Monday, July 19, 2004

Busting Conspiracy Theories (#1) -Blood for Oil

Part 4: Oil, Economy, Terrorism and National Security

In my post called Tipping Points, I left a closing remark about how the "broken window" theory might apply to Iraq. If you haven't read that post already, please take some time to read it and understand the premise of "broken windows" theory. Then, come back and read this entry. If you've read the entry, let's continue on.

Broken Window Theory and the Middle East

Think about "tipping points", "good epidemics" and "broken windows theory". The middle east serves as our "high crime" area. This is where most of the "terrorists" come from. The terrorists are able to plan and operate without impunity because there was no one that tried to stop them. There was no one that tried to "fix" the problem. The middle east has high poverty, low employment, little freedom, an extreme religious indoctrination of it's youth and many "broken windows". A breeding ground, as it were, for the enemy.

How could we effect a change? Fix the "broken windows"? For years, we have had a policy of "non-intervention" and "detente diplomacy" (accept whoever is in power of any given country, regardless of their stature as "dictator" or how they rule their people, do business as necessary and allow "the people" to sort it out for themselves). We did little but mouth "platitudes" and "request" that these leaders change their actions towards their people. We never insisted. We never demanded. As long as we were getting what we wanted from the current government, we took no action. The windows remained broken.

The leaders of these countries, fearing our power and possible ability to cause their demise, have sown fear and mistrust in their populations for the United States and western culture, thru real or perceived threats to their security. Couple that with people seeing that we continue to do business with these regimes and the people get the idea that we are some how complicit in their condition. That we support these governments. Enter the reactionaries or "terrorists". Somebody is responsible for their condition. They cannot strike out against the government or demand changes (they think) because we support that government and give it power. Hence, we are the bad guys to the common people who have no other exposure to the west but through government approved media. This allows the "terrorists", who have a grander scheme in mind, to have a plethora of people from which to obtain "followers" to carry out the battle plan against the west.

Now we have an area, full of "broken windows". It's obvious that our previous policies in the middle east did not effect the changes we wanted and certainly left us exposed to the kinds of attacks we experienced on September 11, 2001. I do not excuse this episode with this treatise, but simply point out the truth of the matter. The question remains, what can we do about it?

That Nasty Thing Called Oil

One area that continues to be a problem, as well as a rallying point for the anti-war folks, is the oil that flows from this region. Not just Iraq, we're talking Saudi Arabia, United Emirates, Qatar, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Iran, etc, etc. The oil from this region, as I have previously pointed out, makes 30% or more of the world oil production. If countries, including the US, decided not to do business with these countries, the entire world economy would begin to crumble.

We are a world economy based on oil. Every aspect of our daily lives is directly related to the availability and cost of oil. The cost and availability of food, clothing and shelter, depends on the cost of oil. The more the oil costs, the more gas costs. The more gas costs, the higher delivery costs. The higher delivery costs, the more food, clothing and shelter costs. Those are just a few examples. Imagine trying to drive to work? Getting gas, parked in line, a la 1978? Gas that is $10/gallon?

So, we cannot simply stop doing business there without having a serious and immediate impact on the economy. Further, if the US decided to take the "high ground" and insist on this, other countries would not necessarily follow suit. They would continue to do business with little or no effect on their economy while ours went into the toilet. Our dollar would be worth nothing on the market. We would not be able to buy weapons, support the military, support our infrastructure (roads, schools, government programs), buy products from the world (or they would be 20 times the cost they are now).

In short, we would be in a severe depression. We would be vulnerable to internal and external conflict. Countries like China wouldn't hesitate to take advantage of the situation. Taiwan would be instantly re-annexed. Other countries now enjoying freedom under our umbrella of protection would be threatened if not find themselves at war because that umbrella would be gone.

Have I convinced you yet that the war is for oil? If your mind is going that way, you need to stop and expand your thought processes for a moment. What I've said so far is:

1) The middle east has many "broken windows"
2) We (the entire world) do business (buy oil) in these "broken windows" areas
3) Because we do business with the "broken windows" governments, we are perceived as the reason that the windows are broken
4) The policies (detente diplomacy) that we have used in the past have fostered the perception that we are responsible for keeping the windows broken
5) Islamist terrorists, who have a different plan (previously discussed but to be reviewed again), use this as a tool to recruit people for their terrorist activities
6) If we stop doing business with the broken windows governments, the terrorists will continue to attack us regardless
7) If we stop doing business in the broken windows region, we will severely decrease our ability to obtain oil
6) If we do not obtain oil from the broken windows region, our economy will suffer
7) If we do not obtain oil from the broken windows region, we cannot support our military
8) If our economy and military abilities are weakened, we are vulnerable to attack or at least, our international power is severely limited
9) If we are vulnerable to attack or have limited international power, our allies are vulnerable to attack (Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Israel, etc)

We are damned if we do and damned if we don't!

Ok...Let that swirl around in your mind for a moment and then, we will take a quick look at the "terrorists" plans and how international politics or power tug of wars are intertwined in this problem.

Islamist Terrorists and The New Caliphate (read, Greater Nation of Islam)

Think of these names: Osama Bin Laden, Abu Al-Zarqawi. What do those names bring to mind? Terrorists? September 11, 2001? Iraqi "resistance"? Islamists, if you're a little more advanced.

What about these: Al-Qaida; Hezbollah; Islamiya Al-Jihad; Hamas; Abu al-Sayyaf; Harakat al-Mujihidin; Palestinian Islamic Jihad; al-Jihad. Have you even heard of half of these groups? These groups are all "Islamist" organizations designated as "terrorists". If you want to see more, go to 2001 Designated Terrorist Organizations

Now, the question is: What do these groups all have in common? What are their goals? I have discussed this in a previous post Identifying the Enemy.

The enemy has one plan: to re-create the Caliphate or great Ottoman Empire that spread from China to France from 700 AD to 1569 AD and actually continued in some form to the 20th century. It had slowly lost territories over the millennia until it collapsed back upon itself through petty wars as well as being over run by imperialist European countries.

Under this plan to re-create the great Caliphate, they are planning to slowly take over those countries that, while practicing some form of "fundamental" Islam, do not meet their high standards and are in essence, corrupt. (...)

The US and the world have a reason not to want these "jihadist" to come to power. Not the least of which that these would be the most repressive regimes ever known to mankind (probably considered worse than the Nazis). Worse, is the prospect of these new "regimes" coming to power over countries that have large reserves of oil. This would give the Islamists power over the world economies and an undiluted source of income (...)

With an undiluted source of income and the power to screw with the economies of "non-believer" nations, these new regimes would be able to black mail these countries or worse yet, use the income to obtain WMD.

Contrary to popular belief, they don't "hate us" because of our foreign policies. Our foreign policies have certainly played into their hands, but is not the root cause of the situation. These groups want to establish Islamic theocracies in the countries they operate from. They abhor freedom. They will squash whatever society they come to rule. Anyone that does not believe as they do will be slaughtered: Muslims and Non-Muslims alike (see terrorists attacking normal Iraqi citizens).

In essence, we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. If we withdraw economic or diplomatic support for these countries (Saudi Arabia, specifically), there will be civil war beyond that which is currently taking place. The Saudi government is under attack by it's own extremists (yep, like Dr. Frankenstein and his monster). If we de-camp, it is very likely Saudi Arabia (largest single producer of oil) will fall to the extremists within. Let's review that:

1) Saudi Arabia Oil is worth about 432 trillion dollars (28mil bbls/day X $42.33 X 365 days)(you must wonder why they have such a shitty economy)
2) Wahhabi extremist who want to build a Pan Arab nation takes over the country
3) Sympathizes with OBL and sees western world as an impediment, if not a downright threat to their existence
4) Countries will still do business with Saudi (because they have no choice; there is nothing else to be had or their economies will go in the toilet; they go, we go)
5) Imagine 432 trillion dollars in the hands of people that really hate us
6) Imagine 432 trillion dollars in the hands of people that would like to control the region.
7) Imagine France, Germany and Russia, hoping to increase their influence in the region.
8) Imagine France, Germany, Russia and North Korea hoping to help their economies by selling weapons, materials and possible nuclear materials to a new state hungry for the technology and hates us.
9) Imagine a country and resources in the hands of Wahhabi extremists that don't really like the Iranian Shiite theocracy in Iran.
10) Imagine a country and resources in the hands of Wahhabi extremists that hate Israel and thinks that Jordan is a US puppet
11) Imagine a country and resources in the hands of Wahhabi extremists that would threaten the entire region with war
12) Imagine an entire region, rich in oil, that is in eternal warfare
13) Imagine what the world would be like without the oil from the middle east due to internecine wars

Now...If you have imagined all of these scenarios, imagine the final scenario: What would the middle east region look like in 3-5 years? What threats would we have to contend with? What would our economy and the rest of the world look like?

These are basically theories. Anyone of them could be wrong and anyone of them could be right. The point here is that the US and other countries must look out for their best interests. When considering these possibilities, we must choose the best option. The President (whoever that may be) and congress, have to make these decisions. Usually, we must err on the side of caution. In the instance of Saudi Arabia, we have obviously chosen the devil we know. In the past, this has gotten us into trouble (see Shah of Iran, South Vietnam, Cambodia, Panama, Chile, etc).

So...What can we do about it? Saudi Arabia is a state that oppresses it's people, limits their freedom, controls their religion and media, imprisons (and possibly tortures and executes) political dissidents. How do we change them and still maintain at least a halfway decent ally that isn't near as oppressive as the one that could come to power? We have already tried "talking". Invasion is out of the question (the whole world would be up in arms).

Iran oppresses it's people, limits their freedom, controls their religion and media, imprisons and definitely tortures and executes political dissidents. They have a massive army. They have economic ties with France and Russia. They are well on their way to having nuclear abilities (supposed for power only; thank you France, Pakistan and North Korea).

Syria...Secular government with Islamic terrorist ties. Oppresses it's people, limits their freedom, controls their religion and media, imprisons and definitely tortures and executes political dissidents. Small army, but brainwashed masses. They have economic ties with France and Russia.

(Does anyone notice a trend here? All of the countries that are a threat to the region and the security of the western world have economic ties with two of our "allies").

Now, the question begs, without actually invading all of these countries, how do you get them to change when current diplomacy has had little effect? Frankly, they must change because they are the broken windows.

Let's Talk About Other Countries Interests

Here's the reality: While the US is THE superpower in terms of economy and military, it doesn't mean that other countries aren't getting their piece of pie and eating it, too. They might try to claim some "higher moral ground", but the reality is that they have deep economic and political aspirations in the region.

Let's start with the Oil For Food fiasco over at the UN. So many countries had their hands in the cookie jar, it's hard to figure out if anyone is blameless (except the US, who was only buying the oil, not a contractor for the food). If you want to know how the whole scam worked, read these articles and a new site I found, dedicated to talking about this issue:

Did the UN Know What Was Going On?

Where There's Smoke, There Is Fire

Yep, They Knew

How about a breakdown of the ongoing situation:


How about a list of the companies and countries involved:
Fox News Gets Info

Guess Who Tried To Block The Investigation?

Ok...This is enough of that issue for now. But it should start making you understand some issues.

Let's talk about who was drilling and exporting oil from what Middle Eastern Countries. Many, many countries are involved in the drilling of oil in many of the middle eastern countries. I am about to direct you to a site called "Judicial Watch". For the record, this group is officially seeking information regarding the Cheney Energy Task force documents (of which they only supply you the parts that support their theory that the war was for oil, but you can read what you want).

Maps and Charts of ME Oil Fields

Two large companies stick out: France's Total Elf and Russia's Lukoil (recently raided by Russian government for supposed illegal activities). You will also notice that Canadian oil companies have some major contracts as well.   And China, too.  Let's not forget that they are in desperate need of oil for their growing industry and economy. 

You will notice that the majority of the contracts are held by countries that blocked the last UN resolution.

Cheney Energy Task Force

Speaking of economy, there was a big hoopla about the Cheney Energy Task Force. Depending on which side of the argument you get involved with, the Cheney Energy Task Force information might be construed as an inside lobbying job by companies in the industry. Some organizations like "Judicial Watch" are attempting to get the Task Force to release more documents under the Freedom of Information Act. The supreme court recently denied a suit demanding the release of information indicating that the President is allowed to have briefings and other consultations concerning policy making decisions remain "secret" as it could impair his ability to act. This will only stand as long as all of those on the panel were actually government officials. The problem lies in the task force asking companies in the industry for information.

Basically, everyone is attempting to split hairs on whether having gathered information from the industry could be construed as having members that were not government officials. The reality is, all members of the board were government officials. Information gathered from the industry does not mean they were part of the board.

Another organization Natural Resource Defense Council contends that much of the policy derived from this task force was actually cut and pasted from recommendations from the industry and this backs up their contention that this is not "privileged" information. However, the courts still contend that it is the make up of the panel that counts. That keeps the information largely "privileged" and out of the hands of the public (right or wrong).

Now, I have read the documents that were released. Many will contend that this was an inside job to help industry friends of VP Cheney and President Bush by trying to circumvent certain EPA and industry standards that are costly to these businesses. However, once I read what documents were released, it became apparent that there was very strong economic and foreign policy reasons for reviewing these issues.

First, a major issue here is our dependence on foreign oil and other resources (natural gas for instance). It has been a source of contention for both the left and the right. Dependency on foreign resources leads us to make foreign policy decisions that are "the lesser of two evils". The second issue here is that terrorism and other disturbances in the areas that largely produce these resources, are having a serious effect on the price of these resources. Like the price of a barrel of oil; no matter how much is being pumped out, the price continues to increase. If you read my previous posts on this subject, experts are estimating that a barrel of oil could go as high as $52/barrel in the next 2 years (or less). This has serious implications on the US and world economy.

I want to digress for a moment and explain some world economics here. France, Germany (all European countries) and England are already paying almost 5 pounds (British) for a liter (less than a gallon) of gas. This is largely because they have few refineries that produce gasoline (petrol) in their countries as well as the very strict rules that they have for pollution control on these industries. Pollution controls are nice, but they are costly. This, plus very large taxes used for social and public works, makes gasoline very high priced. This also means that these countries are very interested in what happens in the "broken windows" region. They just have a different idea of how to handle it (generally ignore the greater problems and just work through diplomatic channels as each new situation arises). The new US policy contends that this kind of behavior is leading to the very problems that we are seeing there and must have a more direct approach to curing it.

But, let's return to the Energy Task Force (ETF) and economics. Basically, the ETF is looking at how it can minimize the impact of the government restrictions on the industries and allow prices for these resources to remain the same or decrease. This basically fits in with the Bush/Cheney economic plan to insure that the money stays out in the private sector and does not impact the economic growth of the US. The economy has been well documented to have been declining in the the last year and a half of the Clinton administration. Growth in economy, whoever the President, cannot be sustained forever under one policy. Policies must grow with the changing economy. September 11, 2001 accelerated this problem with smashing of our economic center by the terrorists.

A little economic lesson...

The President then had to consider how best to get the economy back and fast. This would have been the job for any President, Republican or Democrat. Under the economic policy of this administration, they believe that less taxes and cost burdens on industries, means more money for the industry to expand, which means more jobs, which means more money in the private sector, which means more people buying goods and services, which means more money in businesses, which means more expansion, etc, etc, etc. A circular economy growth. This is the same plan that Reagan used in the 80's that continued to see it's prosperity in the 90's only to start slowly draining away as the government recognized new revenue paths for it's increasing government programs.

At first, the taxes seemed small enough not to effect business gains, but, after only a few years, it began to have a telling effect. This was covered up by the pronouncement of the "surplus" which was, in reality, only a 10 year projection based on a theory and did not actually exist. Unfortunately, that is not how it was presented to the public. In a very short period of time, the government taxation began to outstrip the economic growth which began the economic stagnation and downturn of 1999. Now, the other issue here is that, one year after taking office, the new administration had the gall to announce that this surplus did not exist. At which point, the Democratic party began it's campaign by stating that the current administration spent it all. This should be funny to anyone who remembers this story, because the supposed surplus was to be worth about $115 mil. Wow! In a government that spends over $400 trillion might actually have a "surplus" that gets spent? Really, if you want to know about the surplus, where it came from, how they made these projections and why they were false, please see this site: Budget Surplus Allocation.

Back to the Energy Task Force...

The ETF was also looking at maps of oil fields in many countries. Particularly, undrilled reserves. This included Iraq (where the whole blood for oil chant starts up), Saudi Arabia, Iran, the Caspian Sea, the Korean peninsula (off shore both North and South Korea),etc. This is appropriate for the government to look at in terms of their energy policy. You can't make good decisions on your energy policy without knowing all of the variables. These variables, or availability of resources, could insure that the price can be maintained or only increase slightly if these resources were made available (supply and demand economics).

The government, believe it or not, has also been putting money into looking at alternative fuel sources like fuel cell technology. This has been going on for sometime, it just seems to not have the funding some people would like. (My brother says that the government should stay out of the funding-except minimal-and allow private industries to research and develop as this usually leads to the most cost effective approach). The Department of Defense is actually heading a fuel cell study:
DOD Fuel Cell.

The President actually told us what the ETF was all about in his 2003 State of the Union Address:

Our third goal is to promote energy independence for our country, while dramatically improving the environment.

I have sent you a comprehensive energy plan to promote energy efficiency and conservation, to develop cleaner technology, and to produce more energy at home.

I have sent you clear skies legislation that mandates a 70 percent cut in air pollution from power plants over the next 15 years.

Even more, I ask you to take a crucial step and protect our environment in ways that generations before us could not have imagined. (...)

In this century, the greatest environmental progress will come about not through endless lawsuits or command-and-control regulations, but through technology and innovation.

Tonight I'm proposing $1.2 billion in research funding so that America can lead the world in developing clean, hydrogen-powered automobiles.

A simple chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen generates energy, which can be used to power a car, producing only water, not exhaust fumes.

With a new national commitment, our scientists and engineers will overcome obstacles to taking these cars from laboratory to showroom, so that the first car driven by a child born today could be powered by hydrogen, and pollution-free.

Join me in this important innovation to make our air significantly cleaner, and our country much less dependent on foreign sources of energy.

Here is a reality check for you: Some experts believe that the oil reserves from non-OPEC countries will peak within 26 years.  Some believe that it is less.  Some believe that the peak has already been reached.  Some experts indicate that OPEC oil reserves will peak in 88 years.  Some believe that is too generous an estimate and may be only 50 years.  See what theEnergy International Agency has to say about it.

National Security

There are many things we have to worry about on the front of National Security.

  • North Korea would like to invade South Korea
  • North Korea getting nukes
  • North Korea selling nukes
    • to terrorists, other rogue states, etc
  • Iran getting nukes
  • Iran selling nukes
    • To terrorists, other rogue states, etc
  • Iran interfering in Iraq
  • Iran is harboring Al-Qaida
    • Seriously, Osama's son is a "guest" after his citizenship was revoked in Saudi Arabia
    • Question: Why does Saudi Arabia only "revoke" the citizenship of certain criminals?
    • Answer: Because imprisonment, torture and beheadings are only for the poor and the foreign
    • Imprisoning sons and grandsons of wealthy Saudi Citizens might cause a problem for the Royals. This would mean that they are not above the law either
  • France is helping Iran obtain nuclear materials
    • Supposedly for energy reasons
    • Iran has one of the largest oil reserves, why do they need nuclear energy?
    • An elected official in France actually admits to wanting to arm Iran or other regimes in the ME with Nukes to counter the "Zionist": Nuke the Jews
  • India has nukes
  • Pakistan has nukes
  • Pakistan has sold nukes 
  • Pakistan still has Al-Qaida
  • China would like to re-annex Taiwan
  • China has nukes
  • Saudi Arabia possible all out civil war
  • SA civil war threat to allies in the region
    • Like Israel, Jordan, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, etc
  • SA still has Al-Qaida
  • Israel has or has not nukes
  • Palestine and many other Arab nations want to wipe Israel from the map
  • Syria sponsors terrorism and might be complicit in Iraq issues
  • Afghanistan Taliban trying to retain power
  • Afghanistan still has Al-Qaida
  • Iraq possible collapse into a civil war
  • Al-Qaida and Other Terrorist groups are planning to attack US
  • Al-Qaida and other terrorist groups are planning to attack EU countries
  • Al-Qaida and other terrorist groups are planning to attack US allies
  • Al-Qaida and other terrorist groups are attempting to or have created chemical and biological weapons to use when they attackk

Does this mean that it's about oil?

Part of the national security plan is to protect American interests, both foreign and domestic

  • America has some serious economical and energy interests in the Middle East. 
  • America has serious interest in protecting her allies abroad from aggression.  Aggression against an ally is aggression against America.
  • America is under threat within our own borders from "terrorists" who would like to take out our government

Can You Imagine How the Price of Oil Effects The Cost of a Cup of Coffee?

That was just a shock value header.  But you should think about it.  Something so simple as a cup of coffee can be effected by the price of oil.  Now, we could probably do without coffee.  We would have many people in caffeine withdrawal and probably some mass murders if the price of coffee became inhibitive.  Coffee could become a prized commodity.  What would happen in your neighborhood if half of your neighbors could no longer afford a cup of coffee?

Personal Story

The business I work in is home healthcare.  Specifically, we supply life saving equipment to patients in their homes.  This reduces the cost of healthcare by reducing the number of days a patient spends in the hospital or nursing home or other rehabilitation facility.  The equipment we supply is anything as basic as a wheelchair or a hospital bed, to oxygen or ventilators to respiratory compromised patients and chemo-therapy, intravenous antibiotics, intravenous nutrition (I'll explain this someday).

Part of the cost  of providing these services includes the cost of buying gasoline for our delivery vehicles.  Every year, the cost of gasoline has increased.  At the same time, the cost of equipment has increased.  At the same time, insurance companies and the federal government have continued to decrease the amount of reimbursement that we can receive for services.  So, our cost rises while our cash decreases.  What happens then?

In a previous post, I talked about "lay offs".  Whenever the cost to provide a service does not allow for the appropriate profit margin (about 15-20%) or is above our reimbursement, we have to review these services and consider whether we can continue providing them.  If we decrease these services, that means less personnel are required.  That means "RIF": Reduction In Force.  This also means that many patients cannot remain in their homes (remember I said it was cheaper?).  This means that their is a rising cost to the insurance carrier.  That means a rising cost of insurance to millions of workers like you and me.  There is also the factor that patients are known to recover better at home, in familiar settings.  So, now they don't recover and the cost is even higher.  That means that the company's cost of benefits for employees is higher.  That means our profit margins are lower.  That means....
You get the idea?  From a simple thing like rising oil prices, the industry I work in suffers, the patient suffers, and eventually, society suffers (over burdened with uninsured patients). 

In Summation...

We are reliant on oil.  The world is reliant on oil.  There are people from and in that area that would like to kill us or at least make us so weak we cannot interfere with there plans.  They will hold the world hostage with the oil.  They will use it to become militarily strong, including WMD.  Continued terror attacks are effecting our economy now.  Withholding oil from growing countries will cause an economic decline.  If their economy goes, ours go.  We have to be able to build new technologies.  This is a long term goal.  We must have oil while this is resolved.  We need oil to operate our military and supply daily needs (like food, healthcare, etc). 

There are people from the area that would like to kill us.  There are countries in the region that are threatening to us and our allies.  There are countries in the area that are a threat to each other.  ME region warfare is a threat to the security of the world.  They export it to our country.  Our economy cannot suffer another blow like 9/11.

There are countries/regimes that are killing their own people (Sudan).  Any country we do business with that is killing their own people en masse makes us complicit in their torture and death.  This in turn creates the atmosphere for new recruits to the New Caliphate calling.  The New Caliphate people would like to kill us.

Wow!  Am I sounding like a broken window?  It can be construed that this is all about oil.  Some ME citizen could read this post and think that, I am sure.  But the dangers and priorities are set based on the existing imminent threat.

Which threats that I have listed, energy, economy, terrorism and national (or international) security do you believe is the priority?  In what order would you list these priorities?  If you can list them in the correct order, why does anyone think that the US national security priorities are different than ours? 

So, once again, the question begs the answer:  How do we protect ourselves? 

Broken Windows
Why It's Not About Oil

So..I've talked about oil enough.  It exists.  It exists in the areas that are currently a threat to our national security.  Not just because of oil.  Tomorrow, if oil no longer existed and we were forced to create a new energy source (which we would), there would still be war and there would still be threats to the USA and the rest of the free world.  Why?  It is very simple, for the hundreds of thousands of years that man has walked this earth, he has always looked at what other men have and has always coveted it.  Whether that is a better hunting ground, a better field for growing produce, better grazing for herds, water rights, minerals, spices, precious metals, precious gems, property in general, wealth, technology, power...Man is an ambitious, often jealous and covetous beast.  No amount of failed utopias has ever been able to wipe this ambition from man's genetic make up.  It is, at it's very core, Darwinian in men's struggle to reign supreme over other men.  It is only through law and moral code, that some men are able to overcome the rampant desire to simply take from other men through treachery or force of arms.

Therefore, should these states, whose current economies are almost solely based on the dwindling resource of oil, become defunct, they will fall into the anarchy currently seen in Rwanda, Brunei, Sudan, etc.  These types of countries threaten our security far more than China, the next country seeking economic and strategic power.  A country like China, that has nuclear weapons, is in the same boat as the USSR.  To even approach war on this footing is the assurance of "mutual destruction".  China, in a very real sense, has been defeated by the global economy.  They need global acceptance in order for their country to prosper.  Threatening the USA, with whom China enjoys #1 trade status, would be the instant defeat, the economic ruin of that country. 

The threats we see from these other defunct states, including Iraq (pre-liberation), Iran, Syria, etc, is their ability to export, what T. Barnett refers to as, super empowered individuals.   These are people that learn their trade in the internecine wars of these 3rd world countries, use these countries as bases of operation and are free from impugnity because we do not (as yet) have a reach into those countries either economically or militarily.  We have become so advanced in weaponry, struggles between 1st world nations, on a state to state or global basis, would result in the destruction of civilization.  However, it is now the low-tech individuals, that can sneak with in our borders, that can threaten our entire infrastructure, our security, our existence. 

These men will espouse any number of ideologies for their reasons to attack the USA or other free countries.  Including religion, political, national and economical reasons.  They all hide the espousers true intent, which is to find their own niche in the power structure of the world.  In doing so, in creating their own dictatorships, they will continue to foster wars, famine, disease, poverty, massacres, slavery of whole nations for the purpose of creating their own power base.

This is a threat to the USA and other free countries because this generates a recurring cycle of violence that can have disastrous effects on economies and the very existence of some countries.  These people, often referred to as terrorists (which is very short on ideological explanation), cannot exist if we exist.  We, the free countries of the world, are an anathema to their ideology.  So, they will continue to attack us in order to weaken or destroy us, so that they can fulfill their own, terrible dreams of ruling other men through intimidation, murder and financial power.  To believe any less of these ideas, the intent of these men, is to hide from the reality of an ever changing, globalized world where such people can infiltrate and destroy any society if left unchecked.

What Are Our Options?

There are few options to be reviewed.  We could withdraw into our own borders, withdraw our military, close our borders to all and limit our trade.  The reality of this ideology, espoused by isolationists, is flawed because it would mean our own demise.  Since the moment that man first traveled to another town, another country to do business, we have been headed down a path to the globalization of economies.  To even pretend that we could stop such movement is ludicrous.  With the advent of internet and e commerce, this globalization already exists and people are refusing to recognize it's existence.  At most, closing our borders would only postpone the inevitable.  It would signal our defeat and leave us as vulnerable to attack as any economic or military failure. 

The option to ignore it and continue to try to work with these failed regimes through diplomacy (detente diplomacy), leaves us just as vulnerable as we will still represent a power standing in the way of the next tyrants dream and, therefore, we are still prime targets for attack.  Countries, such as France, Germany, Spain, etc, that have refused to recognize this probability, only create the very atmosphere in which these attacks can occur.

The last option, an option that is opposite to the very policies we have adhered to for the past 60 years, is that we must attempt to bring these failed countries on line and into the global fold, both economically and strategically.  They must become part of the 1st and, at the least, 2nd world countries that are participating in this global economy.  This can only be accomplished when these countries are ruled by the rule of law.  Where they are constrained to behave by certain international edicts because it is in their best interests, both as a country and as citizens of the world, to maintain this status.  Countries, such as China, that have joined the World Trade Organization, have enjoyed an incredible improvement in their country's and citizens living conditions and personal financial status, which leads to more interest in commerce and less interest in shooting somebody.

Applying the Broken Windows Theory

In order for these countries to join the global commerce movement and become a non-threat to the rest of the world, certain actions must be taken.  First, it is only free countries with free peoples who are able to act freely in trade and politics that will be successful.  Any countries that have dictatorships or mock democracies, cannot join this movement as they are not trust worthy.  Governments are not open to the people nor other countries.  Therefore, the first thing that must occur, the first window that must be repaired, is the government of these countries.  These governments can change through one of three methods:

1)  Self change to democracies or other free republics.  This can only occur in these countries, like Saudi Arabia, if the leadership is capable of recognizing it's potential down fall.  For instance, Bahrain, which has at least a symblence of elections and parliament.  Saudi Arabia maybe too far under the grips of it's ruling elites own narcissism and entanglement with the extremist religiosos of their country to extradite themselves without civil war.  As this is the least likely to occur, the US will continue to support it as a fringe country to the global world economy until it collapses and the US is forced to interfere to insure that the radical ideology that requires our demise, does not come to power.  Other countries include Columbia, South America where the division and drug sales has direct links to arms selling and terrorism.  Self change is the hardest and least likely.  This can be accomplished through economic and diplomatic pressure and is only useful in countries that are on the "fringe" of the global economy.  These countries can quickly fall back to the "third world" if the pressures from within result in civil war.

2) Change Through Economic Interaction with 1st World Global Economies.  This is only possible for countries like China and India where the infrastructure is wobbly, but in place to support free enterprise.  India, while having one of the largest populations in poverty today, is also one of the fastest growing economies.  Regardless of political persuasion, it is very unlikely any President, Democrat or Republican, will take any legal actions or try penalty taxes on companies that export jobs.  The creation of wealth and enterprise in other countries has a direct correlation with our financial abilities in the world economy.  Jobs in India, create stability and economic growth.  This leads to direct interaction with other global markets.  This is a long term solution that was used on China.  However, it is the country's cultural make up and desires of economic strength that will result in this sort of change.  This can occur with diplomacy and economic assistance (ie, IMF).  There are a limited number of countries in which this will actually work.  Countries such as France, Germany, Russia, etc. Prefer to use options number 1 and 2 to attempt these changes in almost all countries.  Unfortunately, the change brought by these actions is slow and certainly will not work in places like Rwanda, Sudan, etc.  Countries like Iran, Syria and Iraq that have some form of organization, might be able to move in this direction, but like Iraq, Syria and Iran are in the iron grip of totalitarian governments that will not let go lightly and, therefore, are likely to fall under option three:

3) Change Through Force.  This is everyone's least likeable change.  It means war in some shape or fashion, either against a known tyrannical dictatorship or interference in existing civil wars.  These are also long term commitments.  This means committing to stabilization efforts with troops and money.  As in the case of Iraq.  This country was threatening on many levels.

  • Continued wars with neighboring countries
  • Continued threat against same neighbors
  • Support of terrorists (perjorative here, without their ideologies made public and maintstream, they will remain ambiguous), including material, monetary and actual physical bases
  • Threatening to attack the US and other free countries through cooperation with said terrorists or by development of weapons of mass destruction (nuclear and biological)
  • Threatening world economy through interdiction of neighboring "fringe" globalization countries flow of natural resources (like oil)

The "broken windows" must be repaired through political and economical reform or force as necessary.  This will require the development of financial packages, government development programs and specialized military forces that will need to be able to destroy combatant enemies and be able to build a country from scratch.

Every country, in it's own way, must be like a New York city block, that requires repair of infrastructure, small business loans to re-start commerce, education of free politics and security.  As in Iraq, when the terrorists bomb an oil pipeline or a gas pipeline, the pipeline is instantly repaired.  This causes little interruption in the output of this resource and keeps the economic flow of the country going.  Repairing the pipeline, quickly and every time, is like fixing a broken window.  And every time they attack it, we learn more about their tactics and are able to counter them through low and high tech means, further thwarting their plans of interdiction.  We have indefinite resources.  They do not.  Eventually, the security, thwarted attacks and repairs to the infrastructure will convince these people to move on or become part of the growing economic structure so they can get a piece of the pie that is being denied to them by their current practice (see, Al Sadr and Mehdi Militia defeat as example).  Just like the criminals in New York City.

This has greater implications in the entire region.   Iraq becoming a democracy, with the rule of law and free trade, is like the cleaned up neighborhoods of New York: the neighbors on the next block get the criminals back in their yard and are forced to clean up or continue to suffer the consequences.  Iraq will bring a unique internal pressure to bear on the surrounding countries.  As the neighboring citizens see it's prosperity, they will demand that for themselves and either politically or through force, change their government and lifestyle to reflect that of it's prosperous neighbor.  Again, "terrorists" will be forced to assimilate and become part of the positive change or will be slowly squeezed and then taken out all together by ours or the neighboring countries security forces as they threaten to derail that countries prosperity.

Iraq is the tipping point, the first broken window in an area rampant with broken windows.

Other Information:  After writing most of this treatise, I came upon a book and a website titled "The Pentagons New Map: War and Peace in the Twentyfirst Century", by Thomas Barnett, in which he surprisingly talks about the same theory, the tipping point, in the middle east.  And here I thought I was being original.  I haven't read the book yet, but have seen excerpts on this webpage and it seems to indicate the same message I am advocating and appears to be the message of the President, although softly-softly as this idea may cause a serious uproar in the US.  The reality is, after 9/11, the US was ready to hear this policy.  Three years later, it is not so ready.  The lack of additional attacks has somehow stagnated our country's understanding of the new world in which small groups of men from these 3rd world countries can attack us without impunity as long as we continue to allow these countries to exist.

Our choices are very limited:

  • Countries change by themselves
  • Countries change through diplomatic and economic pressure
  • Countries change through force

None of these actions alone will resolve the problems.  We have been hoping that actions one and two would be more prevalent, but in reality, they are too slow a reactor on countries that are far down the food chain.

To protect ourselves from future, horrific attacks, we must confront the enemy directly as well as destroy their bases from which they recruit their foot soldiers.  By re-creating these countries, through any of the means specified, we narrow the field of operations, we destroy their ideology by replacing it with a proven and effective ideology (democracy and free markets) and we destroy them directly.

 Long Road to War

Excerpts and Analysis of the Bush Doctrine

Defense Planning Guide: Projections on World Threats and Reaction Capabilities of the US


After reading this closing to the "Blood for Oil" conspiracy theory treatise, you should be able to come to the conclusion that there is oil in those countries and it is very important to the world economy.  However, the greater conclusion should be drawn that the absence of oil in these regions do not mean an absence of national security concerns.  Terrorist will breed wherever they are able to operate with out direct impact to their own operations.  The fact that some countries in this area have oil and are on the fringe of the global economic world, only makes them priority number one as the countries that have the most impact, would lend the most support with their financial capabilities, to the terrorists who would attack us.  If you can read all of this information and still conclude that the war was for oil or the personal gain of President Bush, VP Cheney and their associates, you are living in a very small world.  You should wake up before you find the larger world on your door and you missed the trip.

You can see by the actions in Iraq, that the "broken windows" theory or, better known as the "Bush Doctrine" of foreign relations, is taking shape and already having a serious impact on the region.  Some will proselytize doom and gloom.  But, the fact is that Saudi Arabia has already took it's first step towards offering local elections.  Libya has decided to disarm itself.  Syria, North Korea and Iran all feel threatened enough, without even the US making noises about attacking them beyond President Bush's speech on the "Axis of Evil" that they are shaking their sabers (rusted and bent as they are) trying to show their strength.  The reality is, it shows their fears and their weaknesses.

The questions to ask are:  Which one will be next? And, how will it fall? Option 1? Option 2? Or, Option 3?

You be the judge.


Pat in NC said...

WOW! Kat, thank you for the time and effort you put into this post. I think you should submit it for publication. You have managed to take a very complex topic and reduce it to terms that most everyone can understand. I have not as yet taken time to read the links you included but promise to do so. Your efforts are certainly appreciated by this reader.

Pat in NC said...

Off topic--I responded to your email telling you I had read this-hit reply--sent back by yahoo--tried second time and again it was returned--yahoo doesn't recognize

Robert said...

My goodness that was long Kat. Good and long.

Whoo. I think I need to take a break now...

Whitedeer said...

Wow! Again, excellent work!

Will be passing it around :)

Tom said...

And I thought that I wrote long posts. I can see I'm a piker by comparison.

Seriously, though, it is an excellent bit of work on your part. One thing I especially like is the way you break down an argument into pieces and present it in bullet form. It makes it easier for the reader to follow and understand your point. I also agree with your analysis.

Of course, and you have pointed this out, the "no blood for oil" crowd has never been a big fan or logic, facts, or tightly reasoned arguments. Much better to just shout slogans.

I think you've also nailed it with regard to identifying the enemy. Careless people will say that it's all about US policies, or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They refuse to believe the reality of who the enemy is because it does seem so unbelieveable to the western mindset. And, for the same reason, in the '30s people refused to believe that Hitler was serious because what he said seemed so...unbelieveable.

But enough from me. I'm going to give your article a link on my site. Keep up the good work.

Kat said...

Glad everyone enjoyed the article. Long I know. Almost broke it down to part five, but I wanted it to flow and not be all over the place on the blog like parts 1, 2 and 3.

I think I need to hire Brian H. as an editor.

In regards to the enemy. I am very sure that we will ignore this trend in power play from these folks until one of them steps up as "the leader" and even then, we probably won't act unless they act first. Pretty foolish and negates the world cry of "never again" just like ignoring Sudan and Rwanda pretty much made the world a bunch of mealy mouth asses for not acting.

I can understand things about force availability and international action, but I think we should stop messing around and start doing more.

Nas said...

Great is not desriptive enough to describe the excellence of this post, Kat. If you don't mind, I've copied it to a word doc (with you and your blog address properly noted at the top of the document as the author) to have handy when some of my friends bring up this myth. My comment to introduce your article to them is as follows: "Here's a document which is the most reasoned thought I've seen on much of the whole situation in the Middle East. I doubt that anyone who hates Bush just to hate him (I don't know if that's the case with the you) would actually want to take the time to look at reason and facts, especiallly since this is quite lengthy, or be open minded enough to actually consider those facts rationally and without slogans. But one can only lead a horse to water, not make it drink."

Mike SC USA said...

About the 432 trillion dollars Saudi "produces"That number is a bit far fetched. In fact, per Yahoo finance Saudi GDP was only 191 billion (1995 dollars) or $227 billion in today’s dollars (2004) by contrast this is a mere 2.36% of our $9.63 TRILLION GDP and ONLY 55% of OUR DEFENSE budget $416B. And Saudi is producing 9.9 Mbbls/d with an estimate capacity to produce 13 Mbbls/d MAX for the foreseeable future. It is doubtful even the Saudis could maintain production let alone al Qa'eda without technical ex-pats. Although this sound like a lot of money they are in fact 31st of 191 countries in GDP. One also must take into account that oil prices fluctuate wildly they were $10/bbl just 2 years ago. Thirdly, Saudi produces 4 grades of crude heavy, medium, light and ultra light that all sell for different prices. Currently Saudi light in NYX is only $36.19/bbl with medium at $31 and heavy at $30 or so. Out of that GDP must come expenses to maintain oil production and the nation or the economy collapses, 23 million people can't eat sand. They produce virtually nothing but oil and natural gas. Let 'em stop selling it and starve. All we have to do is freeze assets, blockade the terminals, bomb the pipelines and JUST wait to see who says "uncle" first! I pity Europe and the Far East the main consumers of Saudi oil. We have enough from this side of the Atlantic to survive the short wait. (During 2003, Saudi Arabia's share of U.S. crude oil imports was 17.8% (up from 16.6% during 2002)

But the true underbelly in Saudi is WATER. Cut it off and that's that. At least we have a strategic oil reserve. Reckon how much water they have stored?

Kat said... do make a good point. Basically, I didn't go to the trouble of explaining the cost of production and who get's a large part of that money.

The reality is that once the brokers take their piece, and the transport and the refining and the pipe leases and the office workers, etc, etc etc get their piece of the pie, most oil production makes about a 6% profit margin. And, you are also right to point out what the country is getting in price per barrel is different than what it might be getting traded for on the market floor and that the different oil types will have different pricing and that oil prices fluctuate based on the market. Although, I am inclined to believe based on current trends that it will continue to go up and not down.

Thanks for reeling us back in to a little economic reality check. I am actually very impressed that somebody went to check the numbers.

So...billions or trillions (and yes, I know that is a huge difference, but since I don't have billions or even millions, anything over 100k is big to me, LOL)...either way, in the hands of Islamic crazies who will also have some control of the Gulf and oil, not good in my book.

In regards to the "plenty of oil" on our side of the pond, I think we need to think about that. Studies show that we could certainly survive for a while on this oil but the reserves only have about 26year peak compared to OPEC countries. 26 years is not that long. So I am inclined to believe we still need to worry about it.

Kat said...

I will agree with Mike that we could play a little more hard ball with the ME countries, because they need us more than we need them.

However, the one area that he points to about feeling sorry for far east and europe should it be necessary to blockade KSA, I think we need to worry about more than feeling sorry for them. Simply, we are heavily invested in their economies. If they go down, we do too.

although, I do like Mike's idea about the water. How much water can we cut off if necessary? I think they use huge desalinization plants to get a large amount of their drinking water. Do we know where they are? We probably built the damn things, so if it becomes necessary, we can take them out.

But...blockading and water hostage is last resort. I think we will keep playing patty cake a while longer. It's cheaper in blood if nothing else.

Kat said...

nas...feel free. That's what I wrote it for, information for other people to look at and decide.

There are four other parts to the entire series, if you want to look them up in the archives.

Glad you enjoyed it.

Mike SC USA said...


I wish that were true about Saudi’s motives but they are like dope dealers, ever enticing us (USA) to buy more, more, more. This IS their stated objective. They want us more dependent on them. Face it the ME’ers are sly foxes at this game. More than a match for our Western culture and our sense of fair play. How can you hide a explosive device in a dead dog? Display a white flag only to murder your opponents? How does one feign surrender only to attack? They play by NO rules except to win. Yet cry foul when the Western world breaks a civil rule. I find it harder and harder to feel sympathy for them and their miserable lives. God help me. But I believe we should crush them and rehabilite them. Mind control, if you will, they are so far gone. Maybe you saw my except from the 911 Commission(chilling):
Usama Bin Ladin and other Islamist terrorist leaders draw on a long tradition of extreme intolerance within one stream of Islam (a minority tradition), from at least Ibn Taimiyyah, through the founders of Wahhabism, through the Muslim Brotherhood, to Sayyid Qutb. That stream is motivated by religion and does not distinguish politics from religion, thus distorting both. It is further fed by grievances stressed by Bin Ladin and widely felt throughout the Muslim world—against the U.S. military presence in the Middle East, policies perceived as anti-Arab and anti-Muslim, and
support of Israel. Bin Ladin and Islamist terrorists mean exactly what they say: to them America is the font of all evil, the “head of the snake,” and it must be converted or destroyed.It is not a position with which Americans can bargain or negotiate. With it there is no common ground—not even respect for life—on which to begin a dialogue. It can only be destroyed or utterly isolated.