An insufficient analysis

Andrew Sullivan posts about “a challenging analysis” of the U.S. position in the Middle East with reference to gas and oil sources, but I don’t think that’s sufficient. The pertinent sentence from the portion of the Star-Telegram article he quotes:

Any group, nation or coalition of nations able to dominate this region would hold the keys to domination of a world economy dependent on these fuels.

As soon as any nation becomes independent of these fuels (which we all, eventually, must), they escape this domination. Instead of focusing on being the dominant force in the world, the United States would do well to ensure that we are not subject to the vagaries of oil and gas production, in the Middle East or anywhere else.

3 Replies to “An insufficient analysis”

  1. “As soon as any nation becomes independent of these fuels (which we all, eventually, must), they escape this domination.”

    This is partially true, but I would have two objections: First, Petrol and natural gas will remain dominant for most of the first half of this century. Second, even if one nation because idependent of these fuels, that nation still remains embedded in a global economy powered by them. Any constriction of supply will effect the global economy and thus, by extension, even the “oil independent” nation.

    I’m a big proponent of becoming energy independent, but I’m realistic in realizing (a) how long it will take and (b) it wont’ be enough until the balance of the world is free from petrol dependency. Until that day, energy producing regions will remain primary strategic interests of the US and other developed and developing nations.

  2. I thought about your objections when I posted, and you are right: as long as the global economy is dependent on these fuels, even nations that lead the way with alternative energy sources will be affected. My main point, however, is that Andrew Sullivan completely ignores the other points both you and I raise.

    My realistic take on the situation is that no one will become independent of oil and natural gas until 1) it is all gone and 2) it is therefore too late.

  3. Kenneth,
    I guess I’m a little more optimistic than you on the transition to an alternative fuel. I think the West will begin to make the transition to a hydrogen based economy in the 2nd quarter of this century, and the balance will completely shift away from fossil fuels in the 2nd half, before it is all gone. This is just a wild guess, of course. Hydrogen has a lot of barriers to overcome, but you never know — a breakthrough could come in 5 years, not in 20, or on the other side of the coin, maybe never.

    But, until that day comes, crude is still king.

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