Saturday, September 11, 2004

Infighting among teammates

My friend and yours, Michael J. Gallimore of American Journal, has posted an essay that I admit I was a little shocked to see. Basically, he's arguing that oil is not only a rational reason to fight in Iraq, but is the most important thing that humankind could ever fight for. He then offers a Mad Max scenario that would happen tomorrow if the Middle East denied us oil (which he is apparently implying would happen if we admitted we were wrong about Iraq).

Let's put it bluntly: oil is our fucking blood. Got it? If you don't think so ask yourself what would happen if the tap was turned off tomorrow. (Hint: In some very finite number of days everything stops moving.)

It wouldn't at all surprise me to read this kind of thing on IMAO or Strong and Wrong, but when I read it on the American Journal, a blog I respect immensely, I become concerned. Is he right (and I wrong) that wars should be fought over oil and that the market, not Halliburton, has decided forever that electric/hydrogen cars and solar energy are not the future?


Michael said...

I linked to the post you referenced, and added the following comment:

Question: To whom will the Middle East sell its oil? Sure, China is becoming an alternative market, but they don't yet have the industrial capacity to purchase the kind of supplies that presently go to the west.

The market is a double edged sword. Yes, the Mideast has the product, but they have to sell it--after all, you can't drink it, eat it, or build with it.

We were embargoed for a time in the 70's (support of Israel in the '73 war was the reason), but I doubt OPEC has the ability to do that again--and given the recent price hike, I think they are more concerned with maximizing income (especially in the case of Venezuela. Chavez might not like us--with good reason, considering our involvement in the attempted coup and recent failed recall--but he will do business with us, as it provides income to push his domestic programs). Mexico, not being an OPEC member, will likewise export to us.

Sure, control of the tap certainly played into the decision to invade Iraq, but I don't think the situation is as dire as your post suggests. However, oil WILL run out one day--which means it would be a VERY good idea to look to alternatives. Good policy would allocate resources for R&D, while providing incentives for fuel efficiency--neither of which the Bush administration shows much sign of doing.

Thanks for posting the link.

Nick said...


I haven't read the article, yet. I've been too busy watching football this weekend. However, is oil a good reason to start a war? No, and contrary to what your ilk wants to believe, the Iraqi War was not started for that reason. Is oil a necessity right now? Yes. Are we going to run out soon if we don't find a way to get better gas mileage? Yes. Right now, we're very dependant on oil, and therefore, have to make friends w/ people who should be our enimies (Saudis). Personally, I think if we combine the ideas of both sides, explore in ANWAR and other places + pass laws insuring that vehicles maintain a certain mile/gal. rate, then we can become more self-dependant while we work on alternative sources. Right now, cars that run on alternative sources are not perfected and are not economically feasable for the majority of us.

Anonymous said...

The trouble with fundamentalists is that they take everything so literally. I hope that particular virus is not spreading. Please see my current post for more reaction to the "war for oil" story. In the meantime, remember that cars aren't the only things that run on oil derivatives. Next time you go to Home Depot walk down the plumbing aisle. You'll likely see a Rigid pipe threading machine. Note that it uses oil as it cuts a thread into a piece of steel pipe. Now consider the tens of millions of threads that are cut each year...

Michael J Gallimore said...

That last comment was, of course, not meant to be posted anonymously.

Ian McGibboney said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ian McGibboney said...

I definitely am aware of the incredible amounts of ways in which oil is beneficial in all sorts of construction. There's no argument there. I would be a hypocrite to suggest otherwise. It is because of this severe dependency that we cannot turn a blind eye to the end of oil. I think what our conflict comes down to is our respective answers to the question of how to solve this crisis in the long term. You say fight for oil, I say subvert the need for it in the first place as soon as possible.

(Edited for stupid spelling mistake)

Kyle said...

I love oil and so does Dubya! I can't wait until he's re-elected so we can begin drilling in Anwar. Less dependance on for'ners!