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[casi] Considering Oil and Other issue of motivation

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It is worth considering further the issue of oil and other motivations
It is important to note that the matter that impacts the world generally is the quantity of oil 
available each year.  This is not directly linked to that which remains within the world.  It is 
the amount of oil produced that affects the amount available for each person - not that it is 
consumed on an average basis.

Oil consumption affects standard of living, it does not affect quality of life as directly. For 
example I am considered to be a wealthy businessman in a wealthy country, but I often cycle into 
work in the centre of Birmingham and apart from avoiding the buses I find that quite a good mode of 
transport.  I also live close to my offices in London and Birmingham and can walk to work at some 
places.  I do not, therefore, consume as much energy as others in a similar situation.

Other people travel long distances or to get drunk in the Baleiric Islands.  My grandparents would 
have walked 20 miles in a day and considered that  a good trip.

However, we are driven in the west by the argument that increasing consumption is good - even 
though it is not possible in the long term.  We also value things such as the gross domestic 
product.  One measure that is important is the energy intensity in the gross domestic product.  
That is how much energy usage is required for GDP.  That intensity has reduced over time gradually, 
but a reduction of energy availability will reduce GDP.

A very important point to note also is that whereas under normal circumstances the world would have 
first consumed the oil that comes from the easiest sources (mainly in the Middle East) and then 
gone onto the more difficult places (eg North Sea).  Instead as a result of OPEC's constraints in 
the 1970s the more difficult sources have been gone after.  That, when you take into account for 
instance that the UK's Conventional Oil Production peaked in 1999 and the USA's conventional 
production peaked in 1971 is important.

Oil's main importance is as a source of energy.  If oil production goes down then there is less 
energy.  That means that people will have to stop doing things that they have done previously.  
There are a range of assessments as to when global conventional oil production will peak ranging 
from about 2005 to 2020-2030.

One thing all agree on, however, is that the majority of reserves remain in the Middle East (you 
cannot trust the quoted reserve figures as they are massaged to adjust the quotas that OPEC members 
receive).  That means that the balance between the Middle East and the rest of the world will shift 
over the next 30 years.

Oil is also important as Iraq would not have been to support the arms build up without the revenues 
from Oil.  So whether or not you see control of the oil supply as they key motivator you cannot get 
away from the oil issue.   Countries such as Iraq and Saudi Arabia have also seen substantial 
population growth as a result of oil availability.  That does not mean, however, that those 
countries could support the same size of populations without being able to import foodstuffs for 
oil.  Luckily for them their oil production will not peak for a while.  This will, however, be an 
issue for the Middle East over the next 50 years or so.  [Iraq's population of exiles today is 
actually greater than Iraq's domestic population at the start of the 20th Century CE.]

The US administration and the various US chambers of government have people who see different 
merits for the case for action in the Middle East.

Firstly, in government they do think about what the next step is.   If, for instance, nothing 
changes this year there remains the question of the No Fly Zones and Reparations.    Clearly there 
is a financial interest in the rest of the world in continuing to take 25% of Iraq's oil revenues.  
The No Fly Zones keep the Kurdish area independent.  However, they do have a cost to the UK and US 
(I saw a figure of 4 Million a week for the UK - I don't know if that is true or not).  They would 
not want to keep this going for ever.

There is clearly a motivation for "moving on".

There is also a motivation for introducing democracy and dealing with the human rights disputes.  
Most people involved in UK and US politics are at least in part altruistic.

There is the pressure from oil companies to get franchises  (see the actions of the UK government 
after the second world war).

They would also like some stability.

There is also a demand from some in the USA to use some of the weapons they have bought.   Ideally 
they would like to charge the Iraqis for this as well.

It is a mistake to consider any western government as having only one simple motivation there are 
always differing motivations for different camps and individuals have motivations as well.

Tony Blair, for instance, used to be someone who believed in one man one vote where he was the one 
man and cast the one vote.  This, however, has changed and although he still believes in one man 
one vote the one man is now George W. Bush.  By keeping "in" with the gang leader he may get some 
of the goodies when they come to be divvied out.

At the moment I see that the political will [outside the USA] is not in place for any early 
military action.  I don't think that there are sufficient forces on the ground for some quoted 
plans although others indicate that there are. Not that we would be given the details by the 
western governments as they would not wish them to get to the Iraqi regime.  We will, however, find 
out more after Monday.
I see it as about 75:25 against military action in February.  However, the hospitals in the UK have 
been put on alert for a few months.  It is also important to remember that the requirement to be 
able to use Chembio/NBC suits and the heat limitations means that they really have to start before 
the end of March and ideally in February to avoid the consequences of any Snafus that occur.

Oil is, however, important and will remain important for many years.

Most wars in the past have been about resources.  Those in the future are likely to be the same.

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