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[P]
Does the US really need Iraqi oil?

By one time poster in Op-Ed
Mon Dec 23, 2002 at 10:23:59 AM EST
Tags: Focus On... (all tags)
Focus On...

Oil is frequently cited as one of the primary factors in the US's decisions for action in the middle east. With the gulf supplying less than 20% of the current US imports, and at least 40 other countries capable of supplying oil that are not located in the Persian Gulf region, it doesn't seem to be much in the interests of the US to act in Gulf region solely because it is a source of petroleum. As an energy source, petroleum coming from the Persian Gulf supplies the US with less than 2% of total required BTU's. Cheap oil is also cited as a major motivator when it comes to US decisions; however, the US appears to increase consumption from OPEC countries routinely whenever they raise their prices.

So who does need Iraqi oil? The Persian Gulf, and specifically Iraq, is more important to the rest of the world as their primary source of oil and energy than it is to the US. If the US is after cheap oil in the Persian Gulf, it is most likely interested in securing a cheap stable source for it's trading partners and not itself.


According to the US Dept. of Energy petroleum import reports, Arab OPEC countries supplied a cumulative average of 28% of the US's total petroleum imports since 1972. Oil imports from OPEC countries in general have oscillated between 45% and 55% of total imports. Imports from Arab OPEC countries were as low as 9% in 1985 and as high as 47% in 1980. More recently, since the early 1990's, Arab OPEC countries have supplied the US between 20 and 27% of its total petroleum imports. Of this, Saudi Arabia supplies the most. During 2001, Saudi Arabia's portion of the total US petroleum imports was roughly 14%. The gulf region as a whole provided about 18% of the total petroleum imports to the US during that same year.

The DOE's Annual Energy Outlook for 2003 shows that petroleum is presently about 20% of the total energy production by fuel supplying approximately 15 out of the 75 trillion BTU's consumed. The current outlook has this percentage falling to roughly 17% by 2025. Petroleum imports account for roughly 55% of total consumption in the US. This means that 11% of the total US energy demand is imported in the form of petroleum and that less than 3% is coming from Arab OPEC countries. Less than 2% is coming from the Gulf Region. And only 1.5% is coming from Saudi Arabia. As a source of energy, the gulf region is a small source of energy for the US, although, this percentage is estimated to double over the next 20 years

Most of the US oil imports come from Canada, Mexico, and Venezuela. These three countries account for almost 45% of total US imports. There are about 10 other countries supplying between 1% and 5% which total an additional 28% of imports. Beyond that, there are 34 other countries that supply the final 13%. With nearly 50 countries vying to supply the US with oil, it appears that these countries each need the US more than the US needs them. The US is the dominant source of income for most oil producing countries. For most of these countries, oil is their dominant export. If the US did not purchase their fuel, someone else would, but chances are, they would not pay as much.

If world oil prices truly are set by OPEC, it appears that each rise in price is the equivalent to a little plea for help. Comparing the average price of fuel over the past 17 years to the percentage of total imports purchased from OPEC countries by the US yields a positive correlation. Each time the price of oil increased, the US responded by purchasing more oil from OPEC countries. While this action could be the result of drops in production in non OPEC countries and quick response by OPEC to take at advantage of it, this is unlikely. OPEC has many members and they all need cash. Recently, OPEC has had to increase their quota's to reduce cheating by member countries. This implies that oil is really a buyers market and that lower prices are available to for those who look for them. Apparently the US does not look for lower oil prices.

By contrast, gas and oil presently make up 63% of the EU's energy requirements and this is expected to increase to 67% by 2020. The EU currently imports nearly half its energy and the EU Annual Energy Review of 2000 expected this to increase to 70% by 2030. Over 50% of EU oil consumption is presently supplied by production in the North Sea. The balance comes from the Persian Gulf and North Africa. Europe's future need is expected to be met by increased imports from the Persian Gulf, North Africa, and the Caspian Sea. Internationally, oil is the greatest source of energy, supplying nearly 40% of the estimated total required BTU's. Developing nations have been identified as the primary consumers of oil over the next 20 years by both the US DOE and the EU.

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Does the US really need Iraqi oil? | 135 comments (123 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
i think its a little more complicated than that (3.50 / 6) (#1)
by Noam Chompsky on Sat Dec 21, 2002 at 10:24:52 PM EST

You underestimate the weight of oil in the balance of world power, the value of contracts to move it around the world in big sexy ships, the number of expensive made-in-America goods and services Saddamng can purchase, and so on. I realize this may sound bizarre, but I think you'll find historical precedent in the West's exploitation of middle eastern oil. Believe it or not, a US-friendly oil rich Iraq is good for American business.

---
"I don't care if it rains or freezes, long as I have my plastic Jesus, right here on the dashboard of my car."

"Made in America goods"? (5.00 / 1) (#33)
by tkatchev on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 08:24:06 AM EST

Haha, now I definitely know that you're trolling.

Very funny. :))

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Guns and Playboy. (none / 0) (#119)
by Noam Chompsky on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 08:40:05 AM EST


--
Faster, liberalists, Parent ]

What? (1.00 / 1) (#129)
by Stickerboy on Sun Dec 29, 2002 at 04:41:17 AM EST

Guns and Playboy "expensive made-in-America goods"?  Are you kidding?  You're obviously not living in the same sex and violence-inundated culture as the rest of us.

[ Parent ]
No, it doesn't. But this war isn't about oil. (4.00 / 9) (#2)
by Demiurge on Sat Dec 21, 2002 at 10:41:30 PM EST

It's because the Bush administration believes that Iraq presents a threat to America and its allies. Whether or not you agree with that stance is one thing, but it is what is driving the call for war, despite what paranoid leftists "think".

Ugh. (5.00 / 2) (#6)
by Noam Chompsky on Sat Dec 21, 2002 at 11:02:37 PM EST

The script for this war and its aftermath is written by Perle, Wolfie and the rest of their gang of militant neo-con liberalists. Read what these people write, not what the deeply stupid presidential timber Bush says, and you will learn that Iraq is an opportunity to push their ideological agenda. There is only one ideologically driven nation left in the world, and these people staff its politburo. Forget the "leftists," my apparatchik friend, they don't have a country. Do you understand what I telling you? I'm telling you only one side went home at the end of the Cold War. The fact that Iraq pumps oil out of the ground instead of carrots, and the fact that it is a pushover, militarily speaking, is all the incentive they need.

---
"I don't care if it rains or freezes, long as I have my plastic Jesus, right here on the dashboard of my car."
[ Parent ]

A threat? (4.50 / 2) (#7)
by jman11 on Sat Dec 21, 2002 at 11:06:27 PM EST

How is Iraq a threat?  With a nuclear program that is years behind North Korea and Israel being very well equipped -- the "secret" nukes -- what exactly is the problem?  Iraq has no long range capability and America no other close allies in the region.

There are far more serious threats to USoA security than Iraq.  Saddam isn't suicidal, apparently the terrorists are; who is more likely to attack the USoA?  I think most of us agree that if Iraq attacked any other country it would be all over for them.  It's something called a deterrent, and that is the USoA military.

The above is a discussion of why it isn't about security.  Do you have an argument for why it isn't about Oil?

[ Parent ]

The imporant thing is the appearence of a threat. (none / 0) (#37)
by Demiurge on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 09:57:08 AM EST

I'm not going to debate here whether or not it is because that's a long and difficult topic, but people like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Armitage, etc. believe that it is a clear threat. Furthermore, they believe that the removal of Saddam through US military force is completely justified due to the presence of that threat. They're not going to Iraq for the oil.

[ Parent ]
Hmmm (none / 0) (#39)
by jman11 on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 10:27:30 AM EST

"long and difficult", but at the same time "clear".  I thought in the sense of a believe that clear meant transparent and rather straight forward.

Or is clear a military euphimism that means "shut up and stop asking questions."

[ Parent ]

The important thing? (none / 0) (#106)
by sean23007 on Mon Dec 23, 2002 at 10:53:59 PM EST

The important thing here is that you're saying it doesn't really matter what the reason for going to war is, as long as Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld tell us that's what we're going to do. Apparently, no "paranoid leftist" is allowed to "think" anything that might disagree with these people in power. We're going to war because Bush says there's an appearance of a threat? Who's paranoid now? Just because the "democratically elected" leader of a nation is afraid does not mean that we should go about attacking other countries. I almost wish it was oil. Then I'd get cheaper gas. As it is, I'll just go to hell with the rest of the docile Americans who aren't allowed to show dissent in the current political climate.

Military action should not be predicated on the "beliefs" of the people in power. It should be predicated on real danger. Facts. No matter how many times you may try to say it, the "appearance" of danger is not real danger. They are not the same thing. And the other poster raises a good point. If it was really a clear threat, how is it too long and difficult to explain? Mustn't it be one or the other?

Lack of eloquence does not denote lack of intelligence, though they often coincide.
[ Parent ]
Okay. (4.85 / 7) (#3)
by influx on Sat Dec 21, 2002 at 10:42:32 PM EST

So if the US is only going to war in Iraq for oil, is it not reasonable that the only reason France and Russia oppose the war is because of oil? It is well known that France and Russia have on ongoing relationship with Iraq. Yet there is no analysis of this relationship and its effects on international politics. Why?

K5 is always claiming to be exposing the "propoganda" of the United States, but by this logic can it not be claimed that Europeon governments are manipulating their citizens into opposing the United States and its war on Iraq to protect its oil interests? If their citizenship is stirred up against America will they be focused on their own governments manipulations?

My challenge to K5 is for this site to examine motivations from all sides instead of always looking for the evil American conspiracy.

---
The more you know, the less you understand.

Oil issues (5.00 / 6) (#8)
by onyxruby on Sat Dec 21, 2002 at 11:08:04 PM EST

Analysis are out there on this. The biggest objections to a new UN Iraqi declaration was from the oil agreements that France, China and Russia had signed with the Iraq. They don't go into affect until sanctions are lifted though.

Frankly, if a new government takes over in Iraq, those agreements, worth billions of dollars to those countries could be voided. Once the US promised that those agreements would be followed by any new regime, their objections were off the table and the UN passed it's declaration on Iraq.

The moon is covered with the results of astronomical odds.
[ Parent ]

You're on the right track, really. (4.00 / 4) (#15)
by valeko on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 01:06:47 AM EST

So if the US is only going to war in Iraq for oil, is it not reasonable that the only reason France and Russia oppose the war is because of oil? It is well known that France and Russia have on ongoing relationship with Iraq. Yet there is no analysis of this relationship and its effects on international politics. Why?

That's a perfectly logical summation. The only thing I question is your claim that there is no analysis of this relationship - sure there is. France and Russia, like any other self-interested nation-states, are concerned that if the U.S. is to take full control of Iraq, they will not be included in the division of the spoils, and may in fact end up with a lot less than they started. If these concerns are alleviated, then suddenly the "principled" opposition disappears, although bourgeois media intentionally, by design, doesn't take notice, because the official line is that France, Russia, Germany, etc. have "fallen in line." They have been cajoled and coaxed, through painstaking compromise and appeals, into supporting the "liberation" of Iraq.

Right. Sure.

There's nothing particularly mystical about this. Underneath the respectable façade of economic unity and international cooperation, there is a lot of contention among the imperialist states. When the European states or Russia sense that their investments in Iraq and their dealings with the Iraqi regime may be in jeopardy, they balk.

I'll add though that oil isn't necessarily the only economic issue here. Russia, for example, has arrangements for the sale of a lot of military hardware to Iraq. If the U.S. takes Iraq over, naturally the military supplier of the new regime will not be Russia. This may be true of Germany or France too, who knows.

And so on and so forth.

K5 is always claiming to be exposing the "propoganda" of the United States

Is it? I don't think K5 collectively claims to do anything. Perhaps that's how you read it, but I don't think it's qualitatively true.

but by this logic can it not be claimed that Europeon governments are manipulating their citizens into opposing the United States and its war on Iraq to protect its oil interests? If their citizenship is stirred up against America will they be focused on their own governments manipulations?

I don't know about that. It would seem that there is a lot of principled public opposition to American policy (especially its war) and the European governments actually have to bend to it. Although the European leadership has to maintain an outward character of fashionable anti-Americanism, internally they very much approve of U.S. policy, however tacitly it may be. Toppling Sadam and establishing a pro-western government in Iraq isn't antithetical to the interests of the European leaderships in general - they're just concerned that the U.S. may covet the totality of the spoils. On the other hand, having the U.S. actually take care of the military aspect of things makes up a pretty good symbiotic relationship. Overall, the contention between imperialist states and the unity of their ultimate interests are a dialectical conflict. We see that here.

That said, you are correct in pointing out that the outward facade of opposition maintained by the European bourgeoisie has the effect of distracting some of the masses from more domestic concerns. This is true, although I don't know if this is a key factor.

My challenge to K5 is for this site to examine motivations from all sides instead of always looking for the evil American conspiracy.

Seems like a pretty reasonable proposition. While the U.S. is certainly the leader of the pack, it is hardly the only executor of imperialist designs.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Hmmprff (3.50 / 4) (#90)
by LaundroMat on Mon Dec 23, 2002 at 08:21:20 AM EST

Although the European leadership has to maintain an outward character of fashionable anti-Americanism
outward facade of opposition maintained by the European bourgeoisie

This is simply gross. Europe was a lot more favourable to the Clinton administration than it is to the Bush administration. This is no "fashionable anti-Americanism", but merely a natural reaction to the incredibly absurd foreign policy of the US leaders. The bilateralism of the Clinton administration has completely gone, and with each action from the US Europe either feels pushed ("Accept Turkey to the EU, so all their base are belong to US"), left alone ("Let's attack Iraq and fuck the UN"), threatened ("No Euro steel in our country") etc etc.

"Fashionable anti-Americanism". There's a novel way of describing the reactions to the inanities of the Bush administration. Dammit, that phrase makes me speechless with rage (first time this has happened on K5).
---

"These innocent fun-games of the hallucination generation"
[ Parent ]

Wrong note? (2.00 / 1) (#100)
by valeko on Mon Dec 23, 2002 at 02:23:23 PM EST

Sorry, I think that particular pronouncement got started on the wrong note. Let's try this again.

This is simply gross. Europe was a lot more favourable to the Clinton administration than it is to the Bush administration. This is no "fashionable anti-Americanism", but merely a natural reaction to the incredibly absurd foreign policy of the US leaders.

What do you mean by "Europe" when you say "Europe was a lot more favourable to the Clinton administration"? If you're confusing me for one of those American national chauvinists who doesn't believe that there is opposition to American policies (and even existence) in Europe, you're incorrect. I understand that American policies are extremely unpopular with the majority of the European population, and I don't think this is a superficial ("fashionable") current. I'm sorry if you misunderstood what I was saying there.

The leadership, on the other hand, has an entirely different agenda. There is no particularly substantial difference between the Clinton administration and the Bush administration except a theatrical one, and of course the absence of a catalyst like September 11th - the gift that just keeps on giving. The Clinton administration had a somewhat different brand of rhetoric (a more sugary one) than the bellicose-looking Republicans do these days, but its behaviour is not fundamentally different if you actually examine the facts. From Somalia to Kosovo, the Clinton years saw the same kind of "military humanitarianism" and "international altruism" from the U.S. as any other time. I have little doubt that if September 11th had happened under Clinton, the qualitative result on the world arena would not be substantially different from what it is now.

The bilateralism of the Clinton administration has completely gone,

I'm not sure where you are seeing this bilateralism. There was no bi-lateralism, only a theatrical, diplomatic appearance of it.

Yeah, the Rambouillet Agreement. Good job with the bi-lateralism.

"Fashionable anti-Americanism". There's a novel way of describing the reactions to the inanities of the Bush administration. Dammit, that phrase makes me speechless with rage (first time this has happened on K5).

Aye, I didn't mean to enrage you. I think you misunderstood my particular usage of the phrase.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Appo-loggies accepted. (5.00 / 1) (#109)
by LaundroMat on Tue Dec 24, 2002 at 04:07:16 AM EST

Ok, I see. I overinterpreted your words apparently.

Agreed, the Clinton administration did pursue mainly the same goals as Bush does now, but not overtly so. I guess one of the main grudges Europe's leaders are holding against the USA now is that they feel left out in the cold, that Bush is playing solo, so that - again - we're being considered as a second-rate world power (which, with the extremely heavy and slow decsion-making processes within the EU, isn't too far from the mark).

Thanks to strong rhetoric skills, Clinton at least gave the impression that he wanted to involve the rest of the world in his plans of 'peace and freeedom'. Now we're seeing the inverse; Bush wants to wage a global war, on his own if necessary.

In a way, it's not too bad Bush (as a pars pro totem) doesn't hide his true intentions with sugary and rosey diplomatic talk, and acts like the revengeful cowboy he is. It could mean Europe will finally learn to stand on its own legs, and take its own decisions on global matters. Incited by its voters this time. And I guess this is what you mean by fashionable: as the voting public seems to oppose the USA more and more, the leaders begin to take on the same stance. Not a bad thing, I reckon.
---

"These innocent fun-games of the hallucination generation"
[ Parent ]

Yep, that's about right. (5.00 / 1) (#113)
by valeko on Tue Dec 24, 2002 at 10:22:11 AM EST

Thanks to strong rhetoric skills, Clinton at least gave the impression that he wanted to involve the rest of the world in his plans of 'peace and freeedom'. Now we're seeing the inverse; Bush wants to wage a global war, on his own if necessary.

Yep, that's correct. But don't let yourself have any illusions; despite whatever impressions Clinton may have given, the fundamental pillars of American policy always have been and always will be the same.

In a way, it's not too bad Bush (as a pars pro totem) doesn't hide his true intentions with sugary and rosey diplomatic talk, and acts like the revengeful cowboy he is.

I'd have to agree there. In some ways I prefer this Republican terror far better because at least they're relatively straight-forward about it. These days, Mr. Bush, Mr. Rumsfeld, etc., they aren't very long-winded -- they get straight to the point. This is what we're invading, this is what war we're fighting next, this is where the terrorists are, and, by the way, this is a "new kind of war" that requires "immense global commitments" and defies the laws of physics.

Mr. Ashcroft doesn't stray far from the point either. Dissident crackdown it is.

Under Clinton, it would have been basically the same thing, except there would be less public emphasis on "WAR on terror" or "mobilisation for a new kind of war" or "national security strategies." There would be slightly different theatrical gimmicks -- more "freedom and democracy for all!" involved. For reference, see Kosovo conflict.

And I guess this is what you mean by fashionable: as the voting public seems to oppose the USA more and more, the leaders begin to take on the same stance. Not a bad thing, I reckon.

Well, publically that is the stance they take. The point I'm trying to make is that privately, they're basically allies of Bush in the most complete sense. That doesn't mean the European public is.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Here's why I disagree (none / 0) (#132)
by WaronWar on Mon Dec 30, 2002 at 09:45:20 AM EST

The majority of the world, not just a "moral majority" in some European countries, is against our war.  The global distaste for the war comes from watching decades of the US defying the UN's laws, violently aggressing against other nations, and refusing to allow its own public to acknowledge this political atmosphere in honest media discourse.  Other nations are neither fooled nor impressed by our political double talk such as "First Strikes" and "distress and duress interrogations."  They see a war against false enemies with parameters which allow that war to go on indefinitely and identify all targets as "enemies."  Other nations see a formula for a directed world takeover.

Another way of looking at that is to say that a minority of the world is for this war, and does not agree to discuss the war in the terms of America's "officially sanctioned conversation."  They're too busy deciding whether they need to save the human race from the Americans.

In a similar vein, other countries have been opposed to many of our military actions for decades.  One can idly badminton arguments back at their opponents rather than addressing them, and the people who oppose the airing of these facts I've mentioned rarely do anything but.

As for the challenge to K5 to examine all sides; the "other side" so to speak gets plenty of airtime as it is.  Mega corporations pay big bucks to air their "side" 24 hours a day with nary a peep of the progressive viewpoint.  IMO airing enemy propaganda - yes, I just called the Bush line "enemy propaganda" - would be counterproductive to advancing society.

[ Parent ]

Yes, but... (3.88 / 9) (#4)
by jman11 on Sat Dec 21, 2002 at 10:46:24 PM EST

You have willfully ignored a key point to this issue. That is most of the world's oil is burried in the Middle East. In other words, the majority of the world's oil reserves are located in the Middle East. See here for a graphical display. With oil being a very finite resource, I believe at the rate we are going it won't be around when we die, the future supply is vital.

So while the USoA could not take Middle East oil, I think requiring only about 30% of the world's oil, you will probably have to agree it seems difficult to sustain and forces the USoA to be acaptive market to anyone else in the world with oil. If you want a decent thesis then you will have to address more than what is going to come in next year.

Also your obsession with percentages is not that constructive, the EU uses much less oil that the USoA, I think about 60%, so in absoulte amounts I believe things would stack up differently.

The above stuff, of course, invalidates your argument, but should be addressed if you want to say something that is supportable.

This site has a lot of other useful charts for this analysis. I'm sure they have tables available in their reports as well.

Thank you for helping me with my point. (3.50 / 2) (#18)
by one time poster on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 02:54:20 AM EST

You have willfully ignored a key point to this discussion.  You have not read the supporting links and you most likely did not read the entire article.  Please see above and try again.

My first point is that the US needs very little of the Gulf Oil and is trending to need less in the future.  Please reread the second paragraph where the future requirement of Persian Gulf oil are stated to be deminishing.

Also, please refer to the reference marked "balance" in the links above.  I think you will find that Western Europe is importing 3.2 million gallons of oil from the persion gulf per day and the US is importing 2.6 million.  You will also find that on the whole in the year 2000 Western Europe imported fully 3 million more barrels of oil per day than did the US.

Your obsession with factless arguments is not constructive, please provide links to support your statistics.  (42% of all statistics are made up on the spot)

The above "stuff, of course, invalidates your argument, but should be addressed if you want to say something that is supportable."

The artical has a lot of other usefull data in it should you choose to read it.
___________________

That does it, I wont post again...


[ Parent ]
Well (5.00 / 1) (#38)
by jman11 on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 10:24:48 AM EST

I did read it, please don't accuse people of things you cannot possibly base in fact.

If you accuse me of not supplying links,I'm not sure how. All my statistis were based on these graphs, while they aren't precise they are accurate enough for this issue.

The second pargraph compares total Energy usage. Once again it deals in percentage terms, the graphs I provided dealt in absolute terms and shows a steady rise in consumption (here) If you claim this a graph of declining reliance on oil, then this discussion can't go anywhere.

But I hear you claiming it was a dependence on Middle East Oil (Could you please define "Persian Gulf" as a region, this term is not one I'm familiar with) that you discussed, which is true. My claim was if you are going to be dependant on oil, then you cannot ignore this region. The vast majority of the world's oil is here.

As for you directing me to the "balance" link, I'm not sure what you are saying. that link quotes 2.6 million barrels a day currently and 4.9 in 2020. What's your point? It also predicts near doubling of North American oil usage. As for Europe using more Middle East oil as a percentage, it's 2.6/10.7=24% and 3.2/13.7=23% (2nd is Europe) these are remarkably similar and do not support a case that Europe is more dependant than the USoA.

Your article confuses the issue, by using so many different sources and meanings of statistics to confuse the issue. You have chosen particular statistics to match what is a theory which is patently false. That the USoA (to be in 2020 the world's largest consumer) can ignore the Middle East (currently the worlds largest supplier and in 2020 the largest by far). You have used percentages where absolute figures would make more sense, anything to justify your thesis.

Have a nice day, and I now have the feeling I was succesfully trolled. Congratulations.

[ Parent ]

Not quite correct. (none / 0) (#48)
by Kal on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 12:44:53 PM EST

[quote]
The vast majority of the world's oil is [in the Middle East].
[/quote]

Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado have enourmous deposits of shale oil that is currently not economical to extract.  The amount of shale oil is estimated at 2000 barrels.

[ Parent ]

two links? (none / 0) (#49)
by one time poster on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 12:54:53 PM EST

You provided a link to a chart showing the amount of oil in the Middle East (specifically the gulf region) compared to the rest of the world and a link to the page with the link to the first page.  Very good research!  Get over the fact that the Middle East has the most oil. It is irrelevant.  What matters in this discussion is who needs it.  

I make no claims about absolute usage data in the original article.  I stated that as a percentage of the total, oil from the Persian Gulf region is a limited portion of the total petroleum used by the US.  I have no argument with the statement that absolute usage will be increasing.  My question is that of source.  According to the reports provided by the DOE, the Middle East is not going to be the source.  

My claim is that the US is not dependant on the Middle East because as a percentage of its own usage, the oil from the Middle East is a small portion of total energy requirements (not total petroleum imports.)  On the other hand, still in terms of total energy requirements, the EU is far more dependant on the Middle East for Energy as a percentage of total energy required only by the EU.  The US relies on the region for 2% of its total energy requirements and the EU over 65%.  Absolute numbers don't make any sense when comparing these two values.

Since you insist on comparing the US to Europe on absolute oil consumption, please return again to the balance link and review the total barrels per day numbers and you will find that Europe is using more oil than the US both today and in the future.

I am sorry you feel that you are being trolled.  You are mixing percentages and absolutes to make your point and not providing any backup more specific than stating where the oil is.

___________________

That does it, I wont post again...


[ Parent ]
Whoah!!!! one time poster is either a troll... (none / 0) (#101)
by arthurpsmith on Mon Dec 23, 2002 at 03:13:36 PM EST

or basically innumerate:

The US relies on the region for 2% of its total energy requirements and the EU over 65%. Absolute numbers don't make any sense when comparing these two values.

This seems to be the core of the argument. Where the heck did these numbers come from, and what do they actually mean???

First, a graph that is perhaps more helpful: World Oil Consumption by region... notice North America in there? Those are absolute numbers, and North America is, in absolute terms, definitely a bigger consumer of oil than Europe, and that graph is trending up. I don't think it's just Canada that's to blame there...

Second: oil is a commodity. Where it actually comes out of the ground does not matter to its price any more than where a bushel of wheat or soybeans was grown - what matters is overall supply versus demand. If 10% of world oil is pumped in Saudi Arabia, then losing that 10% has exactly the same effect on the raw (untaxed) price of oil in the US as it has in Europe, because all nations of the world share in their growing demand for the stuff. Unless you really believe Canadians and Venezuelans will still sell their oil to the US when the Europeans are offering more for it? Repeat after me here: where the oil comes out of the ground is irrelevant to the price of oil!

Third: a graph of oil production shows the Middle East with the largest, and growing, fraction of the world's production levels, and North America, and the U.S. in particular, with significantly declining production. This has got to be worrying to anybody who knows anything about oil, other than the Saudi princes, Saddam, and friends. In fact, European production (from the same set of graphs) has grown, and there is a lot of unutilized Russian capacity, so they're in a much better position looking forward than is North America, even just looking at production levels.

Now to "one time poster"'s numbers: taken at face value, it implies that if we lose Middle Eastern oil (say all the production in Saudi Arabia), then the effect in the U.S. is only 1/30 the effect in Europe, relative to our total energy use. The only way that could possibly be true, given the realities above, is if US energy usage were 30 times that of Europe! Which doesn't make any sense at all. So where did these numbers come from?

The first relevant link in the article here is to the DOE's Annual Energy Outlook report. The "about 20%" link in the above article points to a graph of electricity production, not total consumption. There is, however, a summary table of total US energy consumption which has the following useful numbers for 2002:

  • Total consumption: 97.5 quadrillion BTU
  • Petroleum products: 37.99 quadrillion BTU
  • Natural gas: 23.80 quadrillion BTU
so petroleum plus natural gas consumption accounts for 63% of US energy use. Wow, isn't that remarkably similar to "one time poster"'s:
By contrast, gas and oil presently make up 63% of the EU's energy requirements.

Amazing, we've just proved that the US and Europe actually have a very similar mix of energy usage patterns! Except the Europeans use quite a bit less in absolute numbers per capita or per dollar of GDP...

Ok, so the overall fractional importance of petroleum and natural gas is about the same between US and Europe - what about the import picture? Given the commodity nature of these products (oil more so than natural gas, which requires pipelines), the only really important number is the total import percentage. For the US, that's currently 55% from the DOE tables. For Europe, it depends a lot on how exactly you define Europe. Including the North Sea countries (Britain and Norway), I'll just quote from the article above:

Over 50% of EU oil consumption is presently supplied by production in the North Sea.
Hmmm - so that means oil imports to Europe (counted as a whole, including Britain and Norway) must be less than 50%? How can that possibly square with "one time poster"'s above comment that:
The US relies on the region for 2% of its total energy requirements and the EU over 65%.
?????? The answer of course is that all "one time poster"'s numbers here are quite wrong. If you actually look at the linked table for the 2000 import picture you'll see the interesting facts that:
  • North America imports 2.6 million barrels/day from the Persian Gulf (24% of N.A. oil imports)
  • Western Europe imports 3.2 million barrels/day from the Persian Gulf. (23% of European oil imports)
  • The related text states that " Throughout the past several decades, oil has been the world's dominant source of primary energy consumption, and it is expected to remain in that position with a 40-percent share of total energy consumption over the 1999-2020 period"

In short, the very sources "one time poster" quotes discount his numbers; and they lead to one obvious conclusion as well.

It really is about oil

Energy - our most critical problem; the solution may be in space.


[ Parent ]
Reserves are important (5.00 / 3) (#44)
by HidingMyName on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 12:23:37 PM EST

Your remarks about:

My first point is that the US needs very little of the Gulf Oil and is trending to need less in the future. Please reread the second paragraph where the future requirement of Persian Gulf oil are stated to be deminishing.

Also, please refer to the reference marked "balance" in the links above. I think you will find that Western Europe is importing 3.2 million gallons of oil from the persion gulf per day and the US is importing 2.6 million. You will also find that on the whole in the year 2000 Western Europe imported fully 3 million more barrels of oil per day than did the US.

may be reflected in the data you give, but the reserves link provided indicates that these trends are not sustainable, since the amount of Oil reserves in the Middle East is greater than the estimated reserves of oil in the rest of the world by far. According to the DOE analysis, by 2020 the world will need 112 million barrels per day by 2020, with current usage around 76 million barrels per day (2001 estimate), meaning world wide use is about 27.74 billion barrels per year. DOE published estimates of oil reserves indicate that we have between 1004 and 1028 Billion barrels of oil in reserve world wide. This impllies 37 years or so of oil consumption can be sustained at the current rate (this ignores issues like sulfur conten), and However, it is possible that the energy required to extract a gallon of oil may exceed the energy that the gallon of oil provides, which is part of the so called Hubbert Peak prediction. According to the DOEs estimates of known oil reserves, the Middle East has 654 or 684 (about 65% of the supply) Billion barrels (depending on the estimate you prefer) in reserve, with Iraq having 112.5 or 115 Billion barrels in reserve (second only to Saudi Arabia in capacity).`

[ Parent ]
in the long run (3.50 / 2) (#51)
by one time poster on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 01:27:06 PM EST

I agree that reserves are important in the long run.

My question here is meant to ask if, in the short run, it makes sense that the US would attack Iraq on the basis of oil.  I believe the answer is no. What is the reward to risk ratio for attacking Iraq to secure oil for 30 years down the road?  The US certainly doesn't have a track record of thinking that far in advance.  And, I don't get the impression that many people here would willfully accuse GWB of being a strategic geopolitical thinker capable of playing global chess with the world 30 years out.

If the strategic reports showed that the US was intending to increase its reliance on the Middle East as a percentage of total oil imports and therefore total energy production, then I think one could make the argument that the US wants to invade Iraq on the basis of oil.  It would be the first time the US ever overtly did a land grab to capture resources in many years, but that is a different conversation.

___________________

That does it, I wont post again...


[ Parent ]
Your accusation is too strongly worded (none / 0) (#40)
by HidingMyName on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 10:45:44 AM EST

When you say:
You have willfully ignored a key point to this issue.
That may be too strong an accusation. For point can be willfully ignored the author must be aware of the point prior to providing their argument. Can you demonstrate with certainty that the author was indeed aware of the point before you accused him? If you cannot show this it would be better to bring the point to his attention and not use such a strongly worded accusation. Please simply tell the author that they overlooked something or missed a reference or provide a correction, immediately taking an adversarial tone does not hasten cooperation.

[ Parent ]
Nicely written. (5.00 / 3) (#5)
by onyxruby on Sat Dec 21, 2002 at 10:57:13 PM EST

I just see one more thing that would be handy in debunking the oil myth that surrounds the issues with Iraq. The estimated cost of a pending war with Iraq is between 6 and 9 billions dollars per month, with an estimated return cost of 14 to 20 billion dollars. Even if such a war was just 4 months long, it would cost an estimated $47 billion dollars. And this is the most conservative figure I have seen. Since the US imported a total of $68.05 billion total in crude oil imports in 2001. With a total of 18% of this from gulf state countries, were talking about a US cost of $12.249 billion spent on all gulf crude oil.

This also doesn't take into consideration that agreement has already been reached to honor Iraq's oil deals with France, Russia and China. Frankly the cost of a war with Iraq far exceeds any potential American return on investment. The potential savings on oil from bringing Iraq fully back into the market just wouldn't pay for a war. All of which precludes the fact that OPEC largely dictates world wide oil availability and prices anyways, not individual nations.

The moon is covered with the results of astronomical odds.

To be cynical about it... (5.00 / 2) (#12)
by Skywise on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 12:23:22 AM EST

The cost of the war would be burdened by all US taxpayers... Not necessarily the companies who would profit from it.

In much the same way that taxpayers foot the bill for a football stadium, but the football franchise gets most of the rewards.

[ Parent ]

Cynicism? (none / 0) (#60)
by Boronx on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 04:06:11 PM EST

Not cynicism, those are the facts. Cynicism would be believing that was Bush's primary motivation (which it may be). There is some value to the gain in world power should the U.S. conquer Iraq, but I have no idea how many dollars that ammounts to.
Subspace
[ Parent ]
return cost (none / 0) (#17)
by slothman on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 02:51:55 AM EST

I though the only return of the pending war is a loss of threat. You mean the US will actually gain money in the process. I wonder how much other wars such as the recent Deserty Storm gave us back, besides peace of course.

[ Parent ]
You misunderstand me (none / 0) (#21)
by onyxruby on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 03:24:03 AM EST

I don't think the US will ever reimburse it's costs from such a war. Hell, we still haven't been reimbursed for WWII. The point I was making is that this will never pay for itself. A return on investment report from a business standpoint.

Thus, if oil and profit aren't valid reasons for doing this, than there must be other reasons for such a war. Other reasons being international security, and removing a mad man from having WMD capabilities.

Remember, if we just wanted lower oil prices and increased supply, we would simply accept Iraq's word that is has destroyed all WMD capabilities (despite evidence contrary) and have the sanctions lifted. This would enable Iraq to start selling oil on the black market and in turn increase supply. By increasing supply, OPEC might increase their member nations quotas.

Since the charge has been leveled that a war with Iraq would only be done to gain their oil, the charge needed debunked. A debunking of the oil theory has been quite nicely offered by this article, with a great deal of supporting data.

The moon is covered with the results of astronomical odds.
[ Parent ]

Other reasons... (none / 0) (#97)
by BlaisePascal on Mon Dec 23, 2002 at 12:53:19 PM EST

I've heard other reasons, besides oil, to go to war with Iraq....
  1. To justify going to war with our ally (read: enemy-of-our-enemy), Bush the First branded Saddam as evil-incarnate, equated with Hitler, and a danger due to his possession and use of chemical weapons against Iran (our enemy).  In doing so, he glossed over where Iraq got the weapons (us) and the intelligence needed to use them effectively (us).  The Gulf War was authorized by the UN to "liberate Kuaite"(sp?), not eliminate Mr. Evil Incarnate.  When we  declared victory without dealing with Saddam, it left the Bush camp with a political problem that Bush the Second is now dealing with.
  2. It covers up a lack of a foreign and domestic policy initiative on the part of Bush II that would be exposed if he didn't do something popular and media-dominant like overtures of war.
  3. It covers up the embarrassments of the "War on Terror" that is failing to catch former enemy-of-our-enemies but now declared Evil-Incarnate Osama bin Ladin, failing to curtail al Qaida activities.
None of them are very good reasons to go to war, in my opinion.


[ Parent ]
it's like this (4.60 / 5) (#9)
by scatbubba on Sat Dec 21, 2002 at 11:13:37 PM EST

The US would rather fight for foreign oil, while there is plenty at hand locally, rather then fighting for foreign oil after the local oil has ran out. They would be far more desperate in the second situation, so they choose the first.

That's true. (2.00 / 1) (#11)
by valeko on Sat Dec 21, 2002 at 11:41:42 PM EST

But that is, at most, a long-term problem.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Yup. (3.00 / 2) (#20)
by NFW on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 03:16:50 AM EST

And if I may bust out on a tangent, that is precisely why drilling ANWR is about the stupidest thing we could be doing right now, and surest sign that Bush Jr. is fully 0wnzed by BigOilCo.

Lock up ANWR, I say, and start calling it the "second tier strategic petroleum reserve." That way maybe it will stay locked up until such time as the shit hits the fan.

And the excrement will the ventilator, eventually. When it does, ANWR will either be much-needed bridge financing, or it will be like the embarassingly expensive pre-bankruptcy christmas party from the days of irrational exuberance.


--
Got birds?


[ Parent ]

Good article. (4.50 / 8) (#10)
by valeko on Sat Dec 21, 2002 at 11:17:52 PM EST

I think you're correct in assessing that the U.S. isn't really after oil per se. Many people who oppose this latest mobilisation for war honestly do believe that "it's all about the oil" or that Iraq's particular position in regard to oil is just too tempting, and to some extent this is all true, but none of these things even come close to summing up the essence of the matter. It's not much different from the argument that the war in Afghanistan is about capturing Caspian Sea oil resources -- it's wrong, but it's a perfectly adequate distraction, a sort of bone that can be tossed to the clueless masses.

This war isn't just about control of oil resources, if about that at all. It's about a rather cynical extension of imperialist domination in a multitude of spheres -- a concept that is difficult to grasp for some people but integral nevertheless. In fact, this whole oil explanation in many ways serves the motives of the American ruling class -- oil demarcates the limitations of the public debate. We see people, fairly mainstream people, arguing about whether this war is about oil or whether it's about toppling Saddam, etc., which conveniently alleviates most politically unconscious people's lingering doubts about whether either of these hypotheses makes any sense.

In some sense, this is an improvement over the "debate" on the Kosovo intervention. Back then, it revolved entirely around the question of whether the U.S. should be the "world's policeman" (implying that its actions constituted some kind of law enforcement) and sacrifice its precious resources and soldiers in this enourmous undertaking of military humanitarianism -- international altruism. That, I have to say, is even coldly cynical and callous. ("Do the Serbs deserve the grace of being bombed by us? Are they entitled? I think this is some kind of entitlement syndrome in Europe! They think America should be doing their dirty work!")

Nevertheless, if there is any potential to educate people on the nature of American imperialism using the context of this latest war, oil is a good departure point from which to move away.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart

Thanks (5.00 / 1) (#23)
by one time poster on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 03:42:52 AM EST

That said, if I don't incite a troll or put some "oil" down on the comments section soon, this will not live to see the light of day here on the west coast of North America.  If there isn't anything to argue about, who here on k5 would read it?

Understanding the difference between "it's all about oil" and "oil is a factor" is pretty difficult for some people to grasp.  I don't think many people listen past the talking heads telling them what to think.  And when the talking heads only get 30 seconds to say what they mean before the host interrupts them, there isn't much hope for comprehension is there?

Thanks again.
___________________

That does it, I wont post again...


[ Parent ]
Valeko, ever the good Soviet. (5.00 / 1) (#36)
by Demiurge on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 09:55:19 AM EST

Dogmatically resisting the Imperialistic capitalistic classist American actions.

If America were really after Iraq for imperial motives, it would have sought to isolate other nations from the conflict so it would be the only contender in a post-Saddam Iraq. On the other hand, Bush(somewhat reluctantly, admittedly) has made a major effort to enlist the support of other nations, despite the fact that it means they'll have a role in Iraq too.

[ Parent ]
Well. (3.00 / 1) (#47)
by valeko on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 12:30:53 PM EST

That is precisely where the contradiction lies. The need to unite with other imperialist states versus the need to compete with them.

I think it would be useful to point out that no matter if the new government honours existing French/Russian/etc. contracts for oil or defense, the U.S. would still have a by far overwhelming monopoly on control of Iraq's political and economic situation.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

It doesn't matter. (2.80 / 5) (#14)
by NFW on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 12:54:19 AM EST

It doesn't matter if the US, as a country, "needs" Iraqi oil. The fact remains that US businesses stand to make lots of profit selling Iraqi oil.

When the CIA installed the Shah in Iran, ~40% of Iranian oil flowed directly to US companies, up from 0% beforehand, as the British-built Iranian oil infrastructure had just been nationalized by the Iranian government. After the US installs a new Iraqi leader to take Hussein's place, who do you think will be selling Iraqi oil to the rest of the world?

When it comes to international politics, profit just as powerful as need. Perhaps more so, in some cases. Probably more so, in this case.


--
Got birds?


That's funny, because oil companies are against (4.75 / 4) (#35)
by Demiurge on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 09:53:08 AM EST

war. They've been saying for years they just want sanctions removed, with Saddam in power, who, for his part, has made his desire to sell to American oil companies very clear.

War means uncertainty, which is going to drive prices up, and destroy infrastructure necessary to collect and move oil. Oil companies aren't the ones driving this.

[ Parent ]
Which oil companies? (3.00 / 4) (#50)
by NFW on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 12:59:53 PM EST

The big multinationals, or USian oil traders and infrastructure companies?

Sure "the oil companies" want sanctions removed, but Hussein is in a class with Castro - sanctions will never be lifted, the only way to trade with their countries is to wait for the leader to die. Or to accelerate that inevitable event.

High prices = high margins, if you're in the right place in the supply chain. Destroyed infrastructure = work for oil field service companies like, say, Halliburton. Ya think Halliburton has any friends in the White House?


--
Got birds?


[ Parent ]

If you want me to dig out the quotation... (4.20 / 5) (#72)
by Demiurge on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 09:29:18 PM EST

representatives for the American Petroleum Producers association(or some such group) have stated that they favor a lifting of sanctions against Iraq, not war.

War is bad for business. In a war, Saddam would destroy infrastructure needed to collect and distribute oil, which would hurt business. Oil companies want Saddam in place, and free to distribute oil. Failing that, they want Saddam in place so they can buy oil through middlemen, which they've done repeatedly since the first Gulf War.

[ Parent ]
See previous message... (3.00 / 2) (#117)
by NFW on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 01:49:54 AM EST

representatives for the American Petroleum Producers association(or some such group) have stated that they favor a lifting of sanctions against Iraq, not war.

And they can't have that, and they know it. See previous message w.r.t. the predicament of the US gov't vis-a-vis Hussein and Castro.

War is bad for business. In a war, Saddam would destroy infrastructure needed to collect and distribute oil [...]

War is bad for some businesses, good for others. See previous message w.r.t. oil-infrastructure companies like Halliburton.

Oil companies want Saddam in place, and free to distribute oil.

Incompatible desires, and they know it.

Failing that, they want Saddam in place so they can buy oil through middlemen, which they've done repeatedly since the first Gulf War.

But his exports are limited by the US, and they drop to zero when Saddam suspends exports to get attention (which he's done). He's a bottleneck. Ousting him would increase the flow from Iraq and create work for the vice president's former employer. See previous message... well, you know.


--
Got birds?


[ Parent ]

Euro, not USD, for Iraqi oil (3.50 / 2) (#95)
by decaf_dude on Mon Dec 23, 2002 at 11:29:06 AM EST

...with Saddam in power, who, for his part, has made his desire to sell to American oil companies very clear.

A few years ago Saddam put in place a rule that Iraqi oil can only be purchased with Euro and not with US Dollar, as is customary in other oil-producing countries. That is quite contrary to your statement: it's a clear signal that he does not want to do business with US, whose oil companies now have to incur the additional cost of currency exchange.


--
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=89158&cid=7713039


[ Parent ]
indirect dependence (4.33 / 3) (#16)
by adiffer on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 02:51:51 AM EST

Even if the US does not use a drop of Iraqi oil and never intends to, the rest of the world does depend on it more than we do.  Since our economy is tied in with Europe, the Pacific Rim, and other regions, we are directly impacted by their direct dependence.  

For those who see this as an oil issue, remember that it is the stability of the world economy we are really seeking.  If any one region falters, we all feel it to some degree.  A simple example of this occured when the Russian's defaulted and the ruble devalued.  An indirect result of that event was the collapse of most of the sub-prime lending companies within the United States.  Figure that one out and earn your gold star for the day!

-Dream Big.
--Grow Up.

Alternatives to Foreign Oil and WW III (3.50 / 2) (#19)
by nomoreh1b on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 03:09:26 AM EST

The US doesn't really need imported oil/foreign entanglements at all.

Balderson tried talking sense to the corrupt congress years ago.



needs a link (3.00 / 2) (#22)
by godix on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 03:29:19 AM EST

"Oil is frequently cited as one of the primary factors in the US's decisions for action in the middle east."

I'd like a link to where Bush, or anyone else that actually plays a role in Americas foreign policy, said this. I've often heard this claimed by people against the war but can't recall any important people who were for attacking Iraq saying this was the reason.

All told an informative and well written article though. If only it weren't a strawman I'd vote it up.


Getting an education was a bit like a communicable sexual disease. It made you unsuitable for a lot of jobs and then you had the urge to pass it on.

sorry about the confusion (none / 0) (#25)
by one time poster on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 04:20:08 AM EST

I thought about providing some kind of link to that first sentence, but opted out.  I guess I should have listened to myself.

Your second statement is more accurate as to my intended source.  Mostly people who are against a war use oil as a reason for American action in the gulf.  

I have not stated one way or the other if the US should go to war with Iraq.  I have simply tried to address oil as a prime motivator.

I do not believe, given the above analysis, that the US would go to war with Iraq over oil and oil alone.  There must be something else to it.
___________________

That does it, I wont post again...


[ Parent ]
Ah, I understand now (5.00 / 1) (#27)
by godix on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 04:39:58 AM EST

I guess I've seen the oil arguement thrown around so much that I automatically assumed you were taking a 'we don't need the oil so we should oppose the war' stance. After quickly rescanning your article I notice all you were doing was proving why that arguement is a strawman. My appologies.


Getting an education was a bit like a communicable sexual disease. It made you unsuitable for a lot of jobs and then you had the urge to pass it on.

[ Parent ]
But (3.40 / 5) (#26)
by RoOoBo on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 04:35:37 AM EST

The US doesn't need the oil. It just needs to CONTROL it.

So every nation which needs oil to subsist (everyone in the world) has to pass through US control. Hydraulic despotism?

And as Saudi Arabia becomes more and more trustless as supporter for the US control of the region a new 'puppet' state is needed. Guess where?



Oil and Europe (2.50 / 4) (#58)
by godix on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 03:40:12 PM EST

Actually what's going on here is that the US does not need the oil and we aren't interested in controlling it. If we were after control our troops would be lining up to invade Russia, Venezuela, etc. Since we don't need their oil and we don't want to control it we are free to act based on other concerns. As we all know millions of Iraqi children have died from the sanctions, and of course Hussein has done what he could to raise the death toll by using gas. US actions are one of the few ways of ending both the genecide and sanctions.

As has already been pointed out, Europe does need that oil. During the Gulf War Hussein set fire to many oil pumps in the region. That of course burned up tons of oil and it delayed getting production back to normal for months. Rather than face a shortfall in oil Europe is doing everything in power to make sure Hussein won't destroy their supply again. Not only that, the EU is so desperate for cheap oil that they want the US to drop all sanctions and just let a homicidal maniac use all the nerve gas he can aquire. I would be suprised by this, but I guess Europe does have a history of allowing people to be gassed don't they?

Please note: I don't realy believe this. I just find it interesting that claiming the EU just wants cheap oil actually has more facts backing it up than claiming the US does. It'll be interesting to see how many people who vote 5 for the disproved anti-US statements will give me 1's for disproven anti-EU statements.


Getting an education was a bit like a communicable sexual disease. It made you unsuitable for a lot of jobs and then you had the urge to pass it on.

[ Parent ]

Two points (5.00 / 1) (#61)
by RoOoBo on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 04:06:57 PM EST

Actually what's going on here is that the US does not need the oil and we aren't interested in controlling it. If we were after control our troops would be lining up to invade Russia, Venezuela, etc. Since we don't need their oil and we don't want to control it we are free to act based on other concerns. As we all know millions of Iraqi children have died from the sanctions, and of course Hussein has done what he could to raise the death toll by using gas. US actions are one of the few ways of ending both the genecide and sanctions.

Rusia has nukes.

And US is already trying to 'invade' Venezuela (or don't you remember how fast they supported those fun militars and that petrol industry capo who 'invalidated' the current constitution just after 'getting' the power?).

I would be suprised by this, but I guess Europe does have a history of allowing people to be gassed don't they?

Sure, but then the US would have an history of napaling people (Vietnam), stealing the land and use of biological weapons (spreading illness) to the 'minorities' inside 'their' country.

But of course the US is now different? Isn't it? Or it isn't?



[ Parent ]
Can I give you a 3? (none / 0) (#71)
by Demiurge on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 09:26:23 PM EST

While you made some good points, your clumsy European-baiting hurt the article.

But I would agree that the fact that the situation with Iraq has come this far shows that Europe has lost any sense of how to act in a responsible, independent role in world affairs. It's because of their lax oversight that Saddam was able to re-arm and rebuild to the point where war may again be an option.

[ Parent ]
Feel free (none / 0) (#78)
by godix on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 11:17:01 PM EST

"While you made some good points, your clumsy European-baiting hurt the article."

It was a poor parody of the American-baiting that seems to be getting rated up alot in this article. I'd consider it a troll expect that I said upfront that I didn't believe what I was saying.

"But I would agree that the fact that the situation with Iraq has come this far shows that Europe has lost any sense of how to act in a responsible, independent role in world affairs."

This actually sounds like a reply to a different comment I made in a now dead article. That one may be considered to be EU-baiting, but unlike this time I actually believe the things I said there.


Getting an education was a bit like a communicable sexual disease. It made you unsuitable for a lot of jobs and then you had the urge to pass it on.

[ Parent ]

-1 You are a dipshit (1.57 / 7) (#28)
by local roger on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 06:18:05 AM EST

Any fuckwit could tell you that the aim is not to directly use Iraqi oil but to use it to lower the world price of oil.

And you have cause and effect backward when you talk about OPEC - obviously it raises prices when demand increases, not the other way around. Cumbucket.

On the bloody morning after / One tin soldier rides away. -- Joan Baez

Wouldn't be cheaper to disregard the UN Sanctions (none / 0) (#34)
by Hast on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 08:57:31 AM EST

and purchase oil off iraq than go to war

[ Parent ]
You are a lookalike username troll (nt) (5.00 / 3) (#42)
by localroger on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 12:03:36 PM EST


I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Not lower - raise! (none / 0) (#46)
by jabber on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 12:26:53 PM EST

The US pays 1/4th the price for petrol as Europe does. If the price of oil rises, it will hurt European economy more than it will hurt American economy.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

But... (none / 0) (#52)
by Pikachu with an Axe in his Head on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 01:48:07 PM EST

Europeans pay that much for oil because their governments tax it. If it's really a problem, the government can just forgo the tax revenue. (Snicker.)

[ Parent ]
Right (none / 0) (#54)
by jabber on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 02:13:39 PM EST

That means less money for the government. Less for socialized health care - resulting in a greater burden on the people who will then have to worry about more immediate problems than taxation. Less for military spending, for maintaining national infrastructure like highways and water purification and education. Precisely how it works.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Alternatives, please? (3.80 / 5) (#29)
by andrewm on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 06:20:38 AM EST

There's a few alternative explanations I've heard of. Unfortunately, none of them make much sense.

If oil really isn't motivating anything, then what is?

We're saving the Iraqi people (and their neighbours) from an evil dictator
Unfortunately, the US has a habit of supporting dictators, fundamentalists and assorted drug lords and terrorists who serve US interests, regardless of the interests of these people's victims. Don't waste your time trying to tell me that the US has finally elected a humanitarian president who actually wants to help people. It's the Iraqi people who'll be killed, not just Saddam. (Yes, it's a wonderful justification for toppling Saddam's government - unfortunately, high altitude bombers will kill a lot of civilians long before they do anything to Saddam.)

Saddam might have nuclear weapons
North Korea is even more likely to have nuclear weapons, is considered a major threat to the US, and is also considered to have a significantly better army than Iraq. Apparantly diplomacy is going to work there, but not in Iraq. Any guesses why the brave US military won't attack North Korea (again).

Btw, given the fact that both North Korea and Iraq supposedly are actively supporting terrorism, then why are you worried about terrorists stealing nukes? I'ld be more worried about North Korea giving Osama (or whoever's doing those tapes) a few nukes and the instruction manuals. Even if Saddam does have nukes, an invasion isn't really going to make the world noticably safer.

Saddam supports terrorists! He has to be stopped!
How much money has Saddam received from US oil companies? If he's so terrible, why are American companies still permitted to trade with him? Or if they're not, then how come Saddam could threaten to stop selling oil to the US? You can't allow your oil companies to fund him while claiming that he's using that money to fund attacks against America.

I don't have the slightest problem with anyone calling Saddam evil - he is not a good and decent person. I also don't really mind the idea of him being blown up, and if anyone's going to do it, I'ld even trust the US long before I'ld trust a number of other countries (including more than a few western European countries, as well.)

I simply don't believe that Iraq will be attacked for humanitarian reasons, or that such an attack would actually reduce terrorism. I would like to imagine the US government would be a little more honest about its motives.

alternatives (5.00 / 1) (#57)
by one time poster on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 03:24:08 PM EST

I don't know that a simple, single alternative reason can be found.  History is replete with examples of countries cowering under the shadowy threat of one dictator or another.  The 20th century has numerous examples of humanity standing aside with blind eyes while atrocities are performed inside some country's own borders.  

While nearly everyone has heard something about the Jewish Holocaust, far fewer have heard anything at all about the Armenian Holocaust.  (This is especially true here in the US.)  The primary reason the Jewish Holocaust became a problem for the rest of Europe and the world was not because Hitler was killing Jews, but because Hitler left his own borders.  And even then, the US did not enter into the war until its own borders were attacked.  The global belief that "It's not our problem, yet" is insidious at best.

In the case against Iraq, it turns out that Russia, China, and France decided that economic ties to Iraq were more important than the risks of Iraq not playing well with others.  Does this mean they condone Iraq's past and present behavior?  I doubt it. They are just playing the game as it has always been played.  They are minding their own business until they are directly affected by Saddam's behaviors.

Recently GWB changed the stated policy of the US from that of reaction to preemption.  This is something that the world has never seen.  What does it mean?  Who is responsible for making the choices of what is right and wrong?  So far, this has meant bringing issues to the forefront of the UN and asking the UN to make decisions.  Someone will always say the US didn't do it right, but these are untested waters.  How is it supposed to be done?
___________________

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[ Parent ]
last paragraph (4.00 / 3) (#65)
by martingale on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 08:32:45 PM EST

You're right about the "business as usual" description, but I'd have to say that your last paragraph is way off.

Recently GWB changed the stated policy of the US from that of reaction to preemption. This is something that the world has never seen. What does it mean?
There is nothing "new" about the change in US policy. Alexander the Great was preemptive. The Romans were preemptive. Napoleon was preemptive. Hitler was preemptive. There is nothing special about GWB in this regard. What you've got to ask yourself is not: what do these people say. What you've got to ask yourself is: what do these people do? In the case of GWB, he's amassing troops in the Middle East.

It's all too easy to dismiss actions by listening to rhetoric. That's how all democratic nations are swayed (non democratic nations only need the power of armed troops to be swayed).

What is happening now is that the US government has called a shot, stating clearly its aim to pursue world supremacy. Read the announcement (random Google link). There hasn't yet been a response to this around the world, other than a timid "me too" by the UK and Australian governments.

Sooner or later, there will be a response and positioning from the other countries in the world, to either ally or oppose (more likely) the US. Remember, in WWII the US waited until the war was already one third over before picking a side.

I expect we will know the positions of all the other major players in a few years. I just hope I'll be living in a small neutral country without strategic value...

[ Parent ]

King George? (none / 0) (#74)
by one time poster on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 10:24:59 PM EST

I am coming to believe that there is some great and all powerful deity of mythological proportions in the US White House.  The things of which people believe him capable are quite amazing when one considers... well, him.  Comparing GWB to the conquerors you cite elevates him to a status that I, for one, do not easily accept. But, if you choose to believe the current POTUS to have such powers, who am I to argue with you.  I am sure he would be most flattered.  (No response necessary!)

And yet, there is a subtle difference between the individuals you cite and every US President.  A US President has only a small number of years (except for FDR) to define policy.  All those other individuals were lifers.  Each successive president has to deal with that which is started by their predecessors.  Your examples were not so much interested in blaming the present on the mistakes of the past.  Each made their own presence and futures known by their own actions.  To think that the nature of the US Presidency is going to suddenly change because of one man is the beginnings of a much different discussion.

It appears that throughout history one dictator or another has taken over the world and business as usual has meant that they could do it as long as they didn't attack everyone at once.  Understanding this history is beginning to help me understand that the rest of the world also expects the POTUS to behave in such a fashion.  This also helps me to understand how it can be said of every president no matter which party is in power.  

I am not sure I see the world supremacy remark in your link.  I did find this:

The US National Security Strategy will be based on a distinctly American internationalism that reflects the union of our values and our national interests. The aim of this strategy is to help make the world not just safer but better.
___________________

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[ Parent ]
on belligerence (4.00 / 3) (#82)
by martingale on Mon Dec 23, 2002 at 12:43:48 AM EST

Well, we all know that the current POTUS is a bumbling cowboy whose opinions are pushed and pulled around by his advisors' powerplays. Why else would he change his mind on grave issues, sometimes several times a week (as has happened several times in the past on issues related to the UN/Iraq, Israel/Palestine, off the top of my head). What makes GWB dangerous is simply that he happens to be at the head of a very powerful nation. What makes him dangerous is that he has enormous support from most Americans to do as he pleases, for the next two years and hopefully (not) the next four after that.

But if you recall, the examples I gave all emphasized the preemptiveness of attacks.

The quintessential example is that of the Romans, who destroyed Carthage in the third punic war, purely because it might, one day, perhaps, decide to challenge Rome. A fully defensive move, fully fifty years after the end of the second punic war, and which paved the way for the later conquest of the mediterranean and empire building.

Hitler's annexation of Czecholovakia was an "defensive" action to protect the Germans living in the Sudetenland part of Czechoslovakia from being slaughtered by their evil masters. We all know how that panned out.

You say that a US president has a limited term of office, however remember that most dictators' terms in office start out limited, when they take over a democracy. None of the individuals I mentioned started out as lifers (except for Alexander). The real question isn't what the actual term in office is, but whether it is likely that some combination of factors and emergencies can unnaturally extend the time Bush and his cohorts still has.

But all of this is beside the point. What matters are actions. The US is setting up a war which, by most accounts, it expects to be a pushover. GWB has demonstrated time and again that he considers that talk is cheap. That amounts to thinly veiled aggression.

It appears that throughout history one dictator or another has taken over the world and business as usual has meant that they could do it as long as they didn't attack everyone at once.
Obviously, attacking everyone at once is stupid, if you know your history. When it's been tried, it usually failed. But there is another reason why it should not be tried. A global world war runs the risk of wiping out very significant amounts of civilizational infrastructure, a feat which is impossible in localized wars. If the US had not been able to conduct world war two from the relative safety of its own territory, the speedy reconstruction after the war would not have happened, most notably in Europe. There is a definite danger of wiping out civilization as we know it, which occurs only in a truly global war. Mad Max fans rejoice!

I am not sure I see the world supremacy remark in your link. I did find this:

The US National Security Strategy will be based on a distinctly American internationalism that reflects the union of our values and our national interests. The aim of this strategy is to help make the world not just safer but better.

Well if you can't see this as objectionable, then perhaps you should imagine president Putin stating: "The Russian National Security Strategy will be based on a distinctly Russian internationalism that reflects the union of Russian values and Russian national interests. The aim of this strategy is to help make the world not just safer for Russians, but better."

You may, of course, substitute any other nation for Russia. It is curious that you didn't pick up on the part of the doctrine (perhaps it's not in the link which I pasted) which states that America reserves the right to stop any and all nations around the world from rivalling it militarily, unilaterally, to any and all extents it deems necessary for its own safety and survival. If you don't call that punting for world supremacy, I don't know what else you might call it.

[ Parent ]

the political environment and safety (none / 0) (#85)
by one time poster on Mon Dec 23, 2002 at 02:09:53 AM EST

Your arguments comparing historical preemptive strikes to the current behaviors exhibited by GWB are compelling.  But I have a hard time believing that the same political environments that enabled the likes of Hitler or Napoleon to rise to power exist in the US today.  It has been quite some time since the US has had such massive political and social revolutions as those that enabled these figures to emerge.  I think the political system in the US would have to be much younger and more fragile for similar outcomes to be likely.  

I can also see the trepidation with which the new US National Security Doctrine can be perceived; especially if safety is intended only for Americans (or Russians as in your rewording of the statement.) I understand that the inclusion of the words "for Russians" after "safe" was meant to keep me focused on who was saying the revised script, but I am not sure the two texts continue to have the same meaning. Your point however is valid and your interpretation justified if you perceive safety as only for Americans. It remains to be seen which wording is correct. I assume that safety is implied for America and its allies. But as GWB has stated "you are either with us or against us," he has left no one free to question his actions and this may well be the reason for such mistrust.
___________________

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[ Parent ]
time will tell (5.00 / 1) (#108)
by martingale on Tue Dec 24, 2002 at 03:51:16 AM EST

As always, we'll all have to see how things pan out in the next installments. Those are just my current "pundit's hat" observations. Just to wrap up, I expected that you might pick up on the bit I added in. When I debated about it prior to writing, I decided that American language, traditionally, tends a little to confuse world-wide with US-wide (as in the world series, champion of the world, etc). This is by no means always so, but it happens just enough that it is a known fact around the world. So it can be argued (by non-Americans ;-) that the mention of making the world better strongly implies a US context first. Moreover, since this is really a document about the US National Security Strategy, that context is somewhat implicit anyway.

But we'll see what happens after Christmas.

[ Parent ]

One alternative explanation (3.00 / 1) (#64)
by Kwil on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 08:29:08 PM EST

Can be found in my recent diary.

Unfortunately, being a diary, I tend to ramble a little, so I need to either tighten the focus, or expand it even more with more complete explanations of the various factors.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
A month or so ago, I posted a long and well-resear (5.00 / 6) (#70)
by Demiurge on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 09:23:42 PM EST

ched article debating the merits of the "War For Oil" argument. Of course, after receiving hundreds of votes, it stalled around 60, and was removed from the queue.

Since I'm not going to repost it in this comment, I'll summarize. Oil prices due to a post-Saddam Iraq would not be noticeably different that prices would be if sanctions were lifted. American oil companies have, for years, been against war and for lifting the sanctions. American actions in the Middle East in the first Gulf War directly contradict the "Oil For War" hypothesis. America could have used the Iraqi invasion as a pretext to seize the southern Iraq/northern Kuwait oil fields, or extract concessions on oil from Kuwait before lending help. But the US did none of this.

For the ten-thousandth time, Bush and his cronies want war because they believe(rightly or wrongly) that Iraq presents a clear and present threat to America and its allies, not because of Iraqi oil.

[ Parent ]
Then I obviously don't get it (3.00 / 1) (#87)
by andrewm on Mon Dec 23, 2002 at 03:59:46 AM EST

If American oil companies don't want to trade with Iraq, how on earth can Saddam threaten to stop trading with American oil companies?

That's just not particularly logical - in fact, the claim that Iraq might stop selling oil implies that Iraq is currently selling oil - and last I heard, America is still buying.

I guess you still believe in ethical and honest executives, though. Most people have learned that the people running oil companies sometimes actually tell lies. This means that just because their PR says they oppose ending sanctions doesn't mean that they don't still want control of the oil fields, or that they're opposed to a little oil trading anyway.

Oh, btw, last time round the US was, oddly enough, paying a good deal more attention to archaic and irrelevant organisations, such as the UN. That sort of thing is not a law of nature though - there's no guarantee that the US will continue to acknolwedge any form of international law, just because they did in the past. This US president has, in fact, shown significantly less interest in such things than other recent presidents.

[ Parent ]

If you don't believe it (none / 0) (#118)
by RyoCokey on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 01:57:32 AM EST

...there's little we could possibly say to change your mind. Most people who believe that oil is the overriding cause for war in Iraq do so out of an irrational need to vilify to the US and/or oil companies.

For the record, Iraq trades with the UN under the oil for the food program, with then sells the oil. As for Iraqi oil fields, I'm sure the original owners would probably like their goods back.



"Like all important issues, gun control is an emotional issue that will be resolved by politics, belief, and conviction, not by a resort to "facts'." - [ Parent ]
That doesn't make any sense (none / 0) (#122)
by andrewm on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 03:47:15 PM EST

I pointed out that the oil companies public support for sanctions against Iraq doesn't imply actual support for not trading with Iraq. You're trying to prove me wrong by claiming that it's legal for oil companies to trade with Iraq?

I still say that this is the strongest evidence that Saddam does not in fact support terrorism against the US. If he was a threat to the US, and US companies are funding him, then they would be committing treason, and Bush has made it pretty clear that the US will go after anyone who funds terrorist attacks against America - and not just the last link of the chain. However, as long as the US government openly supports trading with Saddam, I can't see how seriously they can take him as an enemy.

Earlier on, some odd person claimed that oil companies support sanctions against Iraq - but if those sanctions don't stop them buying and selling oil, then why on earth would they oppose those sanctions? And does it actually mean anything, if the sanctions aren't affecting them?

Btw, claiming that oil companies want to regain control of oilfields is an odd way to argue that they don't want Saddam removed. If anything, that would imply that oil companies would do anything they could to encourage "regime change", especially if the new regiem is required to be US-friendly.

Oil companies want control over Iraqi oil. Even you seem to agree with this - so how can you argue that they support leaving Saddam where he is?

Were you trying to argue that oil is a motivation for this war? If so, you're doing fairly well.

[ Parent ]

If you can't read my post (none / 0) (#125)
by RyoCokey on Fri Dec 27, 2002 at 12:10:51 AM EST

You're trying to prove me wrong by claiming that it's legal for oil companies to trade with Iraq?

If you are't going to bother to actually read my rather brief post, I'm not gonna bother arguing with you.



"Like all important issues, gun control is an emotional issue that will be resolved by politics, belief, and conviction, not by a resort to "facts'." - [ Parent ]
Saddam can sell oil too. (2.00 / 2) (#31)
by drquick on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 07:44:19 AM EST

And how does a war make oil more available? Saddam can sell oil just as well as anyone else. Maybe he just needs some peace and stability.

No, he can't (5.00 / 1) (#43)
by jabber on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 12:21:01 PM EST

Iraq is under UN sanction, and can not sell oil for profit. Only trade it for food and humanitarian aid.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

The US does not need the oil itself (3.40 / 5) (#45)
by jabber on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 12:23:59 PM EST

The US does however need, or rather want, control/influence over the oil, because this will translate into sway over those who do need the oil. I posted an article yesterday on the subject, but it was too riddled with "conspiracy theory" to get posted. I guess I failed to make my point adequately clear. If you'd like, I can repost it as a diary.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

I think I read your article. (4.33 / 3) (#53)
by one time poster on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 01:55:52 PM EST

I actually got the idea for this article while reading the comments for that article.  Somebody was throwing oil around as the reason for this "impending" war.  They were spouting off opinions about US petroleum usage without any backup.  It turns out that just about everything they said is untrue, yet because no one did the research, their arguments stood unchallenged.  Well, this article is the research.  It is now up to everyone to determine their own truths instead of being told what to think.  If someone can provide a series of facts and present a case then I can easily be swayed.  I cannot be easily swayed by an opinion.  I do thank you for your article, because it gave me the opportunity to research this one.
___________________

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[ Parent ]
Wrong (3.50 / 2) (#69)
by Demiurge on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 09:20:31 PM EST

If the US wanted sole control over Iraqi oil, it would not be busy making promises to France and Russia that their commercial obligations in Iraq will be honored in a post-Saddam era.

If the US was concerned with controlling Iraq's oil fields, they would go it alone, instead of bringing the case(admittedly, somewhat reluctantly) to the UN.

For the thousandth time, this war isn't about oil. The administration is pushing for war because it believes(rightly or wrongly) that Iraq is a clear and present threat to America and its allies.

[ Parent ]
Wrong (3.00 / 1) (#75)
by jabber on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 10:40:02 PM EST

The administration knows full well that Iraq isn't a threat to America. The US has only one ally in Iraq's sphere of influence. That ally, Israel, can more than take care of itself against all threats.

This was is about influence, not only about influence of oil but influence of international politics. And, by getting it's way in something like this, America is showing that it can get it's way on virtually anything.

This war isn't about Iraq. It's about the deals made behind the scenes, to secure support of other nations. It's about concessions America makes to the likes of Russia and Germany, to get their support now, which it will later use as leverage.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

My theory (none / 0) (#80)
by Sir Rastus Bear on Mon Dec 23, 2002 at 12:34:33 AM EST

I think this is all driven by 9/11.

After that event, we went out into the world to try any find out why these people hate us so much. What we found is that much of the middle east ... the so-called "man in the street" in the region ... is genuinely outraged at the creation and expansion of Israel. Take away the Israeli-Palestinian problem and Al-Qaeda loses most of its potential recruits.

Bush has struck a behind-the-scenes deal with Sharon and the Likud that if the US gets rid of Saddam and replaces him with a moderate, pro-Western - not overtly hostile to Israel - regime, then the Israelis will evacuate their more forward settlements and strike a peace deal with the Palestinians ... basically ending the mideast conflict for the near future.


"It's the dog's fault, but she irrationally yells at me that I shouldn't use the wood chipper when I'm drunk."
[ Parent ]

My counter theory (5.00 / 1) (#91)
by jabber on Mon Dec 23, 2002 at 09:00:37 AM EST

I think that 9/11 was caused by this. Paranoid though it may be, I think that 9/11 was expected, and allowed (perhaps even encouraged as far as schedule goes) to happen, with the knowledge that it could be used to justify certain other actions which the world would never accept on part of America, we're it not for a major national tragedy.

I know I should be wearing that tin-foil hat. I do. But this whole mess smells funny to me. It doesn't have that cause-effect feel that was there after the bombing of the USS Cole, the embassies in Africa, the 91 attempted bombing of the WTC, and so on.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Wrong still. (3.50 / 2) (#76)
by valeko on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 11:03:24 PM EST

If the US wanted sole control over Iraqi oil, it would not be busy making promises to France and Russia that their commercial obligations in Iraq will be honored in a post-Saddam era.

The U.S. will still, for all practical and intents and purposes, end up dominating Iraq. The concern of France, Russia, etc., is that they will end up totally empty-handed. Even if the new pro-western government honours their agreements, that still leaves the U.S. firmly entrenched and firmly in control of Iraq. As far as concrete things like oil exploration contracts, I'm sure that Russian oil companies wouldn't get very far before somehow being expropriated by the pro-American leadership.

Unless some kind of profit-sharing arrangement can be devised, of course.

If the US was concerned with controlling Iraq's oil fields, they would go it alone, instead of bringing the case(admittedly, somewhat reluctantly) to the UN.

The "get UN approval" perogative is purely theatrical. (Not unlike the UN itself, where its position as a meaningful enforcer of international cooperation and peace is concerned.)

The administration is pushing for war because it believes(rightly or wrongly) that Iraq is a clear and present threat to America and its allies.

Where "threat" means opposition to imperialist designs by virtue of being an obstacle, you're certainly correct.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

They are not mutually exclusive (none / 0) (#79)
by Rahaan on Mon Dec 23, 2002 at 12:25:31 AM EST

Tell me something - why is there talk about war in Iraq, but not North Korea?  Do you not see the vast and immediate influx of influence and power that would stem from an American-dominated Iraq?

Oil is a material manifestation of power.  Power is inherently attractive to the administration.  Influence in Iraq leads to oil which leads to influence in the Middle East which leads to more oil which leads to more influence 'round the world.  Yay.

Mix this with two servings of Strong Moral Reasoning (ridding everyone of an evil man with his evil weapons) with a dash of a theoretically quickly winnable war and you've got saber-rattling all around...


you know, jake.. i've noticed that, since the tacos started coming, the mail doesn't so much come as often, or even at all
[ Parent ]

Oil use and the fav'rit american passtime... (3.80 / 5) (#55)
by Hatamoto on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 02:30:57 PM EST

One point seemingly overlooked in the comments thus far is the difference in US oil demands based on what it's doing at the time.

During periods of mobilization for war, oil use rises. An army marches on it's stomach... an army's machines ride on it's oil. So while there may be enough oil outside of OPEC to satisfy US domestic oil demand sufficiently for industry and consumer use, the ability to front an effective fighting force is substantially influenced to availability of oil and requires more supply than what might be easily obtained in the future, given the present political climate.

While I doubt it's the ENTIRE reason (profit, geopolitical control and, yes, maybe even an element of convenient humanitarianism all mix into one big mess of contrasting motivations), I'm sure securing a solid supply for future military conquests^H^H^H^Hpolice actions is another substantial one to add to the mix.

--
"Innocence is no defense." - Federal District Judge William H. Yohn (People v. Mumia Abu-Jamal)

What I don't get (5.00 / 2) (#59)
by SocratesGhost on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 04:02:59 PM EST

What I don't get is this: if the whole entire goal of PG1 was to get oil, we did a damn lousy job of it. The output from Kuwait is less than pre-war output, especially when compared against the fact that we lost access to Iraqi oil as well. Factor in the cost incurred to restore the access that we have and it's hard to see that we did this out of a mere sense of greed.

Now, if that's our goal again in PG2, we're going to see little advantage there, either. It sounds as though Russia already has the lion's share of agreements in place to get Iraqi oil, the U.S. would be foolish not to honor them. Honoring existing agreements is a requirement for them not to veto any action permitted by the U.N. security council of which they are a permanent member.

-Soc
I drank what?


You're probably right (3.25 / 4) (#62)
by Rogerborg on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 05:53:41 PM EST

However, I like to plan ahead for my kids, and for my retirement.  I detest Bush's mendacity, but his plan to seize control of Iraq's oil is an inspired piece of mid term planning.

Oil is power in every sense of the word.  BTU's, economic, military.  Having just enough isn't enough.  We need it all, because when it runs out, half the world is going to hate us.  We'd damn well better have the strongest military-industrial complex in the world, so that the fear outweighs the hate.

Oh what a joyous world we're building for our kids.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs

Shucks. (none / 0) (#99)
by jmzero on Mon Dec 23, 2002 at 02:00:17 PM EST

I was kind of hoping that technology and a shift away from fundamentalist religion would pave the way for global prosperity, unity, and peace.

Hey, it's Christmas!

.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

Backwards? (2.75 / 4) (#63)
by Sloppy on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 06:04:22 PM EST

Oil is frequently cited as one of the primary factors in the US's decisions for action in the middle east.
Some people might say it is about oil, but the purpose isn't to get the oil. They would say the purpose is to disrupt the supply (either through war or threat or war) so that prices go up.

"Gulf War II: This time, it's personal."

Of course, we know those people are crazy, as our leader and his family and friends have no significant stake in that industry. And he has repeatedly demonstrated great honor and integrity so that, even if he did have a financial motive, we know he wouldn't abuse his power for personal gain.
"RSA, 2048, seeks sexy young entropic lover, for several clock cycles of prime passion..."

Hmm.. not a bad title.. (none / 0) (#98)
by Kwil on Mon Dec 23, 2002 at 12:59:50 PM EST

Although I think that somehow, Bush would prefer "Gulf War B".

Heck, if even the name of the war has his initial attached, how can it not be his destiny?

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
Did you know? (4.00 / 3) (#66)
by X-Nc on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 08:34:33 PM EST

Did you know that there's more oil under the north American continent than in the middle east? Did you know that if the oil companies were to use this oil instead of OPEC's the prices of refined products would be much lower for the people but the profits margin for said companies would be much smaller? Did you know that one can own land with a significant oil field underneath it and have it valued at nearly nothing? Could you guess that my mother owns such land? Do you care?

--
Aaahhhh!!!! My K5 subscription expired. Now I can't spell anymore.
So shouldn't you be going into business? (n/t) (none / 0) (#73)
by Anatta on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 10:05:16 PM EST


My Music
[ Parent ]
uh... try econ 101 (5.00 / 2) (#77)
by Adam Tarr on Sun Dec 22, 2002 at 11:13:20 PM EST

Did you know that if the oil companies were to use this oil instead of OPEC's the prices of refined products would be much lower for the people but the profits margin for said companies would be much smaller?
That's a half true statement (the second half). Yes, it's true, there is a TON of oil out there, that people know about, that isn't being lifted out. That's because it's a lot more expensive to extract it.

There's a huge amount of variables that go into how expensive the oil is to get out of the ground. The oil that is by far the cheapest to get out of the ground is in the oil fields around the persian gulf, where you can virtually stick a straw in the ground and get the stuff. Many other places in the world have higher but still manageable costs. Other places have costs so high that to extract and refine a barrel of oil would cost more than the going rate for said barrel of oil. It seems your mother owns such a piece of land.

This is why I cannot believe the first part of your statement. If domestic oil companies had a way to produce the oil cheaper than the going rate, they could sell it for a profit AT the going rate, or a hair under it. If "the prices of refined products would be much lower for the people" then that would mean they would be cutting the market price by a wide margin, and where is the profit in that? It makes no economic sense.

If the oil could be brought out and sold at the market rate for profit, it would be. The fact that the land isn't worth anything tells me that it costs to much to pump it out. No other explanation makes any economic sense. Either it's cheap (cheaper than the market price) to pump, so they would pump it, or it's expensive to pump, so they don't.

The only people who have the ability to sell significantly below the market rate are the only people who have significantly lower extraction costs than everyone else, and that's the Saudis. Which is the whole point of OPEC: the people who have access to cheap oil all get together, and they agree to only sell a certain amount of oil, such that the world price (determined by world oil supply and demand) is the highest price they can get away with. That price, naturally, is the minimum profitable price for the REST of the world's oil producers. The rest of the world can't sell at a lower price, because the market price is the lowest price they can still earn a solid profit with. And this is why OPEC meets periodically to change their production quotas: they have to make sure not to sell too much oil, or the world price will drop too low, and they won't be making their maximum profit any more. Domestic US oil companies have virtually no power in price-setting; only the OPEC producers have any market power.

This concept also explains why it's obviously incorrect to say the US is going to war in Iraq to help Texas oilmen. If the taps were opened up on the cheap Iraqi crude oil, then the world price would drop, and Texas oilmen would make a lot less money. Now, it's reasonable to argue that the US is going to war for the auto industry, or for international oil companies looking to move in on Iraq, but actual domestic US oil reserves will become LESS valuable if Iraq suddenly becomes a friendly, free-market country. More Iraqi oil would depress the world oil price, making some US oil fields less profitable, and making others actually lose money.

All of the conclusions I reached here should be obvious to anyone who's taken an introductory college-leve economics coursee. It's just supply and demand, market power, and marginal costs.

-Adam

[ Parent ]

It's all about the green (none / 0) (#102)
by X-Nc on Mon Dec 23, 2002 at 04:44:36 PM EST

> There's a huge amount of variables that go into
> how expensive the oil is to get out of the ground.

True. But one of the reasons it's so much cheaper for OPEC to mine the oil is that they don't pay the cost of the work to get the oil out of the ground that the oil companies would pay in the US. There are no unions and no OSHA and no taxes and no legal fees... See, what I mean?

It is true, however, that the whole topic isn't as cut-n-dry as this. There's lots of other issues that impact anything done on a global scale.

--
Aaahhhh!!!! My K5 subscription expired. Now I can't spell anymore.
[ Parent ]

Yes, but is it crude oil? (none / 0) (#127)
by Fon2d2 on Fri Dec 27, 2002 at 11:09:27 AM EST

Because if you're talking about shale or tar-sand or some other s**t like that you may as well just shut the f**k up.

[ Parent ]
But oil is fungible (4.00 / 4) (#81)
by arthurpsmith on Mon Dec 23, 2002 at 12:37:03 AM EST

like money, so it really doesn't matter where any particular country actually imports from - what matters is the price we pay - and that's determined by the supply/demand ratio. Demand, world-wide is pretty inflexible. The Arab OPEC countries have a huge influence on supply, wildly disproportionate to their current market share, especially as far as US imports go, as you point out.

Europe, with their high taxes, is much better insulated than the US from oil price hikes, at least as far as transportation goes. And your numbers (20% of US "BTU's consumed" supplied by "petroleum", vs. 63% of EU "energy requirements" supplied by "gas and oil"?) seem not strictly comparable. What exactly is an "import" for the EU, when half their imported oil comes from the North Sea, which I would have taken as part of the EU (except I guess Britain isn't strictly an EU member?)

In any case, if Arab oil is so insignificant, there's no good reason to provide any support to those terror-sponsoring Saudi's any more, right? That's why President Bush keeps entertaining Saudi princes on his ranch, right? Riiigghht....

Energy - our most critical problem; the solution may be in space.


And OPEC has that influence because... (none / 0) (#84)
by Adam Tarr on Mon Dec 23, 2002 at 01:33:20 AM EST

The Arab OPEC countries have a huge influence on supply, wildly disproportionate to their current market share, especially as far as US imports go, as you point out.
The reason they have this influence is because they are the only nations producing significantly below capacity, given current market conditions. The Saudis could produce a lot more oil without increasing their cost per barrel produced by very much - that's not really true anywhere else in the world. So, only the OPEC nations have the ability to make the world price drop, simply by increasing their production. See my above comment for more detail.

On the other hand, the US could probably make the world oild price drop as well, by instituting a large European-style gas tax. This would probably drop demand enough to kill off the less profitable oil producers and bring the overall price down. Although this would probably be sound public policy (at least in the long run), don't expect to see it from this president or this congress.

-Adam

[ Parent ]

Not a member? (none / 0) (#112)
by craigtubby on Tue Dec 24, 2002 at 05:02:01 AM EST

(except I guess Britain isn't strictly an EU member?)

We are and EU member, but I think the way it works is that the imports for all the member states are added up - for example if the UK imported all their sausages from Germany, then the EU import of sausages would go up as a whole, even though both countries are members, of couse exports of EU sausages would go up too :-)

try to make ends meet, you're a slave to money, then you die.

* Webpage *
[ Parent ]

supply, demand, and collusion (4.71 / 7) (#83)
by Adam Tarr on Mon Dec 23, 2002 at 01:21:57 AM EST

If world oil prices truly are set by OPEC, it appears that each rise in price is the equivalent to a little plea for help. Comparing the average price of fuel over the past 17 years to the percentage of total imports purchased from OPEC countries by the US yields a positive correlation. Each time the price of oil increased, the US responded by purchasing more oil from OPEC countries. While this action could be the result of drops in production in non OPEC countries and quick response by OPEC to take at advantage of it, this is unlikely.

OPEC has many members and they all need cash. Recently, OPEC has had to increase their quota's to reduce cheating by member countries. This implies that oil is really a buyers market and that lower prices are available to for those who look for them. Apparently the US does not look for lower oil prices. [emphasis added]

No, that's not what it implies at all. It implies that people who sell oil are in the business of making money. Not too surprising, really.

The world price for is determined by how much people are willing to pay for a given amout of oil. The cheaper it is, the more demand there is. On the other hand, the more oil is produced, the more it costs to produce it. This is because, if you produce only a little oil, you would only pump from the places where it's cheap to pump it (e.g. desert around the Persian Gulf). But as you produce more, you need to go to places where it costs more to get the oil (e.g. offshore rig in the North Atlantic). So normally, in a market for a commodity like oil, there's a nice equilibrium where just enough is produced to satisfy demand at that price, and the price is such that the most expensive place to get oil can just barely make a profit.

But OPEC mucks this up. The key is to understand what OPEC is, and why it works. OPEC is a group all the oil producers in the world who, by the nature of oil extraction in their regions, can pump oil very cheaply. So they agree to produce a small enough amount that the world price is as high as they can make it go. If they pinched their production any more, other oil producers would be able to make enough oil to keep the price from dropping very much. If they produced any more oil, the price would drop and they would make less of a profit, as a group. So they set a production level that maximizes their total profits.

So how does this explain the cheating? The problem for collusive cartels like OPEC is that while they all want the price to stay high, every one of them has an incentive to produce a little more. If you're an OPEC nation, edging up your production a little bit will get you more revenue without changing the world price very much, so it's good business. But if every one of them does this, the world price drops, and they all make less money. It's the classic "prisoner's dilemma"; while you hope the other prisoner (nation) doesn't rat you out (make more oil), it's always in your interest to rat him out (make more oil).

For this reason, cartels like OPEC are inherently unstable. So they continually lean on one another, and give quid-pro-quo promises to each other that they will keep the production down. But there's always an upward pressure. This is why the quotas go up. It has nothing to do with "oil [being] really a buyers market and that lower prices are available to for those who look for them." The price for oil, give or take transportation costs, is a constant around the world.

So in conclusion, no, the US does not need Iraqi oil, per se. If we could install a friendly, non-OPEC regime in Iraq, however, the flow of oil from there could pull the world price down a fair amount. But it's worth noting that this is BAD for the US oil producers, so Dubya wouldn't want to invade Iraq just to help his Texas oil buddies. Detroit SUV buddies, maybe, but not Texas oil buddies.

-Adam

Not oil, land (3.60 / 5) (#86)
by Silent Chris on Mon Dec 23, 2002 at 03:41:08 AM EST

Many activists focus on the oil aspect, while being totally blind to the real issue: it's not oil we're after, it's land. Specifically, we need another "wedge" into the Middle East to go along with Israel and (most recently) Afghanistan. Wedge yourself in, impress and convert others to your culture, and have them work for you. This is far more valuable than any oil deposits -- that's a short-term investment, while a wedge is an investment for the future.

No (4.33 / 3) (#92)
by wrax on Mon Dec 23, 2002 at 09:16:07 AM EST

It is about oil. When your country possess the capability to launch attacks from bases in Saudi Arabia, Qutar, Israel or Pakistan you don't need a wedge into the middle east.

Basicly the US doesn't produce enough oil for its own needs, so it needs to import and consume from other countries.

Now, think for a moment about what happens when the world decides to stop selling oil to the US. Some are quick to say that the US just attacks any nation it wants to secure oil reserves. Right? Wrong. The United States cannot hold any oil fields of signifigent size to supply itself for very long if the populace is against them. Sure they can level the area, kill millions, but the american people will not stand for that and the president will be out of office before that happens anyway.

So what happens? Who wins?

Nobody wins. The world is locked into a cycle now where if any of the partners falls or leaves the dance, the whole thing can come crashing down in one large, complex, interwoven, teetering structure. Oil is the focal point, what is the force that toppels the world? Its own teetering, lumbering weight perhaps?
--------------------

I don't know whats worse, the fact that people actually write this crap or the fact that people actually vote it up.
[ Parent ]

Funding (4.00 / 1) (#104)
by Silent Chris on Mon Dec 23, 2002 at 07:25:07 PM EST

capability to launch attacks from bases in Saudi Arabia

This didn't stop the terrorist funding from within Saudi Arabia.  Having a few bases doesn't constitute cultural change or endorsement.

[ Parent ]

You're missing the point. (2.00 / 1) (#120)
by phybre187 on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 02:04:06 PM EST

What does cultural change have to do with anything? Who is trying to change Arabian culture? And what does that have to do with terrorism?

The middle east is the focal point of anti-US terrorism because they know why we're really there, not because of some fucking deficiency in their culture.

Do you really think the United States gives a flying fuck about Americanizing the middle eastern states?

All we care about there is controlling the oil. Which means controlling the state. Which was the point of the Shah of Iran. And the point of having air bases in Saudi Arabia. And the point of sowing paranoia between middle eastern states with the Iraq-Kuwait skirmish. And believe it or not, we installed Hussein in Iraq. And gave him weapons to fight Iran. Chemical and biological weapons. The same ones we're using now as a pretext to depose him, because he didn't turn out to be as reliable as the Shah was. And the Iraqi people are suffering because of this. Because we're denying UN aid to Iraq after bombing their sources of power and water. Most of their food was imported already, so no big deal to stop that from coming. Check out the current infant mortality figures for Iraq. Iraq used to have the highest standard of living in the middle east.

This has never been about stopping terrorism. Of course having bases in Saudi Arabia didn't prevent terrorism. Why would it? Terrorism is, by definition, a non-military act. It can't be prevented with air bases. The United States has never had an interest in the middle east other than oil. There's no other fucking reason to be there.

[ Parent ]
Land grab (none / 0) (#93)
by schergr on Mon Dec 23, 2002 at 10:02:54 AM EST

I couldn't agree more. For a variety of reasons the media has chosen, and we have allowed, our attentions to be attracted to the middle east Oil issue. In my opinion, this is not the real issue. Just to our South, we have the second most oil rich set of countries in the world. We also have them pretty much in our pockets, so this is why we stay out of their problems except when things are really going in the crapper. On the other hand, as the previous poster pointed out, in the Middle East, we have a very weak foot hold (in Israel) and could certainly use a stronger one. A stronger one, bordering with Saudi Arabia and Iran certainly coulnd't hurt for when one of our future presidents (maybe Bush 3? ) decides to conquer the Middle East. Fortunately, our allies are getting some balls these days and this isn't likely to ever happen, particularly with Korea and China heating up these days. Compared to Korea and China, the Middle East is climate controlled. Greg
Greg Scher The Epicenter Weblog
[ Parent ]
Except that.. (none / 0) (#121)
by phybre187 on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 02:24:07 PM EST

..the US has no shortage of land OR labor as it is. So how is that far more valuable than oil? US economy is entirely oil-dependent. If we allow a large source of it to fall out of our control, that's bad. Whether there's oil in South America and Russia or not, it's still bad. Very bad. If you need me to draw a graph in crayon to this effect, I can. Iraq and Afghanistan, as LAND, are completely useless to us. They have no significant natural resources except oil and the people are impoverished (mainly because of the United States). We are supporting Israel because they're a de facto US colony. They'll do what we want. Look at Liberia for a historical example of same. Also the Philippines.

I find it ironic that you, of all people, use the phrase "totally blind to the real issue".

[ Parent ]
I asked Rev. Lovejoy, he said: (2.33 / 3) (#94)
by ennui on Mon Dec 23, 2002 at 10:23:24 AM EST

Long answer, "yes" with an "if," short answer, "no" with a "but."

<(='_'=<)
kirby loves you
Like they say: (2.20 / 5) (#96)
by valar on Mon Dec 23, 2002 at 11:48:35 AM EST

NO MORE BLOOD FOR OIL.

Your references contradict your assertions! (4.75 / 4) (#103)
by arthurpsmith on Mon Dec 23, 2002 at 04:47:54 PM EST

See this comment for a bit more discussion of this...

Basically, "one time poster" here has pulled numbers out of a hat to argue a point that the real numbers completely contradict:

  • Fact: US dependence on gas and oil relative to toal energy use is the exact same 63% that is true of Europe
  • Fact: US imports from the Persian Gulf are 24% of total US oil imports; Western Europe's are 23% of total Euro oil imports.
  • Fact: US tax policy (federal plus state taxes of about 30-50 cents/gallon) means a 50% rise in base oil price translates to a 33%+ rise in "at the pump" energy price; European tax policy ($3 or so/gallon) reduces a 50% rise to not much more than 10% overall.
  • Fact: North American oil production peaked in the late 1990's; Western Europe's production has risen since then, and Russia has enormous capacity still coming on line.

Given all that, who do you think really is more dependent on Middle East oil?

Energy - our most critical problem; the solution may be in space.


Is this really relevant? (none / 0) (#116)
by RyoCokey on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 01:41:37 AM EST

I'm not sure how proving oil is less vital to Europe changes the argument over the US's possible motivation. It's not so much that Europe needs oil less, as it is the fact the US is basically going to chose the next Iraqi government, not Europe. Europe was never in a position to gain the Iraqi fields in the first place. Perhaps if they were, it would make a difference, but not as it stands today.



"Like all important issues, gun control is an emotional issue that will be resolved by politics, belief, and conviction, not by a resort to "facts'." - [ Parent ]
Its not so much Iraq (2.33 / 3) (#105)
by X3nocide on Mon Dec 23, 2002 at 08:04:33 PM EST

As it is the entire middle east. Its fairly clear from revealed government actions that a politically divided region is more beneficial. The war on Kuwait was more to stop the conglomeration of the middle eastern states. Its not quite as effective as it would be without OPEC but distrust certainly puts pressure on the OPEC members. I wouldn't be suprised if subert military actions in the area were only slightly predated by the formation of OPEC.

pwnguin.net
Ah, the fatal error located! (4.88 / 9) (#107)
by arthurpsmith on Mon Dec 23, 2002 at 11:09:13 PM EST

one time poster writes:
The DOE's Annual Energy Outlook for 2003 shows that petroleum is presently about 20% of the total energy production by fuel supplying approximately 15 out of the 75 trillion BTU's consumed.
The graph linked to, however is for electricity generation - and doesn't seem to have any of the numbers (20%, 15, 75 trillion BTU's) mentioned. However, assuming the 75 trillion really meant 75 quadrillion, it's conceivable "on time poster" was not actually trolling, but simply made the mistake of leaving out the transportation sector of the economy. Which has some rather important dependencies on petroleum right now.

Anyway, instead of 20%, the real number can be found in this table, where the section "Total Energy Consumption" lists for 2001:

  • Petroleum subtotal: 38.46 quadrillion BTU's
  • Natural gas: 21.42 quadrillion BTU's
  • Total energy consumption: 97.30 quadrillion BTU's.
So instead of 15 out of 75 trillion, the actual fraction for petroleum is about 38.5 out of 97, or very close to 40% of US energy consumption, instead of the 20% "one time poster" came up with.

That immediately doubles all of "one time poster's" numbers about our dependence on gulf oil. But even those numbers seem to have been misinterpreted on the low side - going with the actual numbers for 2000 of 24% of US oil imports coming from the gulf region, and imports being 55% of US oil use, that gives us a direct dependence, in our total energy picture, on gulf oil of 5.3%, not the "less than 2%" that "one time poster" keeps repeating. And that 5.3% is the number set to double in the next couple of decades.

5.3% vs. 2% is a pretty big difference - off by more than a factor of 2... but "one time poster" has used even more dubious numbers for Europe's dependence on the gulf.

By contrast, gas and oil presently make up 63% of the EU's energy requirements.
Note that "gas and oil" are lumped together here. In fact, European gas usage is somewhat less than in the US, but if you look at the detailed numbers, splitting it down to just petroleum, petroleum accounts for about 43% of Western Europe's energy usage. So by not lumping in gas, the 63% becomes close to the US's 40%.

Now, the import picture for Europe is a bit complicated because, since it is not one nation but many, production in one European nation consumed in another is considered an "import". So, in fact, "imports" for Western Europe come to something close to 100% of oil use, rather than 55% as in the US. That means the 23% figure for Europe's direct dependence on the gulf region for oil multiplies the 43% contribution of oil to Europe's energy use, to get roughly 10%.

I.e., "one time poster" when repeating (in the comments) that Europe's dependence on the gulf for energy is 65% is off by a factor of more than 6!

To summarize to this point:

  • US dependence on the gulf region (as of 2001) amounted to 5.3% of US total energy requirements, not 2%.
  • Western Europe's dependence on the gulf region (as of 2000) amounted to 9.9% of Western Europe's total energy requirements, not 65%.

More importantly, "one time poster" gets some economic basics very wrong:

Each time the price of oil increased, the US responded by purchasing more oil from OPEC countries.
what that clearly means is that, at those times when the price of oil increased, the OPEC countries were responsible for a greater fraction of world-wide oil production. The reason prices rise is always because supply cannot meet demand - that means that either these times corresponded to a surge in demand, or to a decline in supply from non-OPEC sources. Either way, the OPEC cartel was doing what it was organized to do: exert market power. And the center of that power is in the gulf states, where the greatest reserves and cheapest oil resources are located.

Asia is actually even more dependent on oil imports than Europe is - but no need to get into that here... The main point is, most of "one time poster"'s numbers were way off, and it's very hard to trust the conclusions that resulted...

Energy - our most critical problem; the solution may be in space.


Uncle! (5.00 / 1) (#114)
by one time poster on Tue Dec 24, 2002 at 12:46:34 PM EST

As I said in an earlier post, I can easily be swayed by a good argument with strong facts behind it. You have both of these. And, as you mention or imply in at least three posts on this page, I am innumerate. (Actually, I think my basic math was fine, the sources of my data and the validity of my equations need some serious work.)

While researching your first response, I found where the 63% came from (page 2, Key Message 2) and how I misapplied it. I neglected to back in to the portion of this which would come from the Gulf and I was mixing oil and gas resulting in an apparently unstable concoction. I did find this windows based self expanding zip file with excel sheets inside that provides a more detailed look at the numbers. The workbook inside named weda2002.xlw (on sheet b) has the information I was looking for the first time I tried to do this. In 2000, Oil as a Percent of Total Energy Demand for the US was 38.9 and for Europe it was 43.6. The projection for 2020 is 39.7 and 39.9 respectively. Clearly, the US is going to be become more reliant and Europe less.

I do agree, it is becoming much more difficult to trust the conclusion drawn that the US is not after oil. Thanks for helping me figure that out.


___________________

That does it, I wont post again...


[ Parent ]
A valid counter (none / 0) (#115)
by RyoCokey on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 01:39:40 AM EST

Would be an exploration into the rising prominence of Russia as a supplier for world oil (A non-OPEC nation as well) as well as possible shifts towards natural gas (trends in new power plants, fuel cells, etc.)

One might also throw in Venezuela, which often bends to US demands, and is increasingly in a poor position as Chavez's grasp on power seems to grow ever shakier.



"Like all important issues, gun control is an emotional issue that will be resolved by politics, belief, and conviction, not by a resort to "facts'." - [ Parent ]
Ok! (none / 0) (#123)
by arthurpsmith on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 04:16:02 PM EST

Hope I didn't spoil your Christmas - and thanks for being reasonable in the end :-)

Energy - our most critical problem; the solution may be in space.


[ Parent ]
Use up their oil first while it is cheap (none / 0) (#126)
by Eisernkreuz on Fri Dec 27, 2002 at 12:22:47 AM EST

Well, part of U.S. policy is to drink the Gulf dry while it is cheap and plentiful. Why use up all our reserves when we can use everyone else's? Once they don't have oil, then what do they do for money? Beat their wives? Make them wear bags on their heads? Rape their children? Export terrorists? Their power base will be gone. So, yes, it is a GREAT idea to use up the Gulf oil. Why, that is sort of like buying every single intelligent, hard-working American out of the country for 45 bucks a head. It would cripple our country. What Americans do through hard work (make money) They have to lean abnormally hard on oil for.

The fact is that their repressed, medieval societies where women have to wear bags over themselves (sort of a "visual condom") a martyr's death is suppopsedly rewarded by having 70 virgins to molest for eternity (Incidentally the Koran doesn't say that at all. That is some twisted idiot's interpretation which all too many of that belief system seem to take as being true. Who needs the book when you can have someone tell you what they think it should have said?) has only ONE major source of income: Oil.

So, yeah. let's drink 'em dry. Less oil=less power. Then they will have to fall back to that dirty, dirty word. "Capitalism", where you WORK and produce USEFUL STUFF to get paid, instead of lounging on a couch of oil and financing world terrorism with the profits.

.

[ Parent ]

There are no reasons. (2.50 / 4) (#124)
by QuantumG on Thu Dec 26, 2002 at 09:52:18 PM EST

It's just a family feud ok? Bush should resign for abusing his power to complete his daddy's legacy. Iraq can comply with every request of the UN. They could offer to melt down every one of their weapons and make statues of Bush to give to the Iraqi children and Bush would still attack them because his family doesn't like Saddam's family. It's that simple. Even if Saddam was to step down to protect Iraq from the US's might, Bush would try to railroad him into an international court or have him assasinated by the CIA (which he would legally be allowed to do because Saddam would no longer be a world leader). If there's a mad man in power here, it's Bush. Hopefully he can be stalled for another 2 years and the next idiot the US people vote into power might not be so gun hoe.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
speaking of a lack of reasoning... (5.00 / 1) (#130)
by klamath on Sun Dec 29, 2002 at 10:29:55 PM EST

It's just a family feud ok?
Can you cite any evidence for this?
Bush should resign for abusing his power to complete his daddy's legacy.
Bush Sr. could easily have conquered Baghdad if he had wanted to; the idea that he somehow deliberately chose not to, then waited out two Clinton administrations, then waited for his son to get into office, and then influenced major US foreign policy decisions just to satisfy a personal vendetta is so rediculous that it doesn't warrant further comment.

In contrast, how about the theory (radical, I know) that as the last remaining superpower, the US feels it has an obligation to protect the other nations in the world from a rogue state that is seeking to acquire the capability to use weapons of mass destruction. Whether you think that's a misguided motivation or not, it seems the most reasonable explanation to me.

can comply with every request of the UN. They could offer to melt down every one of their weapons and make statues of Bush to give to the Iraqi children and Bush would still attack them because his family doesn't like Saddam's family. It's that simple.
Again, could I trouble you for the inconvenience of providing the slightest shred of evidence to back up your empty rhetoric? The US decision to pursue action against Iraq under the banner of the UN is certainly not the behavior of a unilaterialist power.

[ Parent ]
It's so scary it's comical (3.50 / 2) (#131)
by QuantumG on Sun Dec 29, 2002 at 11:01:52 PM EST

It's just a family feud ok?

"This is the guy that tried to kill my Daddy." -- words or a moron or honest admission of motive? Bush Sr. could easily have conquered Baghdad if he had wanted to; the idea that he somehow deliberately chose not to, then waited out two Clinton administrations, then waited for his son to get into office, and then influenced major US foreign policy decisions just to satisfy a personal vendetta is so rediculous that it doesn't warrant further comment.

Don't put words in my mouth to make me seem like some conspiracy nut. Jesus. Dubya got into power by the skin of his teeth and once there seized the opportunity to attack the country led by the man who tried to kill his daddy. His father was probably sitting at home saying "you go get the bastard, son" at the time. There's no conspiracy here. That's the point of a feud -- it's illogical and idiotic behaviour because it ignores the big picture: If you attack Iraq a lot of people are going to get hurt other than the man who attacked your dad, but you just don't care because you hate the bastard. In contrast, how about the theory (radical, I know) that as the last remaining superpower, the US feels it has an obligation to protect the other nations in the world from a rogue state that is seeking to acquire the capability to use weapons of mass destruction. Whether you think that's a misguided motivation or not, it seems the most reasonable explanation to me.

You mean, appart from the fact that a half a dozen other states have aquired nuclear weapons in the last 10 years and the US has not declared war on them? That and the fact that the term "rogue state" was made up by CNN for christ sake. Again, could I trouble you for the inconvenience of providing the slightest shred of evidence to back up your empty rhetoric? The US decision to pursue action against Iraq under the banner of the UN is certainly not the behavior of a unilaterialist power.

No, but the action of amassing thousands of troops in the gulf against international law and rejecting every finding that the UN makes is. Bush wants war and war there will be.

It's like the difference between a scientific and a religious argument: how can Saddam convince Bush not to attack? If he says he has no WoMD, Bush says he is lying. If he says he does have WoMD, Bush will invade to "protect the other nations in the world from a rogue state". When Saddam offers to allow the CIA to join the UN in searching Iraqi facilities, the Bush administration says it is a "stunt", whilst at the same time refusing to present to the UN any supposed intelligence that the CIA has on the location of these weapons. Everyone is pandering to the wishes of Bush in an attempt to avert war.

What exactly will make you happy Mr Bush?

Bush: "Allow weapons inspectors back into the country and we wont attack you".

Saddam: "ok, no problem"

Bush: "Damn, ok, well, umm, we want a full report of all your weapons, or we'll attack!"

Saddam: "ok, here ya go"

Bush: "Damn, ok, well, we think you're a smart ass for giving us a really big report!"

Saddam: "you said everything!"

Bush: "Oh, yeah, I did didn't I. Well in that case, I think this report is too small!! After all, it doesn't include anything that we could use to justify an invasion of your country."

Saddam: "Well, that was kind of the point, we don't have anything that would justify you oppressing our people and interfering with our self-governance."

Bush: "Yes, you do, you have weapons of mass destruction, we can prove it!"

UN: "uhh.. ok then, prove it."

Bush: "Umm.. not right now. We don't want to, uhh, give up that information, because, umm, it might leak to Saddam. Yes, that's it. We cant trust the UN."

Saddam: "Then send your own CIA people to accompany the UN inspectors. We welcome you. We have nothing to hide."

Bush: "Bah! This is just a stunt. Stop complying with our requests!"

UN: "That's what they're supposed to do."

Saddam: "We don't have any weapons of mass destruction ok? And you already have our lunch money. So if this is all we'd like to get back to running our country. As you know, it has a lot of problems and we need some peace and stability here."

Bush: "Ahh huh! So you admit it!"

UN: "Admit what? I didn't see anything admitted."

Bush: "You admit that you don't have the weapons of mass destruction!"

Saddam: "That's what we've been saying all along."

Bush: "But you admit that they exist! They must be in a neighbouring country!"

UN: "All the neighbouring countries are your allies."

Bush: "Doesn't matter. That's where the weapons are, and why we will never find them and that's why you're so smug, because you _don't_ have them and you know it."

Saddam: "I'm confused."

UN: "me too."

Bush: "No, it's simple. We have to invade Iraq because they don't have weapons of mass destruction because they've got em in a neighbouring country."

UN: "You have to invade because they _don't_ have them?"

Bush: "Yep."

Saddam: "And if we did have em then you'd have to attack us too."

Bush: "Yep."

UN: "How did we ever get involved with this? When does your term end?"

Bush: "Not for another two years!!"

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
[ Parent ]

Saddam & the Bushes (none / 0) (#133)
by klamath on Mon Dec 30, 2002 at 06:24:23 PM EST

Don't put words in my mouth to make me seem like some conspiracy nut.
Heh, that's not really necessary. I might accept that staging a war with Iraq is a political tactic to offset a drop in Bush's popularity following the poor performance of the American economy -- but (a) that ignores the timing of the aggression against Iraq (b) that's not what you're claiming. Your view that Bush's parentage has anything to do with American foreign policy is as unsubstantiated as it is ludicrous. I asked you for evidence to back up the claim that there's any relation between Bush Sr. and the war in Iraq, and you've declined to provide any. (and instead included an asinine imaginary dialogue between Bush, the UN, and Iraq -- I'm not sure whom that's supposed to convince...)
Dubya got into power by the skin of his teeth
... which is completely non-sequitor.
once there seized the opportunity to attack the country led by the man who tried to kill his daddy.
Uh, no. Action against Iraq did not begin until well into Bush's term, and was hardly something that Bush initiated by himself: the attacks on Sept. 11th and the worsening situation in the Middle East made it necessary for the Bush administration to take a much more active role "protecting America" than previously. While you can argue that it's misguided all you like (and I won't necessarily disagree), your arguments seem more motivated by a dislike for Bush and the political right than by any semblance of rational evidence.
If you attack Iraq a lot of people are going to get hurt other than the man who attacked your dad, but you just don't care because you hate the bastard.
Again, unsubstantiated assertions were utterly unconvincing in your previous post, and they continue to be so. If you actually think that Bush Jr. "hates the bastard", can you please provide some evidence for it?
You mean, appart from the fact that a half a dozen other states have aquired nuclear weapons in the last 10 years and the US has not declared war on them?
Declared war? No. But America has taken strong diplomatic action against a number of those states trying to acquire nuclear weapons (see North Korea, for example). In the case of India and Pakistan, I'm sure that's a situation that the American government isn't totally happy about, but interfering in that region would be very dangerous and both nations are established nuclear powers, so the cat is out of the bag, to some degree. As for the other "half dozen states that have acquired nuclear weapons in the last 10 years", can you cite specific examples?
the action of amassing thousands of troops in the gulf against international law
How is it "against international law"? Which law is it in violation of?
rejecting every finding that the UN makes is.
AFAIK the UN hasn't produced any findings that have been "rejected" by the US. For example, the UN has not yet released any official findings on either the Iraqi declaration, nor the results of the weapons inspections in Iraq.
how can Saddam convince Bush not to attack? If he says he has no WoMD, Bush says he is lying.
First off, the Iraqi assertion that they don't have any WoMD is pretty ridiculous. If you'd like I can double check, but I would suspect off-hand that few people would accept that as completely true.

For one thing, Saddam Hussein has had a long history of attempting to develop weapons, and then attempting to deceive UN inspectors. Given his prior history, I think scepticism about his claims is justified.

[ Parent ]

LOZL (1.00 / 10) (#128)
by inertia on Sat Dec 28, 2002 at 06:01:00 PM EST

TOO LONG DIDNT READ

Well.. (2.00 / 3) (#134)
by Milad22 on Tue Dec 31, 2002 at 03:27:56 AM EST

Of course Iraq probably has deadly weapons. We KNOW they probably do..and do u know how? We supplied them with it at one point. Once upon a time, there was a 7 year war b/t Iran and Iraq, one which America supported Iraq in, and helped place Sadaam Hussein into power. We supplied Sadaam Hussein with chemical weapons which were used on Iranians sending all kinds of diseases throught he country...there was not a tree left standing in those areas..not a house higher than 3 feet..dont even try to tell me my info is not right, because my father has seen this site with his eyes....the UN officials going to Iraq are simply spies, but we know Iraq has nuclear power, because we helped the country in obtaining it. Anotehr fun factoid...Bin Laden and his network of friends, were trained by guess who to do terrorist acts on nearby Russia? The U.S. We trained Bin Laden and yeah the bastard turned it around on us...Crazy world we live in..once again as i always say...im not here to cause anger b/t anyone..this is a place to debate and talk about different subjects and learn from each other.

It doesn't matter (2.00 / 1) (#135)
by epepke on Tue Dec 31, 2002 at 09:21:50 PM EST

  1. "Oil" is a short word and can be spoken using only one syllable, albeit with a dipthong, making it ideal for bumper stickers and chants.
  2. "Oil" neatly fits most people's stereotypes about the Middle East. Any Joe Sixpack can recognize the concepts of "oil," "sand," and "sheiks" when applied to the Middle East.
  3. "No Blood for Oil" ranks right up there with "Make Love, Not War" and "Raid Kills Bugs Dead" in the list of great advertising slogans of all time. Quibblers might point out that "Raid Kills Bugs Dead" actually means something, but they miss the point that advertising is irrelevant to accuracy, not necessarily antagonistic.

You can therefore reasonably expect a lot of people to think, "it's the oil, stoopid!" The facts of the matter are irrelevant, as is any analysis which requires significant participation of the neocortex.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


Does the US really need Iraqi oil? | 135 comments (123 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
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