Monday, April 11, 2016

Damned if We Sell and Damned if We Don't

Is increased American ability to export oil a cause to worry about proliferating wars in the Middle East?

This article explains an impact of renewed American oil exports:

Since the 1970s, U.S. involvement in the Middle East has been based on protecting the interests of its oil-dependent allies as well as the assumption that major conflict involving major regional powers of such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Israel, or Turkey would be economically disastrous to both enlightened and selfish American interests.

But given the slowly-dawning epiphany regarding the true nature of U.S. energy supplies -- the millions of barrels a day of latent oil supplies available for export from the U.S. Gulf Coast if prices return above $70 a barrel for an extended period of time -- it's doubtful the same political rules now apply.

If the United States can supply millions of barrels per day of oil to its political allies by itself, the deep costs to the U.S. economy and its global alliance system caused by a Middle East regional war become much less pronounced. It's possible that the United States is returning to a position similar to its place during the first half of the 20th Century, when the country's relative energy security was so strong that it could stand back and wait for parts of the world to completely implode before acting militarily.

Do read it all.

One can say that Syria could be a sign of things to come in this kind of world. With little oil in Syria, we have had little reason to intervene because of the economic and security aspect of  the war.

Will we refuse to intervene in other disputes if our oil assets allow us to cope with the economic impact of reduced oil exports from the region as a result?

Yet Iraq, allegedly a war for oil according to the Left, is where we are intervening in Iraq War 2.0 in order to fight terrorists whose survival poses a security threat for us.

So oil (because of the effect on economics and hence prosperity and security) isn't the only reason for getting involved in the region.

And low oil prices could be something that riles up jihadis (yes, I know, what doesn't set them off into murderous rage?)--and I'm quoting myself from 2007:

Consider that the jihadis are all hopped up to kill us based on their claim that we "steal" their natural resources. Yep, at $70 per barrel, the jihadis believe we are stealing it.

So can you imagine how mad the jihadis would be if Moslem countries can't sell us oil for even $10 per barrel because we need it for plastics and limited energy needs? Talk about a conspiracy to impoverish the Moslem world!

So don't get carried away that cheap oil will end wars for oil. Cheap oil will anger a lot of the Easily Excitable.

It's always something.