69 million page views

If only it were that simple

Reader comment on item: Nike and 9/11
in response to reader comment: Reply to Gary who replies to Ahmed Safire to Nike & 9/11 !!

Submitted by D Williams (United States), Oct 16, 2006 at 17:49

It never ceases to amaze me how simple Americans are. It seems everyone here wants a simple tidy explanation to every little issue. Well, I hate to disappoint but it is not as simple as being in bed with the Saudis.

There are complex balances of power that happen every day with oil. The fact is that developing nations need oil to develop. The Saudis are running out of oil as is the rest of the world. Tremendous pressure is being placed on them to increase their supply while other pressures there try to force a reduction of supply. The US exerts pressure to try to limit the amount of oil that is shipped to its enemies, and to play a role in energy policies of nations around the world. International energy brokering is a dangerous and complex art that is difficult to understand and even hard to implement.

One day you deal with people who would cut your throat, and the next with those who are trying to cut your throat. All the while you must smile and listen to complaints of world domination and violations of rights by a country you represent. Never leaving the back of your mind is the fact that the people you are dealing with have a horrible human rights record, and would continue their 8th century practices if left completely alone. But you really have no choice in the matter. Why?

Everything in the American life is delivered by oil. Homes in the North East are heated with oil, diesels carry EVERY scrap of food to your mouths, gasoline drives you to work, and plants fired by fuel oil generate electricity to turn on lights, air conditioners, computers and electric motors that conduct all sorts of work. How many of you know that 1 kilowatt of electricity represents over 25 thousand man hours of work?

Does anyone out there know how much electricity was generated in the US last year? Does anyone know how much oil is left in the ground? Over 4 thousand billion Kilowatt hours were produced and consumed. Less than 1.2 trillion barrels (known and unknown reserves) lay in the ground. The world consumes 89 million barrels every day. Do the math. Also factor in a 7% increase in oil usage every year. For you financial folks you will immediately recognize the magic number 7 as the number that allows your assets to double every 10 years. This also means you double the amount of oil you use every ten years. Have you crunched those numbers yet? Scared yet? Still think it is simple?

The US is increasing its research on alternative fuels, but there are real issues that need to be overcome. It also takes a diversion of funds from the economy to research. Then the economy takes a hit. Any president must delicately balance research on new energies and fuels sources with the impact to the economy. What is the point of having a fossil fuel free country if in the meantime you have destroyed the economy and people are starving because of it? Can the US afford a depression type economy in light of today's hostilities?

The fact that the US is held hostage by OPEC is no new phenomena. This was shown to the world starkly in the early 70s. The Carter administration attempted to develop a viable energy industry using shale. The project failed due to expense, and productivity. It was clear that the technology simply did not exist to effectively get oil from shale in a manner that was efficient. More energy was used producing the energy than was created. In addition to that is the fact that diverting this money to the research helped to destroy the economy.

You state that the US could be oil independent in a decade… with 300 million vehicles on the road currently just in the US you would have to triple all car manufacturing overnight, and those would all have to use alternative fuels. Then after ten years we would be oil independent on so far as vehicles go. That does not address the Oil fire plants, heating fuel, aviation fuels, etc. ad nauseum. The world is so far from a simple American action hero sort of approach it is ludicrous. Yet there you sit espousing how the president is in bed with the Saudis… human nature I suppose, or maybe just American nature.

Just to make another point on the oil topic, the ANWR would generate about 15 days of oil for US consumption. Is that really worth destroying the beauty out there? Oh and what does everyone here do to limit energy consumption? Does any recycle? Does anyone invest in fuel alternatives? Ten year, oil free? Try 50 years.

Lastly, if half the importance was put on developing alternative fuel sources, all of America would starve in 6 months. Life is far to complex to use such blanket solution applications.


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2023 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)