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Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America's Growing Dependency on Imported Petroleum (The American Empire Project) Hardcover – 26 Jul 2006

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Metropolitan Books; 1st Edition edition (26 July 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805073132
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805073133
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 2.8 x 25.7 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,355,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Tampa, Florida, is not one of the places you usually think of as a hub for American relations with the oil kingdoms of the Persian Gulf. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 41 reviews
177 of 186 people found the following review helpful
Absolutely Extraordinary: Cheap Oil Equals Lots of Bloodshed 4 Sep 2004
By Robert David STEELE Vivas - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Edit of 20 Dec 07 to add links.

I have heard this author speak to groups of international intelligence professionals, and they take him very seriously, as do I. In many ways, his books complements the one by Thomas Barnett, The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-first Century except that whereas Barnett says that the military must go to war to make unstable areas safe for America, Klare points out that a) we don't have enough guns or blood to stabilize a world that we antagonize every time we deploy into an "occupation" mode, and b) cheap oil is going to be very very expensive in terms of American blood on the floor.

Although I have reviewed many books about both the problems within America and its policies, as well as books optimistic about the future of America and the world, I give credit to Klare and this book for finally forcing me to realize that our federal budget and federal policies, in relation to protecting America, are "inside out and upside down." There is, and Klare documents this beautifully in relation to petroleum, a very pathological cycle that could be easily stopped. We insist on cheap oil, this leads to bloodshed and high oil prices; this comes back to lower quality of life for the workers, etc.

As Klare points out, the pipelines (and I would add the pipe to ship portals) cannot be protected. American policy makers are deceiving the public when they suggest they can stabilize the Middle East and protect cheap oil. Not only can the pipelines not be protected, but on America's current consumption path, according to Klare, the Gulf States would have to DOUBLE production to keep up with American demand.

Klare is also intellectually powerful in painting a future picture when China, Russia, and Europe are in armed competition with the USA for energy from Central Asia, Latin America, under the Spratley Islands, etcetera. As I read Klare's book, I was just shaking my head. Our policies on energy are delusional and destructive, and Klare is among the few that is providing an objective report to the public on this reality.

Klare is actually kind to the current Administration (Bush-Cheney), pointing out that they are no more or less corrupt than previous administrations going back to World War II. Cheap oil has become a mantra, and military power has become the unquestioned means of achieving that--along with supporting 44 dictators, genocide, state-sponsored terrorism (as long as we like them and we get the Jewish vote to boot).

I especially liked Klare's observation that cheap oil for the US is a major contributor to unemployment and destabilization within Arabia. Buying oil from Saudi Arabia subsidizes terrorism. Buying cheap oil from Saudi Arabia increases the number of unemployed who might be inspired to become terrorism. Hmmmm... At what real cost shall we continue to demand cheap oil?

Klare is also very effective in objectively criticizing the manner in which the US Administrations have integrated anti-terrorism initiatives with energy-protection initiatives. Bin Laden is still at large, but by golly, we have 200,000 Americans sitting on top of the Iraqi oil fields.

Klare joins Jim Bamford Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency, Chalmers Johnson The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (The American Empire Project), Derek Leebaert The Fifty-Year Wound: How America's Cold War Victory Has Shaped Our World and a score of other authors who have in one way or another alluded to the fact that we are now doing to China what we did to Russia after the Cold War: needlessly confronting them, scaring them, and pushing them to arm themselves. Klare focuses on our "occupation" of Central Asia, an area of direct concern and interest to China, but I would add our sending seven carriers to the Formosa Straits recently and part of the problem--reminding me of how we sent squadrons of nuclear bombers deep into the Soviet Union from the north, immediately following World War II, just to see how far we could get. WE started the arms race!

The book ends as intelligently as it begins, with emphasis on getting to a post-petroleum economy. Listing all the ways we could get there would be another book in itself, but we could start with neighborhood level solar power, more wind power, deep conservation (which must also apply to water), a gradual elimination of chlorine-based and petroleum-based industries, a turn toward self-sustainment across the board, and what Klare cites as his big three steps:

1) divorce energy purchases from security commitments---stop tolerating dictators and arming terrorist nations for the sake of cheap oil

2) reduce our reliance on imported oil, dramatically

3) prepare the way for a transition to a post-petroleum economy that includes conservation, hybrid vehicles, public transportation, the two-way energy grid that WIRED featured on its cover the same week Cheney met secretly with Enron...and so on.

Fool's gold at high moral cost. Klare makes it clear that if we do not heal ourselves from inside out, that no amount of guns, blood, or destruction will save us from the inevitable implosion of the unstable places where oil is to be found.

Special books read since then that carry the argument forward:
Web of Deceit: The History of Western Complicity in Iraq, from Churchill to Kennedy to George W. Bush
Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude
Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil
Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy
The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century
9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in USA, Fourth Edition\
51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
Informative And Well Documented 26 Oct 2004
By Kevin Spoering - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book, by Michael Klare, goes into much detail explaining how conservative leaders and think tanks have not only led us into a disastrous war in Iraq, but in addition have set the United States on a course to actually import more and more oil from unstable and despotic foreign countries in the future. Before the latest Iraqi war I did'nt believe the war was about oil, perhaps it was a side issue, but Klare goes into much detail here, illustrating the fact the war is primarily about securing a large and continuous oil supply for the United States. It is true, as Klare points out, that Presidents since FDR have placed a high value on Middle East oil, but the Bush administration has taken intervention to a new and dangerously high level. Several documents are referred to by Klare, one very important one was by the National Energy Policy Development Group, in 2001, headed by none other than Dick Cheney. This group gives full support to the use of the military of the United States to secure foreign oil sources, only giving lip service to alternate energy development, and almost nothing to conservation measures including raising CAFE standards. I have to say that I find this amazingly short sighted. Now that President Bush and his 'advisors' have gotten us into an endless resource war in Iraq it is evident to any thinking person that we are in a mess with nearly no end. In addition, our military, in their 'precision' strikes, have, as of 10-04, killed an estimated 21,500 Iraqi civilians, to me this is atrocious and another reason the terrorists have been able to easily recruit people. Klare goes into detail how we join forces with despotic regimes around the world in search of additional supplies of oil, and this includes the House Of Saud. As a result of this, Klare points out, and with the stationing of U.S. troops on sacred Middle Eastern soil, we have invited the fury and hate of many, many Arabs, this cannot but end badly. Klare states that this policy of using the military to rely more and more on foreign supplies of oil may lead to price shocks, supply interruptions, and in a worst case blackmail. And of course an unending stream of terrorist attacks against U.S. interests all over the world.

I found the last chapter of this book to be the most interesting, however. Here, Klare presents a somewhat detailed outline of what we can do to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Of course, conservation plays a big role, including raising the Cafe standards for cars and light trucks, and eventually for heavy trucks as well. Alternate energy sources must be developed. And we should, in the future, refrain, Klare points out, in supporting corrupt regimes around the world just for the sake of their oil, this alone will give us much more credibility in the world. We have squandered hundreds of billions of dollars in useless and counter-productive military adventures, Klare gives us ideas of how we can do better.

This book is largely about the geo-political aspects of the global supply of oil. For a comprehensive treatise on the impending peak of the global production of oil read HUBBERT'S PEAK by Kenneth Deffeyes, and THE PARTY'S OVER by Richard Heinberg.
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Just Admit It 20 May 2005
By doomsdayer520 - Published on
Format: Hardcover
For those knowledgeable on the subject of petro-politics, there is little new information in this book, but Michael Klare does a great job of consolidating current thought into one informative package. Klare finds compelling evidence, usually in freely available US government documents, that almost every single US military action in recent decades has been about ensuring the flow of imported oil to America. For example, the first Bush administration originally justified the 1991 Persian Gulf War with the need to restore the flow of cheap oil that was disrupted by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. But of course, this was before the media spectacle began, and politicians and pundits started throwing around words like freedom and democracy and liberation.

Here you can see without a doubt, unless you're an unthinking apologist, that "energy security" is the primary (if not the only) military mission of the most recent American presidential administrations. In addition to the problematic Persian Gulf, we are also on the verge of getting involved in conflicts in alternative oil production regions, especially the Caspian Sea area. Our insatiable thirst for oil has led us into all sorts of damaging military engagements and unethical support deals with corrupt regimes and dictators. Klare provides indisputable evidence that America will get into a downward spiral of conflict and competition over dwindling supplies of oil unless we can break away from the status quo of consumption.

This book does have a few gaps that prevent it from being a complete success, however. Klare misses the point that America is creating competitors for the dwindling worldwide petroleum supply by "encouraging" developing nations (especially China and India) to adopt our lifestyle. Also, Klare focuses mostly on foreign policy in this book and hence misses a few key aspects of domestic policy, especially how government subsidies and corporate welfare to old-school energy industries have kept them artificially profitable, and have prevented alternative energy industries from getting off the ground. However, Klare concludes the book with some pretty solid, if wishful, prescriptions for an American public that needs to finally admit what's really going on with oil, and how damaging our addiction to it really is. [~doomsdayer520~]
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
The Great Game Redux 7 Dec 2004
By Igor Biryukov - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book is a valuable contribution. The book asserts that competition for petroleum has replaced ideology as a major source for international conflict. The book evokes a feeling that Thomas Malthus, who was a pessimistic philosopher and writer on population in Victorian England, is a more reliable guide to present times than Karl Marx, Von Hayek or Francis Fukuyama. I am sure you will have the same feeling than you put down this book. The Great Game is back with the vengeance. The world stage has been set for Malthusian wars of scarcity. But the scarce resource is no longer food, but fossil fuel, commonly known as oil.
The book surpasses in insight numerable writings by so-called geo-politicians in explaining the present conflict. As a Russia's casual observer, I can tell you that it is a better guide for understanding interaction between Russia and US than writings of Zbignew Brzezinski, who writes from an outdated ideological point of view, thus clouding the issues. To my view, the era of ideology ended with Soviet Union voluntarily dismantling its empire in 1991. Many other authors try to introduce a crude racial point of view. `Expansionism is in the Russian DNA' (George Will, a US commentator). This is, of course, nonsense. The key aspects of this new Great Game are 1) control and access to world oil routs, and 2) which power will dominate the Caspian basin region, the new oil Mecca. Even before the celebrated Cheney energy report was published in May 2001, underscoring the importance of the Caspian as an alternative to Persian Gulf, the Clinton administration blessed in 1999 plans for creation of BTC pipeline, going from Baku to Tbilisi to Ceyhan, thus surpassing Russia. Although Russians immediately realized that they are being elbowed out, it took a few years to cement the Russian point of view that the US is trying to supplant Russia as a dominant power in the Caspian basin, Russia's historic domain. The consequent events in Georgia, from Russian point of view, confirmed it. The US has established an unofficial military base there. The new Georgian leader, a Columbia-educated lawyer, came to power (as the Russians see it) with American help and lavish monetary contribution. The only difference in what some see as unavoidable US expansion in the region is ambitions of the new power - China. China's growing thirst for petroleum makes the American position difficult, almost untenable. More, China and Russia are uniting to counteract US presence, particularly in the Caspian basin by courting Kazakhstan. Current US involvement in Ukraine will, in my view, push Russia further into China's embrace. The Chinese leaders understand that most of the world flow of oil is now guaranteed not by OPEC or 'world market' but by US military. That, in addition to growing presence of US bases in Central Asia, makes the Chinese very uneasy.
China and Russia are now also indirectly challenging US in Persian Gulf (which has become virtually an American protectorate) by selling advanced arms and technologies to Iran.
But the US is up a creek there even without China-Russia alliance. The author alludes that Cheney report is a key to understand the US invasion of Iraq. This report basically said that US future demand for foreign oil will be huge and getting it won't be easy. Unless the US takes drastic measures now, it can miss the boat. The scope of US dependence of foreign petroleum is truly staggering. More, to compensate falling domestic extraction and growing demand for oil, US will need to export 18.5 million barrels per day in 2020 - the number equivalent of current consumption by India and China combined. The fact that Indian and Chinese consumption of petroleum is growing even faster probably means that we will see even more ferocious struggle for oil in the coming years. We will probably look back at the twentieth century as a time of peace. This book is truly a food for thought.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Where's Peak Oil amid the "Blood & Oil"? 5 April 2005
By Richard H. Burkhart - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is an update of Klare's 2001 book "Resource Wars", featuring a detailed history of the US "geo-politics" of oil in the Middle East. Russia and China play supporting roles as sparring partners for this oil. The greatest threat to peace is escalation of these conflicts as the competition for supplies intensifies.

Although Klare alludes to Peak Oil, he shows a strange lack of awareness of some of its implications and associated research. For example, he cites the official projections for oil demand by 2020 that guided by Bush-Cheney National Energy Plan. Yet he fails to note that these figures are radically wrong, since Peak Oil is likely by the end of this decade, in fact within a year or two if geologists Deffeyes and Campbell are right. Some people in the US government and among its energy advisors are certainly aware of this. Are these people being simply ignored or is there a hidden plan to deal with the impending crisis?

It is obvious that the US plan of "maximum extraction", even if successful, would only postpone the crisis for a few years. Klare explains in some detail why this strategy is likely to fail. Certainly it has so far. Not that the failure in Iraq has deterred Bush, since preparations seem to be underway for actions against Iran.

Klare also uses official figures for proven oil reserves, though these are highly suspect for the Middle East. More realistic estimates are given by Colin Campbell in the April, 2005, ASPO newsletter ([...] Saudi Arabia - 145 Gb, Kuwait - 52, Iraq - 62, Iran - 70, Abu Dhabai - 46). These much lower figures make it even more clear why the Bush-Cheney strategy is doomed.

Klare explains how the US plan attempts to hedge against problems in the Middle East by diversifying to other areas, such as the Caspian Sea, Latin America, and West Africa. The strategy is to use US diplomatic and military power to open key areas to US oil companies. Yet these areas, in addition to substantially lower reserves, have their own instabilities and obstacles. Not surprisingly this strategy has also yielded little so far. However Klare's math suffers a bit here, where he implies on p. 121 that there will be a net decline in exportable energy from a region when the increase in consumption exceeds the increase in production. However if, at present, consumption is only a fraction of production, then even a large percentage increase in consumption can be covered by a much smaller percentage increase in production. Fortunately this makes no difference since the DOE-projected increases in production and consumption by 2025 are certainly wrong.

In summary Klare makes it very clear why and how Bush & Cheney have committed the US to any every deepening cycle of imperial maneuvers and warfare. Yet his failure to fully grasp Peak Oil means that there is no analysis of how this dynamic might change US strategy when the reality of soaring oil prices begins to sink in. The International Energy Agency is already talking about the need to plan for restraining oil consumption if prices continue upward. The overwhelming costs over the next few years in devalued dollars, as well as blood, may force even the most oil-addicted conspirators to come up with a new strategy.
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