Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Shortly after my recents posts in the Oliver and the Oil Pipeline, I tripped over this bit by Michael T Klare, where he surveys the shifting geostrategic picture around oil resources. In a nutshell, he talks about US bases in Australia, Chinese versus ASEAN posturing around contentious bits of water with potential reserves, the Caspian, and of course the latest sabre-rattling between Iran and the US over the Straight of Hormuz.

A couple of things stand out about this apparent return to full-time Great Game posturing after the Bush-era clumsiness of invasions and occupations (they never understood that you don't actually want go to war).  First is that nowhere, anywhere, in all these great powers has a serious amount of effort gone into attempts to take oil out of the equation. The amount of effort and expense that goes into strategic planning, building blue-water navies, and setting up new military bases to leverage access to the remaining oil deposits is astounding. Serious domestic policies and international agreements aimed at drastically reducing fossil energy reliance would go much further to alleviating the tensions and risk of disaster that strategic posturing promotes. However, this idea seems to escape all those slick advanced degreed international relations and strategic studies people in foreign services who still can't get over their Hobbesian realism (or fear of it) enough to share a dinner bill, let alone an international treaty or two. It's oil or anarchy, war if necessary.

The second thing that stood out was that Klare provides a context for Oliver Oil's comments about environmentalists and other "radicals." If he and his cohort lump those opposed to domestic fossil fuel development in the same boat as an Iran threatening close access to the Persian Gulf, then we have a bit of a problem. Oliver's rhetoric looks like a trial balloon for some interesting shifts in Conservative rhetoric. As I told a friend a while ago that they'd ring the Tar Sands in tanks and wire, forcibly relocate communities, rather than kerb development. A government quite happy to let the police lock up a thousand people on a secret law, no time for democracy, a serious martial fetish, and a fanatical allegiance to a petrol economy could be a serious threat to a lot of Canadians if it starts painting them with certain brushes.


Anonymous said...

I've never understood this unassailable dedication towards oil either. Most oil production is conducted highly unethically by people who would be in prison if they were in oil.
The ethical thing to do is to cut oil out completely and the best way to do this is to fund research into as many alternatives as possible. If oil was rendered unnecessary for use as an energy source we could save this precious limited material for other less destructive uses. In fact we could research more positive and useful ways of using this raw material.
Lots of winning and employment there, but not to the benefit of those folk for whom the right are paid to carry water for.

Holly Stick said...

I think part of it is that clean energy sources can be individual and decentralized, so you won't have one big corporation controlling them.

Better for the consumer, better for the country with less likelihood of massive blackouts, but less money for Monstercorp. They don't like small is beautiful.

opit said...

Arms merchants : why would they want war, I wonder ?
Ethical thing to cut out oil completely.

Well, this went nowhere

Adding http://www.technewsworld.com/story/Power-Plant-One-Small-Leaf-Could-Electrify%20an-Entire-Home-72156.html?wlc=1308496391 to http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2011-08/13-year-old-designs-breakthrough-solar-array-based-fibonacci-sequence would shake things up too.

What do you know about patent secrecy and national security

When is the US not at war