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April 04, 2007 12:01AM
http://www.financialsense.com/series3/part2.html

PART 2: EYES WIDE SHUT
The Politics of Energy

..............Before the attacks of September 11, 2001, the U.S. was conducting military operations in over 170 countries. Today the U.S. military reach constitutes a global military empire whose chief mission has become combating radical Islam and protecting the world’s oil supply routes. Unlike previous empires, America’s imperium is without colonies and without borders. The Cold War years constituted the “garrison era” when large, permanent U.S. military garrisons surrounded the Soviet Union.

In contrast, post-Cold War U.S. military features rapid worldwide mobility and the effective dispersion of forces. This strategy is similar to that of the Roman Empire, which built bases on foreign soil and emphasized the rapid strategic reaction of its legions to threats within the empire. Grain from Egypt was to the Romans what oil is to the United States today. Rome needed to station its legions throughout the Middle East in order to protect trade and the vital shipment of grain to feed its population. America finds itself in a similar situation today with the necessity of importing over 60% of its energy needs, which is vital to powering the American economy.

America’s imperium is born out of necessity. Since 1970 the U.S. has been unable to supply its own oil needs. As a result, it has lost control over the price of oil. Initially, the U.S. had been blessed with abundant resources. Its rich deposits of mineral and energy resources, along with its ability to produce and use these basic industrial and energy resources, allowed the U.S. to move from a backward wilderness to become the richest and most powerful nation in the world in less than 300 years.

It is minerals and energy that win wars, build factories and form the basis for an industrialized society. Nations that have these resources within their own borders are better off than those that don’t, as they are less economically vulnerable. A shift in geological resource centers brings with it a shift in global economic power. This is the reality that the United States faces: it is forced to import more raw materials in which it was once self sufficient. For the U.S. the era of high-grade energy and resource abundance is gone-thus the need to use its remaining military power in an effort to secure it.

The U.S. is not alone in this effort. With no geological or geographic frontiers to expand, nations must jostle against each other for position and control over the earth’s remaining resources. This jostling could be leading us toward military confrontation over access to energy, water, fertile soil and strategic materials such as uranium-all of which are critical for our survival. As more and more nonrenewable resources are depleted, economic problems and military confrontation become more likely. At present, the fact that we are consuming a diminishing supply of resources is for most people “ OUT OF SIGHT AND OUT OF MIND. “

From politician to citizen, our eyes are “wide shut.” Unfortunately, as we have seen in this new century, we have experienced a series of oil shocks with each subsequent shock becoming more severe. Eventually a permanent shock of greater severity is inevitable. When it arrives it will not be solved by any redistribution plans, economic planning or political posturing. Its arrival could be the consequence of the inexorable depletion of the world’s supply of crude oil. The battle over what remains is only one aspect of the politics of energy.............

...........A Crisis Approaches

Time is running out and we are drawing closer to our next energy crisis. It is a crisis brought on by the conflict between rising global demand for energy and our growing inability to supply that demand. Despite the ominous signs all around us, our nation’s leaders and experts REMAIN IN DENIAL concerning it. We have gone from a Republican to a Democrat-dominated Congress. In the transition nothing has changed. The U.S. has no real energy plan that focuses on domestic energy production of oil or gas, renewables or the expansion of our energy grid. For the past 30 years the United States has been losing control over its energy supply and thereby making its economy ever more vulnerable to external political and economic factors...........

..............Competition for oil will escalate.

The question remains whether that competition is orderly and peaceful or strewn with conflict. Securing adequate oil supplies was an important element in all of the major wars of the last century and dominates conflicts in this new century. The United States—and the rest of the world by extension—is facing the biggest energy crisis in history. It is a crisis that we are completely unprepared for and one our leaders or the media are unwilling to acknowledge. From politician to citizen, our eyes remain wide shut.........

Excellent long article with many helpful graphics
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