energy are some of the adjustment considerations. However the
industrialised world’s monetary and oil interests are interwoven. The
further difficulty is that vested oil interests see a threat to profits in an
industry upon which the world is wooed by the internal combustion engine (cars
and planes propelled by oil) and energy supplies (electricity) that are dependent
on oil supplies that make lucrative profits for globally powerful and influential
The Cheney Report (National Energy Policy) perceives military solutions and
the US energy problem as integrated. The problem is that the Cheney report assumes
that short supply is the real problem with no honest response to the peak oil
pricing problem and the fundamentals that cry out for responsible attention
– clean energy supply – affordable energy – non-militaristic
access to energy sources – development of alternative energy technologies
are the issues to be addressed. There is no intention within the Bush administration
of making rational adjustments about US domestic energy units consumed and a
decisive shift towards alternative, sustainable and less costly sources of energy
as a part of US national energy policy .
The development of alternative energy sources nevertheless remains a global
imperative and not a mere hair-brained political desire. In present US domestic
political terms the “Project for the New American Century” is an
influential think-tank for the Bush Administration. While “freedom”
and “democracy” are terms used by the PNAC, as in Paul Wolfowitz’s
reference to Iraq in terms of “a love of life and democracy”, a
love of oil and gas would be closer the mark. The harsh and brutal reality is
that for all the talk about liberating Iraq, the US military effort is in actuality
about US interests - oil - regional domination of the Middle East’s oil
supplies by the US - and a global strategy of inflicting on the world the US’s
unipolar objectives. In this sense, the PNAC is accurate when it speaks of unending
war, because a retreat from multilateralism (e.g. US violation of UN efforts
for peacefully resolving the Iraq WMD issue via continuation to final inspections
by the IAEA) does actually imply war . But imperial empires
have overreached themselves in the past and history will bear out that the current
US foreign policy trajectory will ultimately arrive at the same end of over-extension
Practical steps in the necessary rational and peaceful direction of alternative
energy sources have been taken by Japan (hydrogen cell research), Brazil (ethanol
for fuel power), Portugal (constructing the world’s largest solar powered
plant and spending $307 million on the project), and Denmark (30% of its national
energy supplies converted to wind generated supplies). The alternative technologies
are not as developed, efficient or diverse in application as the ways in which
oil has been used, however concerted effort through scientific research can
change that fact.
Accepting that the oil companies will not willingly advance agendas of developing
alternative supplies (why should they research their demise?), thoughts about
effecting the necessary changes remain important for the quality of life of
the world’s ordinary citizens and need to be placed in international fora
as an important global problem requiring timely solutions.
The United Nations is a global forum where the world’s problems are deliberated.
The consequences of the recent struggle over oil in Iraq remain current in global
and therefore UN collective consciousness as evidence of the emerging intensified
scramble for oil. The International Atomic Agency is an important energy related
agency within the UN system that has specific mandates. Could the IAEA be a
useful existing forum for expansion of a global agenda into addressing wider
global energy issues?
If the interrelations between oil - nuclear power/political power - industrialised
societies demand for global oil supplies - absence of sufficient technological
innovations based on alternative energy supplies - and skewed global economic
distributions between the industrialised nations and suppliers of oil vis-à-vis
non-industrialised countries are noted - then the same anxieties that the IAEA
has for non- nuclear proliferation could be merged into a comprehensive energy
forum for finding globally sustainable energy alternatives.
I have suggested the UN comprehensively addressing the world’s energy
problems because neither oil companies themselves, nor powerful individual industrialised
countries are likely to be catalysts for fairness (witness the unfairness within
the WTO and Doha round - Professor Robert Hunter Wade of the London School of
Economics in a November 4,2005, letter to the London Financial Times observed:
“Sixty per cent of the increase in world consumption over the 1990s accrued
to people living in the upper half of the developed countries’ income
distribution, less than 10 per cent of the world’s population; and most
of the rest to the burgeoning middle class of China.”). There is an International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAE) that has a market analysis perspective, but there
remains a need for a properly funded global organization to assist nations’
transformation into alternative energy as the “peak oil” problem
impacts all countries.
Notwithstanding, as the global energy crisis looms there is no more realistic
response than recourse to a (the) globally empowered body – the UN. Levels
of energy units consumed per country of a specific non-renewal resource have
to be assessed by reference to more rational applications of substitute renewable
energy sources. A shift towards globally affordable energy will also have to
be assisted by some form of grass roots consciousness about the types of interrelationships
between - oil - currency and exchange rates - global demand for energy - skewed
global wealth distribution - war - poverty. The UN can function as an effective
global intermediary between private greed and global public need, by attracting
funding from governments as well as private corporations (a few billion more
from Bill Gates maybe?) to advance along the path of stable supplies of affordable
and sustainable energy supplies. And in reflecting on recent related events
in Iraq, we can appreciate the attractiveness of “democracy”, yet
we can also reject its cynical invocation as a last minute clutch at a straw
of credibility in a US led oil war.
A US cynical disdain for “freedom” extends beyond Iraq (for there
can be no genuine “freedom” as in Hamid Khazi’s Afghanistan
where a “puppet” is manipulated into power to advance US oil interests.
The need remains for a popular, democratic and indigenously supported movement
pursuing national development by utilising the country’s natural resources
for the greater benefit of its people. Afghanistan remains a country devastated
first by Soviet occupation and then by the ‘liberating’ cluster
bombs of the US setting out militarily to embed for development of the pipeline).
The predictable pattern, as in Saudi Arabia, will be US complicity with wrongdoing
in oil rich regimes under a corrupt oligarchy - with or without the label of
“democracy” - being manipulated by foreign interests. Uzbekistan
is a friendly and acceptable country, albeit an oil and natural gas rich regime
practising widespread torture, while the democratically elected leader of Venezuela
is not acceptable to the US.
The US extends its tolerance of “freedom” and “democracy”
to the point where policies of true independence not submissive to US dictates
start to emerge – i.e. autonomous policies of development for the people’s
welfare. Venezuela in this regard is thus to be labeled a pariah state, notwithstanding
its democratically elected leader, and Uzbekistan, with the dictatorial Karimov
and US State Department documentation of widely practised torture is a tolerable
friend to which the US secretly sends “Rendition prisoners”. Under
current US foreign policy “freedom” does appear to be submission
to US economic interests . US support for the overthrow
of a democratically elected leader in Venezuela is itself a quite revealing
example of cynicism in action as democracy is to be defeated wherever independent
action advances. Hugo Chavez in Venezuela was the target of a 2002 US supported
coup and Iraq remains a country illegally invaded and occupied by the US - both
having significant supplies of oil. What one discerns is this manipulative process
of domination under US imperial rule. As a country submits to the dictates of
US economic policies so its people suffer, and as any truly democratic or popular
force resists US domination in pursuit of a people’s struggle for independence
and development the US opposes, subverts or invades. Venezuela and Uzbekistan
are current recent representative examples of this foreign policy at work.
Future global demands for oil will increase and therefore US (and probably
other countries) aggression over access to oil can realistically be anticipated.
In the breech between the world’s demand for oil and the shortage of global
supply one therefore sees roles for global political consciousness as well as
for the UN as broker between old interests in the industrialised world and new
technological opportunities, as well as for other forces. Bodies of concerned
citizens, human rights activists, media commentators, alternative energy suppliers,
elements within business and industry sufficiently concerned about their own
need for affordable energy and even politicians are some potential forces for
One is presently aware that a Mom at home in Idaho or a villager in Ghana
will not in the least be interested in what is written here. If ever those individuals
broach thoughts about “peak oil”, the concept will sound like the
thoughts of a Martian visitor from outer space. Yet the concept is quite real
and earthly as it impacts the cost of heating for the Idaho Mom’s home
or putting fuel in her car, as much as it is relevant to the cost of kerosene
for cooking in Ghana. Yet, there are still detractors who ignore the hard statistical
evidence, and assume that the oil depletion problem is mythology .
Martin Luther King shortly before his death had opposed the Vietnam War. President
Johnson had started the Vietnam War with a lie when he forgot the international
dateline and announced a North Vietnamese attack on a US vessel the day before
the incident actually occurred, the Bay of Tonkin incident launching the war.
President Bush lied with Secretary of State Colin Powell’s helpful address
to the UN that Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction hidden in Iraq.
Bush himself knowing the opposite to be true repeated the lie and sought to
deceive Americans and the world that Saddam assisted with the 9/11 attack, .
It is for such reasons that thousands of people are bombed and American soldiers
are sacrificing their lives.
Hungry interests constructed lies (the “dodgy dossier”) to embark
on a bloody strategy of control and domination of Middle Eastern oil. However,
despite the deceptions and the more palatable proclamations about genuine interest
in the pursuit of “freedom” and “democracy” (reminiscent
of words used by Kennedy in a letter sent to the South Vietnamese installed
leader) there is a juncture where honestly oil must be placed as central in
the foreign policy calculus. Rather oil always has been central in US foreign
policy assessments, but the American people themselves need to become more aware
and enlightened about the depth and implications of their leaders’ lies,
deceptions and ruthless pursuits of interests inimical to both the American
people and the world (30,000 to 100,000 people dead and hundreds others harmed
and maimed is a very heavy price to pay - not for “freedom” and
“democracy” as Bush lies about - but for oil and gas).
The Uranium Information Centre in Melbourne, Australia, confirms that there
are 31 countries with nuclear power plants. There are a further 7 seeking to
acquire nuclear capabilities. The US bellicose position on Iran, in attempting
to justify another oil war against Iran would have to be seen in the light of
what actually is the position in the world and not the world from George Bush’s
“nuclear bait” line to hook American public opinion. A 32nd country
having nuclear capabilities will not be a threat to the US.
The anti-nuclear arguments presently being run are the equivalent of Bush’s
WMD ruse in his build up to attacking Iraq. Afghanistan’s invasion is
justified by 9/11; Iraq’s invasion was predicated on WMDs; and, war is
to be justified in Iran by resistance to Iran acquiring nuclear capabilities.
Can the American people continue to be duped by the military service dodger
- George Bush ? Are any of these oil wars being fought by Bush or Cheney
or Rumsfeld or Powell’s children? Is it credible for the American people
to endorse the hypocrisy of the US policy of setting out to overthrow a democratically
elected leader (Venezuela), ignoring a dictatorial and torturous ruler (Uzbekistan)
and illegally invading where oil’s petrodollars are sought (Iraq)?
For decades the US has supported an oligarchic and corrupt dictatorship in
Saudi Arabia –why no concerned or timely effecting of change where the
US has had direct influence and military bases ? One has
to look at the real reasons of oil interests to make sense of the US policy
postures of professed concerns over human rights or democracy or non-proliferation.
In the mid-1980s the US had not only praised Saddam as progressive for educating
Iraqi women and advancing the Iraqi people’s welfare (vis-à-vis
other Arab states), but rewarded him by selling significant amounts of dual-purpose
arms exports. Was it not possible for the US to have supported a UN veto in
the 1980s against Saddam’s human rights abuses instead of having supported
him? Maybe the CIA having installed Saddam would have then made it counterintuitive
to overthrow him before he struck out on an independent course of action (i.e.
selling oil in the Euro in 2000).
The war in Iraq was started by deceit and little that Bush does conveys any
credibility in management of this illegal war. Where is there principle, credibility
or genuine interest in the welfare of the invaded Iraqis or for the welfare
of unsuspecting and co-opted US soldiers fighting for what? - Oil! Having destroyed
Iraq the US will insist on selling its produce to Iraq with Iraqi oil money
spent as loosely as is convenient in the US interest. Proven deceits of those
who started the oil war in Iraq urge reconsideration of US foreign policy as
it relates to domination over Middle Eastern oil supplies. Every reader of this
article is invited seriously to consider the implications of Bush nuking Iran.
Bush is running the line of Iran being a “real threat” to the US
and in real terms this signals that Chief Bush is on the warpath again. The
US in fact has been the greatest force in militarising the Middle East and it
has also resolutely and consistently rejected any linkage between a country’s
human rights record and sales to that country of arms - where is there humanity
or principle manifested in policy?
The Project for the New American Century has prescribed unending war, and war
will be the result when warmongers embark on a policy of invasions and support
of dictators to dominate desired sales of oil supplies in dollars. A more sober
and peace focused world system’s theory is a rational alternative. The
Bush administration has chosen the path of unending war (not so much against
terrorism but by pursuing a path of energy acquisition reliant on aggression
that stirs global reactions that lead to terrorism). The bellicose policies
that the PNAC advocates most definitely stir reactions of resentment and retaliation.
War is the PNAC mantra and peace converted into globally sustainable energy
supplies for the world will have to be Bush’s and the PNAC’s nemesis.
The problem, I suppose, is not that I understand why the US has invaded and
occupied Afghanistan or Iraq, but that so many Americans have yet to comprehend
what is being done in their name.
Analysis, consensus building, rational solutions for the energy problem affecting
all energy users on the planet is a better path to follow than the presently
designed path of exacerbating global conflict for dominance over oil resources.
Common sense dictates a need to recognise the ways in which oil as the world’s
primary source of energy directs not only US foreign policy, but also impacts
all citizens of the world. Some people are in countries where increasing oil
prices have devastated their already oil dependent economies; some people in
industrialised countries perceive their civilization and/or economic progress
threatened by inadequate access to affordable oil supplies; and in all non oil
producing countries there is greater strain placed on national budgets to pay
for oil . Decision makers in the US bombed, invaded, occupied
and caused at lowest estimate over 30,000 innocent civilian deaths in Iraq’s
oil war. These are the discernible human consequences of the way in which powerful
interests pursue the ends of dominance over global oil supplies. Human beings
do enter the calculations of “peak oil” and on the present trajectory
of US foreign policy increasingly as corpses in coming oil wars. We ought to
consider ways in which alternative energy supplies can be developed and utilised.
Humankind made itself dependent on oil as a primary energy source and human
beings can therefore find ways, as an imperative, of weaning ourselves on to
alternative sustainable and more peacefully accessible sources of energy supplies.
Courtenay Barnett is a graduate of London University. His
areas of study were economics, political science and international law. He has
been a practising lawyer for over twenty years, has been arrested for defending
his views, and has argued public interest and human rights cases. His web site:
 See: National Energy Policy at www.whitehouse.gov/energy
Legal battles are advancing where disclosure is being sought of details within
the report, to connect Cheney with wrongdoing in respect of Halliburton and
his cronyism, but aspects of this energy policy report that affects the US and
the world are being suppressed.
 See: http://www.newamericancentury.org/
for the PNAC’s statement of its goals for the US: -“ The Project
for the New American Century is a non-profit educational organization dedicated
to a few fundamental propositions; that American leadership is good for America
and for the world; and that such leadership requires military strength, diplomatic
energy and commitment to moral principle.”
This global objective is so reminiscent of the earlier domestic version expressed
by a General Motors CEO that what was good for General Motors was good for America.
The US Department of Defense has a $425b annual budget. It can realistically
be anticipated that in consequence of the Bush administration’s reliance
on PNAC prescriptions, ever increasing sums will be required for establishment
of permanent military bases in oil important countries and for the prosecution
of oil wars.
— “The real reasons for the upcoming war with Iraq: a macroeconomic
and geostrategic analysis of the unspoken truth” by W.C. Clark.
 See, inter alia: M. King Hubbert, “Energy from
Fossil Fuels”, Science, vol. 109, pp. 103-109, February 4, 1949. Hubbert
also wrote about the handicap of two systems he termed “matter-energy”
and “monetary culture”.
 See: “The Coming Oil Crisis” by Colin Campbell
Multi-Science Publishing Co. Ltd., 2004, ISBN 0906522110. His work can be viewed
at www.peakoil.net. Also note the book
by Kenneth Deffeyes, “Hubbert’s Peak: The impending world oil shortage”.
 Consider these statements: -
“Hussein has not developed any significant capability with respect to
weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against
–Colin Powell on February 24, 2001
“Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons
of mass destruction,”
–Dick Cheney on August 26, 2002.
“Our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile of between
100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent. That is enough agent to fill 16,000
battlefield rockets. Even the low end of 100 tons of agent would enable Saddam
Hussein to cause mass casualties across more than 100 square miles of territory,
an area nearly five times the size of Manhattan.”
“Intelligence leaves no doubt that Iraq continues to possess and conceal
–Colin Powell at the UN on February 5, 2003
–George W. Bush on March 18, 2003
“We are asked to accept Saddam decided to destroy those weapons. I say
that such a claim is palpably absurd.”
Tony Blair, Prime Minister 18 March 2003
“Saddam’s removal is necessary to eradicate the threat from his
weapons of mass destruction.”
Jack Straw, British Foreign Secretary 2 April 2003
“Before people crow about the absence of weapons of mass destruction,
I suggest they wait a bit.”
Tony Blair 28 April, 2003
One need not crow but honestly ask whether French and Russian intelligence
assessments belying the statements that came after Colin’s Powell’s
February 24, 2001 statement, coupled with the calculated lies about yellow cake
from Niger and the “dodgy dossier” fabricated by British Intelligence
and handed to the US (assisting Powell’s statement to the UN on February
5, 2003) can leave any sensible and rational person in doubt about the levels
of dishonesty, collusion, fabrication and calculated deception that led the
invasion of Iraq in 2003.
 See: Any recent US State Department annual report on
Uzbekistan’s human rights record. There is clear documentation of widespread
abuses, known to the US government.
 The former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray,
resigned in principled protest at his government’s willfully ignoring
widespread torture practised by the Uzbek government. Details on his position
can be found at www.craigmurray.co.uk.
On May 13, 2005, over 700 people under the leadership of Islam Karimov were
slaughtered in Uzbekistan for protesting for democracy. However, the calls for
“democracy” in Uzbekistan are not an interest neutral movement.
Such movements correlate to external geostrategic interests. As former US Ambassador
Jeane Kirkpatrick astutely delineated, there were “totalitarian”
and “authoritarian” regimes. The former being those tolerated as
not being unduly harmful to US interests and the latter being those outside
the ambit of acceptability. Karimov from present indications remains in the
former grouping, being tolerated as of use to larger US interests.
 See: ” The real reasons why Iran is the next target:”
The Asian Energy Security Grid; Shanghai Cooperation Council; Iranian oil bourse
are energy supply initiatives moving independently of the US and as such are
therefore deemed threats to US energy resource dominance or control. Dollars
as payment for oil compels countries to rely on the US dollar. These transactions
of petrodollars provide a massive global subsidy for the US economy. The Iranian
oil bourse will be an alternative of payment in the Euro afforded the world’s
oil purchasers (as Saddam had done under the UN “Oil for food programme”.
Post-invasion Iraq witnessed the US canceling all non-dollar Iraqi oil sales.
Exclusive dollar trading is good for the US, but is unhelpful for a world holding
depreciating dollars). Iran’s threat in an economic sense is that it will
offer the world an alternative to petrodollars and the US will therefore endeavour
via military or sabotage or propaganda or whatever means to halt the process
of a shift into Euro trading. The US response to the 1970s domestic “peak
oil” problem was by way of special and secret arrangements with a corrupt
Saudi oligarchy for recycling of petrodollars. A reason for such secrecy relates
to the fact that such arrangements conflicted with US commitments to other industrialised
nations to avoid pursuit of unilateral policies. Cf. the difficulty of the US
facing global “peak-oil”, and now on a global scale pursing unilateralism
a la PNAC recommendations. From a US perspective, the dilemma is one of finding
comparative political and/or economic formulae that work to the overwhelming
economic benefit of the US, as has been the case with Saudi Arabia. The American
populace remains emotionally manipulated by appeals to nationalistic defence
of the homeland – but their economic circumstances are not that simple
and need in American collective consciousness correlation to broader global
factors that are affecting the cost of America’s supply of oil. The PNAC
has quite clearly honed in on the fact of America’s dependence on oil
and has also opted for the military imperative. Interestingly the CIA head of
Mossadeq’s overthrow in 1953, Kermit Roosevelt (grandson of Theodore Roosevelt),
wrote then “ If we are ever going to try something like this again, we
must be absolutely sure that (the) people and army want what we want”.
Clearly in Venezuela they didn’t and in Iraq – well – maybe
the mission is not yet accomplished.
 The Indian publication, “The Hindu” in its
Sunday, April 13, 2003 edition had this to say about the US ‘coalition’
in Iraq: “That these fictions are believed nowhere in the planet except
in the United States is a tribute to the capacity of U.S. corporate media to
manipulate their public. So, even as their image takes a beating, don’t
underestimate their ability to sell war and death. They’ve been doing
it — with some success — for decades”
 See: “Thermodynamics and money” by Peter
Huber at www.forbes.com
 See: http://planetforlife.com/oilcrisis/oilreserves.html
for a credible overview of the world’s oil reserves.
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