Monday, November 12, 2007

Puzzling Strategery

Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post is a consistently lucid foreign policy thinker who has written a critique of U.S. Middle East policy that one hopes is required reading at the State Department and the White House. If she's right, and she certainly makes a lot of sense, this administration has lost its way in how it addresses the problems posed by both our putative allies as well as our enemies.

The fact that Iran is undeterred in its quest to build nuclear weapons, that Saudi Arabia has jacked the price of oil to $100 a barrel, that Hezbollah and Hamas are as virulent as ever, that the Taliban is resurgent in Afghanistan, and that Pakistan is on the brink of collapse, all suggest that an all carrot no stick diplomacy isn't working very well. Indeed, the only thing going well in the Middle East right now is, remarkably enough, Iraq, but unless the issues in play in Pakistan, Iran and Syria are resolved, even that success, bought at such a high price, is at risk.

Read Glick's analysis at the link.


Wealth Undergoes a Global Shift

The Washington Post has an excellent article on the effects rising oil prices are having around the globe. There are winners and losers, but the winners are not necessarily the people who inhabit the oil-exporting countries. The residents of Chad for example see little of the wealth their oil has generated. Most of the oil revenue is going to buy weapons. Other winners are nations we wish weren't winning - Venezuela, Iran, Russia. One winner, perhaps surprisingly, is Alaska.

Losers include almost all third world oil importers plus China, South Korea, Japan, etc.

One country the article doesn't mention is Mexico which has a lot of oil. Evidently the revenues they're accruing from this blessing are not finding their way down to the poorest Mexicans, otherwise why would they risk the ordeal of a border crossing to come here to do stoop labor for a few dollars a day? Apparently, the Mexican government is getting rich while their poor throw themselves on the mercies of the American taxpayer.

Anyway, check out the Post article. It's an education.


New Oil Find

Here's interesting news: Brazil has discovered a major oil field lying just offshore. It has the potential to be as big as the reserves in Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. Now if only our Congress would allow us to drill offshore and in Alaska we'd be awash in oil. As it is some analysts are predicting $4.00 a gallon gasoline within a couple of months.

If this prediction should come to pass don't blame the oil companies, blame a Congress which has blocked new drilling, made refineries prohibitively expensive to build and pretty much regulated nuclear power to the point where no one wants to build new power plants. If Congress had wanted to make us dependent on foreign oil they couldn't have devised a more effective way of guaranteeing that we would be.