[News] The Slippery Slope - Is there enough oil?

Anti-Imperialist News News at freedomarchives.org
Thu Dec 22 11:59:38 EST 2005

The Slippery Slope
Is there enough oil? Or is there just enough oil to keep the Bush regime going?
by James Ridgeway
December 20th, 2005 12:10 PM

American resolve to make the world safe for 
Western democracy will increasingly depend on 
economic control of oil. To that end, the U.S. is 
locked in feverish competition with China for the 
remaining oil and gas resources in Central Asia 
and the Middle East. Another huge reservoir of 
oil and gas lies under Russian control in Siberia.

News last week that Bush crony Donald Evans is on 
the short list to become head of Rosneft, the 
Russian oil giant, could give us added sway over 
that oil pool. Evans was commerce secretary and 
is a longtime pal of George W. Bush and one of, 
if not the main, adviser to Bush on energy 
matters. To have him running Russian oil would be 
quite a coup. According to the Russian press, 
Vladimir Putin is offering Evans the job of being 
chairman of the firm's board of directors. Evans 
would become the second major foreigner to manage 
a big Russian energy outfit. Former German 
chancellor Gerhard Schr is the new head of North 
European Gas Pipeline, which will pipe natural 
gas from Russia to Germany. Schr while chancellor, helped broker that deal.

Under Bush, the U.S. is committed to lessening 
dependence on foreign oil, especially oil in such 
faraway places as the Middle East, in favor of 
closer-by supplies in Latin America and Canada.

In reality, Bush foreign policy aims to make the 
U.S. more dependent on foreign oil by domination 
of remaining supplies. There are any number of 
signs that demonstrate this policy in action. For 
example, in the name of energy independence, Bush 
wants to spend billions to build liquefied 
natural-gas plants along the U.S. coasts to 
receive and process gas imported from the Middle East and Africa.

The most likely sources of LNG are in Central 
Asia, principally Turkmenistan, along with Saudi 
Arabia in the Persian Gulf. Another large 
reservoir of gas lies in West Africa's Gulf of 
Guinea. The gas trade binds us more­not less­tightly to the Middle East.

For years the industry has complained that 
environmental restrictions result in reduced 
refinery capacity within the U.S. To enhance 
refining capacity, the energy industries are 
searching for less expensive sites for refineries 
abroad, and that leads them to the Middle East, 
again another indication of growing, not 
lessening, reliance on faraway sources. With 
Evans in charge of Russian oil, Bush is but a 
phone call away from obtaining another enormous reservoir of oil.

Meanwhile, China, the world's second-largest 
energy consumer, is all over the Middle East and 
Central Asia, scoring one deal after another. The 
most recent was last week's opening of a 
natural-gas pipeline from Kazakhstan. China has 
gas deals in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Earlier 
this year it bought Kazakhstan's third-largest oil company.

The Condi Doctrine

Bush energy plans are but part of the 
administration's foreign-policy doctrine. Largely 
overlooked in last week's Iraq developments was a 
fresh rendering of this concept in the form of an 
op-ed in The Washington Post by Secretary of 
State Condoleezza Rice. Published on the eve of 
the Iraqi vote, Rice's piece presented the Bush 
administration's understanding of the 
21st-century world and set forth a policy for 
dealing with it. Briefly, in this Bush-Rice 
worldview, nation states have lost their 
sovereignty and can only achieve stability 
through institutions of democratic government 
given to them by the U.S., the world's reigning 
superpower. Implicit in this view is the 
administration's determination to act 
unilaterally to achieve stability. Iraq is the 
prime example. But Iran and Syria appear to be in for the same treatment.

"The Bush Rice international system thus would 
consist of one in which the U.S. is accepted by 
all others as being the pre-eminent military 
actor," writes Gerald B. Helman, United States 
ambassador to the European office of the United 
Nations from 1979 through 1981. "Whether for this 
or additional reasons, conflict among major 
states would be unlikely; these states (which 
would include Russia and China) would be 
increasingly available, under U.S. leadership, to 
establish durable global stability that would 
amount to a balance of power favoring freedom. 
Those states that are weak or failing, 
principally in the Middle East, would forfeit the 
traditional protections of sovereignty so that 
outside powers can guide them to democracy. By 
thus abolishing their 'freedom deficit,' the 
swamps of terrorism would be drained and the 
world's security enhanced. Within this world, the 
U.S. would be able to operate largely 
unconstrained, employing shifting, ad hoc 
coalitions, monitoring and correcting as 
necessary national political systems and as a result preserve U.S. security."

It seems a bit far-fetched to think that China 
and Russia would allow the U.S. to run the world 
as it pleases. And as Helman points out, if the 
U.S. tosses aside existing treaties and 
international organizations in favor of 
unilateral action, then China, Russia, and others 
will do the same thing, and the world will be 
plunged into even more endless bloody turmoil.

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