Monday, March 27

Petro- Politics and War

Borah Symposium Blogging Part I

Professor Michael T. Klare gave a speech about Oil, its problems, and the potential for conflict that is more and more inevitable every day. His speech was part of the Borah Foundation's Annual Symposium (Founded for Senator Borah), where topics outlining war and peace are discussed. This year, the topic is "Resource Wars," the first of which was Professor Klare's speech.

Oil is finite. We have consumed half of the oil we know this Earth has. Those 2 Trillion some barrels of Oil is all that we know of, and any debate about more is beside the point: We will be out of it around 2040. The miniscule amounts in debate may extend its viability for months, and "undescovered fields" significant enough to provide more are increasingly becoming more of a dream than reality. Here's the kicker: Most of that 1 Trillion we've comsumed have been burned off in the last 30 years. We are addicted to Oil.

And it isn't just the United States. No, the rest of the industrialized world is vulnerable to its loss as well. More dire, however, is the rise of China and India as consumers of Oil. by 2030, China's gross consumption of Oil will match that of the US, furthering the inevitable crisis over oil. And if the bleak picture is still too rosey for you, think of this: The last areas of significant oil reserves are in hostile nations. Think Iran, Iraq, Western Africa, the Caspian Sea nations, South and East Chinese seas. These areas are either directly hostile to the US and/or rife with their own internal ethno- religious tensions. There should be no doubt that the 21st century is going to be the century of conflict over resources. As man continues to expand, competition for oil, water, agricultural land, and just basic living spaces will increase.

Think I'm kidding? China has laid claim to the seas around it in direct contention with the Phillipines and Japan (Both of which the US is bound through treaties to defend). Both China and the US are jockeying for control and support in the Caspian Sea region. The west coast of Africa is fast becoming an oil rich region (God, it seems, it not without a sense of humor). That is to say nothing of the Middle East. The great powers are entering regions and starting to support nations in an eerily similar way to the Balkans certa 1900's- 1914. One of Prof. Klare's points was that war, once it comes, will be a mirror spark of confict as was the assassination of Arch- Duke Ferdinand. The major nations won't choose war with each other. Rather, it will be through treaty obligations that we will once again engage in a World War.


So what is the big idea of this? We can avoid these wars. It's "simply" a matter of kicking out Oil habit. Our leaders need to sit down and really focus on this (And no, W's foray's into alternative energy don't count. They're a drop in the bucket of the necessary funds to really turn things around). Alternative energy needs to become mainstream energy. We that are on top of the World need to look at our lives and reduce our use of energy and resources so that there's some for others to use. There's no more dreaming or questioning about it: It has come to either we change our ways, or we go to war.

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