[A-List] RE: Iraq and the Problem of Peak Oil (fwd)
sherrynstan at earthlink.net
Wed Aug 4 17:39:23 MDT 2004
The problem of peak oil, as Mark alluded to more than once, is not
empirical, it is political... the social relations of oil.
Not only are the US and China on a collision course in their demand
trends, the US is on a collision course with the rest of the world,
particularly the third world. The US knows damn well that even with
heroic levels of environmental vandalism there is no longer any way to
scavenge enough oil to supply world demand AS IT IS, much less as it
trends. This is part of the equation, along with the radical
constraints being encountered in other resources, of what he repeatedly
called "exterminism," and what Andrew McKillop has called
"demand-destruction," that is, the combination of war, intentional
neglect, and social catastrophe that will rip up existing development in
under-developed nations, and removing them from the demand calculus.
This coincides with the diminishing number of human beings required to
valorize the total global capital, which wouldn't have surprised Marx
would it? The reserve army of labor is being transformed into a mass of
surplus human beings outside the capital-labor polarity, where they
constitute not merely a superfluous population, but an increasingly
menacing presence in an ever more constrained world.
The Saudi equivocating in the past few days, when OPEC announced it
couldn't increase output for the 2004 election season, is an indication
that Matthew Simmons and others were right when they hypothesized that
Saudi production is already in decline. Their six remaining productive
fields - 40-year-old Ghawar alone producing 50 of the 75-80 mbd Saudi
total - maintain flow pressure only through massive water injection at
the margins of the fields, and the extraction "columns" are still
getting smaller every year. The water-oil line gets higher every day,
and horizontal drilling has not stopped the infiltration of water (and
gas) into the crude. That water injection is sucking down Saudi
aquifers, and even with the massive Saudi desalinization capacity, a
water shortage (and agricultural crisis) is already on them.
The water shortage is one of many "issues" in a growing, ever more
urban, ever younger Saudi population, overseen by a political
establishment that is at war with itself, and under siege by OBL and his
minions - many of his undeclared partisans in the Saudi military. OBL
said he wanted two things: (1) the US military presence out of SA, and
(2) to overthrow the House of Saud. The attacks of 9/11 seem more each
day to have been a brilliant military and political calculation that
could very well lead to him getting his way on the second. He already
has on the first, because the US has quietly withdrawn the military -
and this restive, young, urbanized population in SA AND the region sees
that he won this point, this demographic that sees its living standard
inexorably diminished, that sees the humiliation being dumped on it by
the Hegemon (who invokes the Crusades) and its Zionist forward deployed
military sub-unit, and that sees in Iraq what OBL - now at the peak of
his popularity - had already figured out. Conventional militaries, even
the most powerful on in the world, are designed to defeat state actors.
Others can end-run with devastating asymmetry.
Come 9/11 and we have seen the impotence of this vastly expensive
killing machine, and we/they are seeing it again in Iraq, where that
very machine crushed the Iraqi state and released new stateless actors
who are defeating the US occupation and showing us the outlines of an
historically new asymmetry... one that could make imperialist armies
Meanwhile, with crude up to $44 a barrel, Alan Greenspan and Karl Rove
have to figure out how to stave off stagflation until after November
(watch for the screws to turn harder on the fuming third world now).
Kerry has to convince us he's not George W. Bush... and he's doing a
piss poor job of it.
Mark was right, and Bob Dylan was right.
Hard rain agonna fall.
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