Monday, March 14, 2005

the oil endgame

Michael Ruppert has recently framed world events as an oil endgame. Valuable reading, regardless of what one thinks of his assertions related to 9-11 and the like. He likes facts, he likes the real story, and while I do not share all of his conclusions, I don’t have any problem with the ingredients.

The real story is what drives me. If you want to understand this blog, know that I want to understand how things work. When wrong, once I get past the ego thumping embarrassment, I update my internal model of the universe. Skeptical contrarians are appreciated.

In the context of the oil endgame, I analyze wars and rumors of wars, no pulled punches. This is opinion, based on what I know.


United States Versus Iraq - In progress.

Instigator:
United States and Israel. The U.S. has a strong strategic interest in the region. Iraq represented a feckless opponent in conventional military terms. .

Outcome:
The U.S. neo conservatives have achieved strategic goals. The occupation is permanent, bloody and expensive, as expected. The oil is ours, denominated in dollars, and the Middle East is physically divided. Permanent military bases are being built. If civil war erupts, the U.S. has unincorporated Kurdistan, Kurdish oil fields, and the Gulf Port, Baghdad be damned. This may be a long term contingency of the U.S., with the Turkish relationship gone sour along democratic lines.

Blowback:
Guerrillas have shown the world that oil infrastructure is indefensible. The insurgency has emboldened Arab progressive and reactionaries alike. Middle East politics have been polarized. The US has shown that it will stay the course – and that it can be bloodied. Iraq is now a breeding ground for terrorists.


United States \ Israel Versus Syria – Probability Moderate to Low.

Instigator:
Israel. The United States has limited strategic interest here. I expect the U.S. to threaten like crazy and do nothing.

Outcome:
Militarily the U.S. can thump Syria. There would be no U.S. occupation of cities. Israel might be an occupier here, perhaps after the U.S. softened them up.

Blowback:
Attacking Syria would enrage the Middle East. Bashar Assad is viewed as a rational actor. In contrast, though the Iraq occupation is humiliating to Arabs, Saddam Hussein was little loved, viewed as narcissistic, secular, and ultimately blasphemous to Islam. Syria also has key pipelines running through its territory.


United States \ Israel versus Iran - Probability High

Instigator:
United States and Israel plan to bomb and destroy the nuclear reactors and any other targets that are related. Further, control of the oil is sought, but I doubt an occupation is planned at present. U.S. will stick its toe in the water first.

Outcome:
Russia, currently supplying Iran with nuclear expertise, has positioned some aircraft in the area. The Israelis, likely to be the initial attackers, might find themselves engaging advanced MIGs during their attack run. The known nuclear facilities would be successfully destroyed. Some intelligence sources have suggested that Iran has decentralized their uranium purification due to the historical example of Israel bombing the Iraq reactor. This is an unknown.

Blowback:
Possibility for a wider war. Some have suggested this is a contingency, allowing the neo conservatives to consolidate permanent political power inside the United States. Oil would stop flowing from Iran and possibly Venezuela, resulting in a global oil shock. If the U.S. is part of the attack, or even if they aren’t, Iran may decide to test out Russian made sunburn cruise missiles on the U.S. carriers groups. Iran can also blockade oil traffic through the threat of missile attack.


United States versus Venezuela – Probability Low

Instigator:
United States needs Venezuelan oil, period. This drove the coup, this is driving the proxy war via Columbia, and ultimately may drive an actual attack. China has been sniffing around the oil patch with U.S. dollars, as has India, a strategic nuclear partner of China. I suspect that China doesn’t care as much about Venezuelan oil as they do about waving their contracts in the face of the U.S., like a bullfighter waving a red cape in front of an enraged bull.

Outcome:
Strategic failure. The U.S. cannot kick out another leg in global oil production. Hugo Chavez, despise or admire him, understands that the threat of destroying oil production for a few years is likely to stop the U.S. from attacking. Imagine Uncle Sam deciding to kick himself in the nuts, repeatedly. The American economy needs that energy.

Blowback:
Pointless to speculate.


China versus Taiwan – Probability High

Instigator:
China wants Taiwan bad. In terms of peak oil, re-integrating Taiwan would extend out Chinese territorial waters and strengthen Chinese claim to the East China Sea oil regions, such as the Diaoyu or Senkaku islands.

Outcome:
Timed correctly, this is a likely strategic success for China. If an Iran war erupts in the Middle East, China will take her prize, daring the U.S. and Japan to intervene.

Blowback:
China will face the prospect of a rapidly militarized Japan. U.S. will grin and bear it.


China versus United States – In progress

Instigator:
China. China doesn’t care about the U.S. export markets in the long run. They are primed to destroy us financially, in the manner of their choosing. They are presently using our dollars to buy western commodities.

Outcome:
China is attacking the U.S. using the global economy and preying our consumerism. This strategy is succeeding. However, if the military gets involved, the globe faces a World War scenario where everyone loses. I doubt that is China’s goal. On the other hand, I never underestimate human stupidity.

Blowback:
Pointless to speculate. Watch Taiwan first.

2 Comments:

At 1:34 PM, March 14, 2005, Blogger James Moe said...

Whether or not the analysis of China's motives regarding Taiwan is correct, China has taken another step towards reclaiming the island by passing a law authorizing military action if Taiwan seeks independence (nicely vague).

http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/asiapcf/03/14/china.npc.law/index.html

 
At 9:17 PM, March 14, 2005, Blogger monkeygrinder said...

Well, whatever the motives, China lusts after Taiwan. That at least is not controversial.

Taiwan, being uppity, is playing hard to get, and flirting with autonomy.

The reason I think China will be ultimately successful is cultural - Taiwanese ARE Chinese, they just haven't had to suffer through mainland government.

China may be able to pull off re-unification without overt force.

 

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