Monday, August 13, 2007

The Iraq War Will Not Be Ended

...because "the American way of life is not negotiable." (George Bush senior, at the Earth Summit in Rio, in 1992.)

Yesterday's NYT provided further evidence, if any were needed, that the U.S. is definitely in Iraq for the (very) long haul:

Democrats Say Leaving Iraq May Take Years

[Translation: Democrats Have No Intention Of Ever Abandoning 'The Prize'.]

At present, the U.S. imports 42% of its natural gas, and a massive 60% of its oil, of which 17% from the Middle East. Worse: American dependence on foreign resources is rising constantly. Meanwhile (to take just one example), China has been "developing" at a rate of around 10% annually for the last several years, and is therefore also increasingly desperate to acquire and maintain access to foreign oil and gas reserves.
The world's first commercial oil well was drilled in Canada in 1858, followed one year later by the Seneca Oil Corporation's 69-foot well in Pennsylvania. Since then -- and largely because of that -- the world's population has more than quintupled. There are now 6.6 billion people on the planet; and by 2040, they will be joined by 2,000,000,000 more. And if the world hasn't hit the Peak of oil production already, it will certainly do so sometime in the next few years.

Therefore: Ceding control of the world's last major accessible fossil-fuel reserves is simply not an option. Richard Cheney knew this no later than eight years ago*, and the leadership of the Democratic Party undoubtedly knows it too.
Conclusion: The Iraq War will not be ended.
Not by Hillary, not by Obama, certainly not by Giuliani, and not by any imaginable present or future Democratic or Republican administration. There is much more at stake here than "national pride" or any such nebulous concept; the American way of life is not negotiable, and will therefore not be negotiated. In 2007, the Way of Life means cars, computers, iPods, cheap flights, plasma TVs, refrigerators and freezers, air-conditioning, central heating, suburban homes, ten-lane highways to well-appointed office-blocks, and gargantuan hypermarkets that offer everything from everywhere all the time, at a surprisingly reasonable price.

Which is not to deny that many, many Americans are "against the war" right now. It costs precisely nothing to present that opinion to a pollster. Actually abandoning the Way of Life in favour of global equity is another thing entirely.
The US currently consumes approximately 24% of the world’s energy, and any antiwar movement that aspires to be effective is going to have to face up to the energy issue, sooner rather than later. There are, no doubt, a variety of reasons for the current absence of any real, organised, mass opposition to the Iraq "quagmire". But it surely also has something to do with the fact that so many Americans (and Brits) have an American way of life; not necessarily a palace, but a car, a computer, an oil-heated home, a well-stocked fridge and the rest of it. And at some level of consciousness, every one of them is queasily aware that this war is for them, too.
Nearly everyone has something to lose; and, "pro-war" or "anti-war", hardly anyone is giving anything away.

*"By some estimates there will be an average of two per cent annual growth in global oil demand over the years ahead, along with conservatively a three per cent natural decline in production from existing reserves. That means: by 2010 we will need on the order of an additional fifty million barrels a day. So where is the oil going to come from? Governments and the national oil companies are obviously controlling about ninety per cent of the assets. Oil remains fundamentally a government business. While many regions of the world offer great oil opportunities, the Middle East with two thirds of the world‘s oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies; even though companies are anxious for greater access there, progress continues to be slow."

- Richard Cheney, CEO of Halliburton, addressing the Institute of Petroleum in London, Autumn 1999.

1 comment:

  1. abbass2:34 PM

    we are already in peak oil times in case anyone hasn't noticed. people denying it in the media makes not a fucking difference.

    the planet is gone because having over 5 billion people living unsustainably is, well, unsustainable in the short-term and not just the long run.

    and everyone wants to live a modern lifestyle.. not gonna happen!