177 of 186 people found the following review helpful
Robert David STEELE Vivas
- Published on Amazon.com
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
- Published on Amazon.com
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.