Saturday :: Jan 8, 2005

Picking On Someone Their Own Size For Once


by pessimist

The People's Republic of China continues to make some interesting moves in the world. The latest move - one that will have significant consequences for American consumers - comes in an economic segment that is near and dear to the current (mi$)Administration - petroleum.


China oil firm 'plans Unocal bid'

Chinese energy giant CNOOC is planning a major acquisition which could hugely boost its Asian assets, reports say. The plan, according to the Financial Times, is to offer some $13bn (£7bn) for US firm Unocal, which operates in both Asia and the US.

You all remember Unocal - the company which got us entangled in Afghanistan? The company that once employed both the current 'president' of Afghanistan and the current US Ambassador to Afghanistan?

For the first time since the Kennedy Assassination, the Tex-ass oil boys are playing with the big guys.

Having had it all their way since 1963, hubris has inspired a sense of invincibility in them. No one who has stood up to them has been able to succeed against them, as they will stand together against all comers, and will use the vast resources they have taken (only some of which was earned) to protect their advantages. There is no level to which they won't stoop, as victory - in the form of massive profits - is the only thing that matters.

This is why we remained in Vietnam until North Vietnamese tanks moved in close enough to watch the last US Army helicopters flee the American Embassy building in Saigon - these oil boys were making vast sums money off the war.

This is why Saddam Hussein was enticed into attacking Kuwait, who was using Texas-style methods (slant-drilling) to tap into Iraqi reserves just across the border - these oil boys were after control of a rogue they originally set up in power to 'protect' their interests in the Iraqi oil fields.

This is why there is saber-rattling going on, aimed at Iran, whose oil industry was 'taken away' from its 'rightful owners' when the Islamic Revolution toppled the puppet Shah installed to see to it that American oil interests didn't have to submit to local authority and pay the taxes the locals felt were due.

This is why we installed a puppet government in Afghanistan, and support an unpopular tyrant in Pakistan, so we could tap into the oil fields of the Caspian Sea.

This is also why we have taken no steps to curb North Korea and their nuclear program. Allowing them to remain viable provides the excuse to fund military projects that need the sort of construction 'expertise' that oil company-connected firms like Bechtel and Halliburton can expensively provide.

But now that China is making a bid to enter this particular segment of the world's energy 'providers' everything changes. China's petroleum production motivation won't be aimed at keeping stupid Americans in their stupid SUVs. China's energy needs are growing at a rate that would make a Tex-ass oil boy's mouth water if it were his profit statement he were looking at, and the PRC government is making calculated moves all over the world to meet those needs.

I've reported in the past about China's actions in Darfur, where Chinese Army troops are protecting a pipeline built by China to supply Chinese needs. China has also been making friends and influencing local governments to provide petroleum in Cuba, and in South America and Africa. They have even been taking step to improve relations with nations that have no oil, but rest in strategic positions where military bases just might be useful, such as in Haiti.

China is even making deals with Canada and Mexico for oil!

The Tex-ass oil boys best be running scared, for the Chinese aren't afraid of them. The bullying bluster behavior that the Tex-ass oil boys like to display doesn't faze the Chinese much - they stood us down in Korea, and they know that oil boy minion George W. Bu$h will kow-tow to them if they patiently and firmly stand up to him - it's happened twice now. The Chinese also know that the saner brains in the Pentagon are in no hurry to get involved in yet another Asian land war, especially one which would directly involve the massive Chinese Army.

When I've raised this point in the past, some commenters note that China is weaker in many ways than the US forces are. Certainly, China has no equivalent to the Tomahawk missile, nor do they have a navy or air force that matches the military might of America. These are valid arguments.

But I direct their attention to Iraq, where a disorganized and militarily weaker insurgency has tied down the bulk of the combat units of the US to the point where the US government doesn't dare initiate any more oil grabs - at least not without instituting the draft to raise the necessary numbers. The US Army War College has a huge PDF file which looks at Chinese strengths [I'm still on limited dial-up access or I would take the estimated 11 minutes to download it so I could quote from it. I invite you readers to perform this task in my stead.].

But by using sources still within reasonable dial-up grasp, I can show that while US 'boots on the ground' can at best can currently only number less than 500,000, China is maintaining an army of approximately 2.5 million - and this is down from their all-time peak of 6.2 million - a number the US hasn't approached since the WWII peak of 16.5 million in uniform - a number that was only reached (as it would be today) with a massive draft.

The mechanism to resume the draft is already in place and primed for action:

There is, indeed, evidence indicating a new, heightened urgency within the agency, which these days is independent and no longer falls under the aegis of the Department of Defense. “The Selective Service System’s Annual Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2004,” is a document that leaves the careful reader with anything but the impression of a sleepy agency drilling for a fire it knows will never flare.

# By early next year, the government will be test firing a mobilization infrastructure of 56 state headquarters, 442 area offices, and 1,980 local boards.

# Funding is in the coffers to kick off a rigorous “Area Office Prototype Exercise,” which will “test the activation process from SSS Lottery input to the issuance of First Armed Forces Examination Orders.”

# Ramping up is the “Selective Service System’s High School Registrar Program,” a plan to put volunteer registrars in at least 85 percent of the nation’s high schools – an increase from 65 percent in 1998.

# At the head of the busy-work list – a no-nonsense commitment to report to the president by March 31st, 2005 that the system is ready to roll full steam within 75 days, which would clear the decks for a first lottery by June 15th, 2005.

Meanwhile, helping the agency to reach its goals and objectives is a little known provision of the No Child Left Behind Act that requires schools to provide contact information for every student – upon pain of losing federal aid dollars.

Aggression for self-interested gain is the only behavior acceptible to the Tex-ass oil boys, for to do anything less is considered 'yella' - cowardly. But they aren't going to walk out into the middle of Main Street at high noon with a Colt on their hip to face the Chinese rival. They are going to send you (if you are young enough) or your children (if you are too old) to do their bidding, which is to defeat their rivals and give them access to -and total control of - that substance to which they have made you addicted.

This nation is desperately in need of leadership that lives in the 21st century and not the 19th. The world doesn't have a place for people that wear expensive Stetson hats and pointy-toed boots and who like to pretend they are cowboy homesteaders on the frontier, facing down the Commanche nation with Winchester rifle in hand and a Peacemaker on hip. Such historical confrontations never had the potential to drag all of the rest of the world into their conflict.

But today's conflicts do have that potential, and more than ever it is necessary to retire the cowboy to the museum, and to regain control of the government that cowboy behaviors have tainted with their self-interest and ancient - no, quaint - attitudes of simplistic solutions to complex problems.

America once stood for intelligence and progress. We are the nation that made the automobile - invented in France and Germany [live with it!] - a viable commodity. We are the nation that created television and the transistor and put a man on the moon. We are the nation that can lead the world away from oil wars and into a future that is safe, healthy, and secure for everyone.

But no cowboy wannabe Tex-ass oil boy will ever lead us there. He's only interested in himself.

When he sends the posse to round up your kid to send off to Petroleumstan to fight for his profit statement, remind yourself that you let him do so. You let him steal the election - twice - and did nothing about it. Your failure to act will be redeemed with the lives of your children.

So slap that American Flag bumper sticker on your Expedition and roar around town with the pedal to the metal. Your kids' lives will pay for your right to do so.


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pessimist :: 7:10 AM :: Comments (7) :: Digg It!