Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Why is Cheney such a prick?

Are you starting to get the impression that Cheney's demeanor and his policies are just gratuitously nasty? That the saber-rattling, the torturing, the hard line about everything, are just way beyond what any civilized person—or nation—needs to do to advance its interests?

I believe that, unfortunately, there's a method to his madness. I think he's trying to soften up the rest of the world for the events of the next few years.

It has to do with taking care of his buddies in the hydrocarbon industries.

The latest installment of Jim Kunstler's blog says this:

Some years back, when those watching the oil scene began to coalesce in their recognition that a worldwide production peak was imminent and hugely significant, the concept developed that this peak would take the form of a "bumpy plateau," meaning that supply-and-demand would teeter in an uncomfortable relationship for a period of time as markets and economies adjusted to the new reality by oscillating from higher prices to "demand destruction" to recession to recovery to higher prices, and so forth. This was expected to go on for quite a while before the world really headed into a slow permanent decline.
The latest statistical work by Dallas geologist Jeffrey Brown over at The Oil Drum.com, suggests that something else is happening, something that was not anticipated: an imminent oil export crisis. This Export Land Theory states that exporting nations will have far less oil available for export than was previously assumed under older models.

Due to surging populations and growing standards of living, the oil-exporting nations are using more and more of their own production, at the precise time when that production is peaking and starting to decline. So the amount of oil available for export to consuming nations like the U.S. has peaked and will soon crash.

Kunstler goes on:

The theory states that export rates will drop by a far greater percentage than net production decline rates in any given exporting country. For example, The UK's portion of the North Sea oil fields may be showing a nine percent annual decline for the past couple of years. But its export capacity has declined 60 percent. Something similar is in store for Saudi Arabia, Russia, Mexico, Venezuela -- in short, the whole cast of characters in the export world. They are all producing less and they are all using more of their own oil, and have less to send elsewhere.
Brown's math suggests that world oil exports will drop by 50 percent within the next five years, certainly enough to trigger a systemic breakdown in market allocation, meaning serious supply shortages among the importing nations. That's us. We import two-thirds of all the oil we use.

What happens after a "systemic breakdown in market allocation"? Welcome to the Oil Wars, folks—coming soon to a theater far, far from you.

Which brings us back to Evil Dick. Mr. Halliburton. Mr. Secret Energy Policy. Mr. "The American Way of Life is Not Negotiable." Mr. "Let's Subsidize Fossil Fuels up the Kazoo." Mr. "Energy Conservation is a Personal Virtue."

Here's the bottom line: If oil exports crash, Dick's petro-cronies will soon find themselves with no product to sell. America needs that oil to run our non-negotiable lifestyles, friends, and goddammit, if we have to just take what we need, then that's what we'll do.

Which is why Dick is so desperate to create the image of America as intractable bully. If we convince the world—friend and foe alike—NOW that we're simply not to be messed with, that what America wants, America gets, and damn the niceties, it will save so much time and dithering later when we need to simply steamroll some hapless Third World country and seize their oil.

And that, friends, is why Mr. Cheney is such a prick.

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