Monday, July 21, 2014
Do other occasional bloggers go back in time and read something they wrote years ago? I rarely do. It might be that I don't want to discover that events have made my past bloviating seem childish, uninformed or stupid.
As bloggers it's not fair to beat up on ourselves too much, we grow, we learn and we are often overtaken by events. As a man of considerable age, approaching my mid-fifties now, I do have some depth of experience and wisdom. Still, I should know better than to be too declarative, too certain and too righteous. If I was smart I'd stick to subjects I have expertize in like variable length subnet masking and Internet protocol filtering and control with IPSec tunnel as transport, or at least just electric guitars and power chords. But I don't, I try to dig into subjects that interest me whether I know what I'm talking about or not.
There I was perusing a favorite blog (http://www.tbirdnow.mee.nu/) only to stumble on a link back to something I wrote in 2007. I read it with trepidation, what BS was I slinging that day? To my surprise I found that I was right about a lot of things. This time events had confirmed exactly what I believed.
See here http://protohuman.blogspot.com/2007/10/oil-and-war.html
In it I said the 2nd Iraq war was about oil - it was. It was not only about oil, but only a fool would say oil had nothing to do with it. I do not believe the U.S. was there to steal Iraqi oil, we weren't. We were however engaged in that region with guns and ships in part to protect the marketplace for the movement of oil to the places it needed to be. That's just the way it was. It is a job that needed to be done and the U.S. did it. For one thing, no one else could and, for another who better than the U.S. considering the role the U.S. played in global stability for the markets and the economy of the world.
Even at the time, seven years ago, the U.S. itself was not getting that much of it's oil from the Middle East, but many of our allies were. Now with the advent of advanced extraction of fossil fuels in the homeland the U.S. get's even less oil from the Middle East. The U.S. is now, or is poised to be the world leader in oil production. What hasn't changed is that the oil business is global in nature and trouble in any part of the system affects everyone to some degree.
The spooky part is what has changed. For all the foibles and mistakes of the Bush Administration leading up to 2007 when I wrote the piece, in the eyes of nation and the world everyone knew the U.S. could be counted on. That alone was a stabilizing force, imperfect but stabilizing. Now a mere seven years later under the Obama Administration this is true no longer. The world is devolving into chaos in nearly every quarter. Islam, China and Russia are busy pushing out, testing the waters for American reaction, carefully considering how the West coalesces behind American leadership. But then again, there is no American leadership.
The whole Middle East and North African zone is in turmoil. Israel and Hamas are in a shooting war - again. Egypt, Libya and Syria are engaged in civil wars to name just the big ones. The Syrian conflict has spilled into Iraq threatening to destabilize the region even further. This is directly the result of the Obama Administration's failure to come to an agreement for status of forces in Iraq. A vacuum of power ensued, a welcome call for ISIS out of Syria. And... Iran's sponsorship of terrorism and nuclear ambition is a festering case.
Russia, the chess player, is using the weakness of U.S. leadership to harass Ukraine, threatening a civil war there. This leaves Europe between a rock and a hard place. They need Russian energy. What they see is Russian ambition in the absence of American leadership.
The troubling thing is that Europe and reasonable people in the U.S. see the energy revolution in America as a potential solution to Europe's dependency on Russia. Again the Obama Administration has done everything in it's power to stifle the burgeoning export potential of American energy. Killing the Keystone Pipeline sends a clear signal that the U.S. government is in the grips of radical environmentalists - and enough digging would find Russian money funding these "green" organizations with the very purpose of stifling American energy gains.
In the midst of all this foreign turmoil is a weak and stagnant economy in America. A weak economy makes the U.S. weak across the board. We see major homegrown companies pulling up stakes and moving to business friendly nations. Corporate tax reform is needed. Regardless of the push back from huge companies that benefit from the current system it takes political leadership to pull it off. There's no economic leadership in the political ranks, none. Instead all we've seen is the Central Bank and it's debt buying strategy. How many people are fooled by a rising stock market that is fueled by Federal Reserve bond buying? When this ends with nothing else having been done to shore up native economic growth the market will crash and interest rates and inflation will rise - further weakening the country and by extension the world.
The final point in my 2007 piece was that people grumble and complain about America sticking its nose into everything, complain about so-called American arrogance, complain about American aggression and nearly everything else about America - and as always there is some validity to these concerns. It's an imperfect world. Now we are getting a glimpse of what the absence of American leadership and reliability will bring to the world. What a mess.
For once I was right!!!