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RE: Oil Prices, Imports, Exports, and Dependency

The interest of the US does not lie so much in Iraqi oil in particular, but
in maintaining the overall security of the Gulf. Potential regional wars
resulting from "aggression" by the Iraqi regime (e.g. towards Iran or Saudi
Arabia) could seriously disrupt supply from any one of the Gulf States and
send prices rocketing sky high, with severe implications for the west and
more severe consequences for developing countries. Iraqi oil is about 3-4%
of world supply nowadays, so its presence in the world market makes a real
difference to prices (because of the recent crisis, prices have gone up to
$26-$27/barrel). If there was no oil in Iraq the US would not have got
involved in the first place. However, ensuring that Iraq does not rock the
boat is as valuable to the US, if not more valuable, than Iraqi oil itself.
Whatever the role of oil in US policy re sanctions is and has been for the
last decade, it's likely to remain the same. "Energy security" (meaning:
profit) in the west is still critically dependent on oil.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: M [SMTP:xxx@xxx]
> Sent: Wednesday, December 08, 1999 4:18 PM
> To:   Nathaniel Hurd
> Cc:
> Subject:      Re: Oil Prices, Imports, Exports, and Dependency
> Nathaniel Hurd wrote: 
>       Below [selected quotes and a comment, followed by the complete
> article] one of the Economist's 27 November 1999 Leaders argues that "Rich
> economies are also less dependent on oil than they were [in '73]." 
>       "Energy conservation, a shift to other fuels and a decline in the
> importance of heavy, energy-intensive industries has reduced oil
> consumption. 
>       Software, consultancy and mobile telephones use far less oil than
> steel or car production. 
>       For each dollar of GDP (in constant prices) rich economies now use
> nearly 50% less oil than in 1973." 
>       "On the other hand, oil-importing emerging economies-to which heavy
> industry has shifted-have become more energy intensive, and so could be
> more seriously squeezed." 
>       This is material worth mulling over while listening to or reading
> sermons on how the Middle East is the permanent and unalterable keystone
> for U.S. and Western European energy security. 
> M Responds: 
> The point is that whether or not the 'Middle East is a permanent and
> unalterable keystone for U.S and western European energy sercurity', it
> remains a permanent and unalterable keystone for U.S and western European
> exploitation and profit making and while it does so, it will continue to
> remain the former. 
> In a relationship where the west and its clients hold all the cards (and
> guns for that matter) and at the expense of the vast majority of people in
> the Middle East we exploit their natural resources (and perhaps condenm
> future generations to poverty) to line the pockets of the
> military-industrial-business elite in the US/West. Further, renewable
> energy sources will not be fully realised (as they most certainly could
> be) while this situation remains in existence i.e. as long as it remains
> profitable. (Even with the imagination of US business it is hard to see
> how they could regulate the energy production of the sun, for instance). 
> The linking of 'energy' and 'sercurity' is also telling. The tales of
> Soviet expansionism in the region (always a lie) now no longer
> sustainable, reveals the real 'sercurity' threat to US interests (though
> not fully admitted) to be indigenous nationalism, and it always has been, 
> Finally the assumption (by the west and its media apparatus) that because
> the the Middle East is a prize of geat material wealth we can assume
> responsibility over it because of our 'energy security' needs, displays
> the western leaders utter arrogance, perceived racial superiority and
> colonial instincts at their disgusting worst. The situation that emerged
> in Iraq (whole sale slaughter and economic warfare) is the logical
> conclusion of this policy attitude. 
> M
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