Monday :: Nov 15, 2004

Enter The Dragon

by pessimist

General Douglas MacArthur once made the statement that no country should ever get involved in a land war in Asia. No one listened, or we wouldn't have gone to Vietnam, or Afghanistan, or Iraq - all Asian countries.

But such experienced words of wisdom aren't going to sit well with the BFEE/PNAC Petroleum Pirate Posse. They see the world's oil supply as their property, whether the countries which sit on pools of it agree or not.

Sure, they can bluster and bully about a third-rate military like Saddam's (even if they can't seem to get a handle on all those they demobilized who now attack them Vietcong-style), but what will they do when they are faced with the 1.4 billion pound dragon known as the Democratic Republic of China?

China's growing thirst for oil is finally gaining the attention of America's media:

China Barrels Ahead in Oil Market

Beijing's pursuit of energy is all about maintaining the nation's strong economic growth, which Communist Party leaders believe is the linchpin to social stability and ultimately their legitimacy. Oil and natural gas, and lots of both, are needed to keep factories running and to power all the new cars hitting freshly paved streets.

Only a decade ago, China shipped out more crude than it imported. This year it has sharply reduced exports to meet domestic needs and it is now the world's second-largest importer of oil after the U.S.

Remember - there are five Chinese for every American. As their economy becomes more Westernized, with two cars in every wok, there won't be enough oil for anyone's SUV anymore, and as Arnold is 57 now, he'd have his hands full fighting with five Chinese for gasoline for his 8 MPG Hummer!

But the real issue that Bu$hCo is ignoring is the economic and diplomatic efforts under way to undermine American hegemony in the world. After all, we're rugged individualists who go it alone (except for our lap bulldog)!

Wary of its increasing reliance on a few foreign oil suppliers, China has formulated a "go-out" strategy to diversify and expand its energy capabilities. The plan involves cooperating with 27 countries for oil exploration.

'Cooperating'! What a concept! Sure is a shame that no one in Bu$hCo ever could learn how that works!

But as aggressively as any nation, it is also cutting deals and forging alliances to get the energy it needs.

In South America and Africa, the Chinese government is helping build roads and ports in exchange for oil supply contracts. Beijing pledged to support oil-rich Russia in its bid to join the World Trade Organization as the two countries agreed that Russia would boost its exports of crude by rail to China.

And after a Chinese company's deal to develop an oil field in Iran, Beijing tacitly offered political support for Tehran's budding nuclear program. That put China in direct cross hairs of the Bush administration. The hunt for energy in the former Soviet Union and political hotspots such as Sudan is making China few friends in Washington.

China is "throwing around its economic muscle like crazy," said David Lampton, head of China studies at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies. "The Chinese are throwing incredible amounts of money to lock up long-term [energy] contracts. It's going to be a real topic of U.S.-China relations."

Remember - that's OUR oil they're messin' with! God gave it to us Republican Texans!

"There is a rationale from Beijing that is very dominant: If you can supply oil and do business, we would like to sign a deal," said Wenran Jiang, a political scientist at the University of Alberta in Canada. "China is very non-ideological in that sense. They will think about it, but they're not driven by the strategic interest in Washington."

That clunk you just heard was a Chinese armored gauntlet being tossed at the feet of The Crawford Kid and the BFEE/PNAC Petroleum Pirate Posse. This becomes even more evident with this next item:

In September, construction crews began work on a 770-mile pipeline running from the oil-abundant Caspian Sea coast in Kazakhstan to China's western border, connecting with another trunk line all the way to China's east coast. The pipeline's initial capacity would be about 10 million tons of crude a year, said Matthew Cairns of Economy .com in Sydney, Australia.

The reason US forces are remaining in Afghanistan is to ensure that former Unocal executive Hamid Karzai can rule over that country, and make it safe enough for Halliburton and Bechtel crews to build a pipeline from that very region through Afghanistan and Pakistan to a warm-water port on the Arabian Sea. The fact that China is already on the move there has to rankle Bu$hCo strategists. This has to also:

Energy diplomacy also raises new challenges for the West, as the economic and political center in Asia shifts from the United States and Japan to China.

Heightened geopolitical tensions over China's oil imports comes as little surprise to Jeffrey Logan, China program manager at the Paris-based International Energy Agency. "It's only natural," he said. "The world is struggling to learn more about China. As China enters the world more and more, it's going to depend on the world's resources more and more."

I think it's safe to assume that China will not be meek in the face of US opposition to China's expanding reach for the world's resources. Anyone who doubts this should look up the history of the Korean War. Better, talk to a veteran who served there - maybe a Marine who was at the Chosin Reservoir.

But war over oil isn't the answer. Mobilizing the still-incredible (if dormant) technological ability of this nation toward using any and all forms of alternative energy to stretch petroleum resources for those applications which cannot be easily adapted would be wise. But it's safe to say that won't happen. It would take a strong political leader like Franklin Roosevelt - one who had to get America's conservative Republican industrialists all in a row to wage that little fracas known as WWII - after it had started - to achive that goal.

So exercise your own ingenuity. Come up with new uses for those SUVs and Hummers once we can no longer fuel them. After all - many Chinese street vendors have less area to work WITH than many of us drive to work IN.

And try to find parts for that old Schwinn in the garage before you can no longer afford them. It might be how we get around in the future.

It worked for China for decades.

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pessimist :: 1:12 AM :: Comments (10) :: Digg It!