1. Anonymous says:

    Of all the bad consequences, is Iranian control of part of Iraq the worst that could happen?
    Another way of looking at this is to accept that not only have we lost Iraq, we have made Iran a much stronger local power. Supppose we can’t stop Iran from becoming stronger, and possibly controlling Iraq. Is that so much worse than what we have now?
    Isn’t the reality-based approach to negotiate with Iran and use some carrots and sticks to influence their behavior?
    We are hampered by the increasing influence of the Chinese (one of the major reasons for the Iraq war, btw), but still we have more to offer, and can threaten more than China.

  2. Anonymous says:


    No, that isn’t the worst–that’s what this muckety muck is saying.

    Say Iraq basically becomes a rump state of Iran. That makes Iran the new swing producer of petroleum in the world, with at least as much clout as Saudi Arabia. (And add in Chavez, and those two countries really sit in the drivers seat.) That will also likely mean the collapse of Lebanon, and dramatically greater influence for the Shiites in Bahrain (which is majority Shiite, and which is where a big chunk of our Navy is parked). Hell, Iranian control of Iraq might even spark the Shiites in eastern Saudi Arabia to make trouble, which again is where the oil is. At the same time, Iran would be in the position to negotiate with Russia to build a pipeline from Central Asia through Iran, would would mean Iran, and not Turkey, gets to sit on that oil.

    In other words, just from the perspective of oil, Iran would thoroughly dominate the market, in the way Saudi Arabia has done for half a century.

    So what would it mean that one of our biggest enemies–one we sponsored a coup in a half-century ago, to ensure its people didn’t get to benefit from its oil–got to be the dominant producer in the world?

    Well, for one, you could kiss the dollar reserve currency goodbye. Buh bye!! Iran has already talked about setting up its own oil market, and with even just the production of sourthern Iraq, it’d have the clout to make it successful. You can be sure that market would not trade in dollars, and as a result, all the nations in teh world that hold dollars (which is, basically, all the nations in the world) as their reserve currency would HAVE to ditch them in favor of whatever Iran decides. Which would make the dollar effectively worth maybe half of what it is now (I’m not an economist, so I’m just guessing, but there would be a huge glut of dollars, and people would be a lot less interested in propping us up as they have been). So all of a sudden, America’s economic strength, which has really relied on the dollar exchange since at least the 1980s to ensure its hegemony, would be based solely on the goods and services it has to export.

    Very quickly, you’re going to discover that if the US is no longer the strongest country in the world, then the system we’ve put into place to ensure that our goods and services command a high price–mostly intellectual property rights–are going to mean a lot less. There is nothing that prevents India’s many smart scientists from replicating every drug big pharma makes except our strength in the international market. There is nothing that makes China pretend to crack down on DVD pirates except our strength in the international market. Without intellectual property law enforcement, we will be at the mercy of our ability to make–say–a better automobile.

    The US depends on the poor of this world for a lot of necessities (like coffee! already the second most valuable commodity in the world, even though the farmers make squat off of it). When we have to pay a fair price for these things, you can be sure a lot of Americans will be doing without.

    We may well be stuck in the position of trying to use our one greatest advantage–our military–to prevent this from happening. But there’s one gigantic problem with that? Our military runs on oil. Germany and Japan lost WWII because it ran out of oil. Without oil, we’ll be in a similar position.

    Anyway, you asked for the worst case scenario. I’m not saying this all will happen. But that’s one logical end point of the chess game we’re currently losing.

  3. Anonymous says:


    Excellent point–no one does talk about the water. Cradle of civilization and still one of the best sources of water in the Middle East, are the Tigris and Euphrates.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I first heard that analogy during the Cold War, but then, as the dismayed State Dep’t official said it, the Russians were playing chess and the Americans were bowling. More apt than ever today.

    And how smart were those Shi’ites, deciding to live where the oil is? Or maybe they were pushed there, because it was less desirable land, kind of like the Oklahoma Indians, and now everyone else wants it.

    I also doubt that the Saudis have the capacity, to say nothing of the will, to crash the price of oil through overproduction. And what of the Russians, who also depend on oil financially? Can’t imagine they’d like that.

    The only rational explanation for Cheney’s pushing the Iraq War (since he lacks the neocons’ motivations), and the one that accords with his paranoia and control freakism, is that he wanted the US to sit astride the oil belt to checkmate China. But of course he didn’t understand anything about Iraq or Islam or the limitations of military power, and the rest, as they say, is history.

    This $40 oil craziness is of a piece with the idea that Iraqi oil would flood the market after we took over and crush OPEC. Same (probably even less) probability of success.

    Until the US and its policymakers understand, really understand, that other people and other nations were not put here to serve American interests, but have their own interests which they care about at least as much (and often more) than we care about our interests, and they are legitmately entitled to do that, so even if we don’t agree, we have to at least take them into account, we will just continue to commit blunder after blunder. Is this the consequence of dumbing down education? Excessive consumerism? American isolation from the world? Congenital national stupidity? If any of these, we’d better stop opposing immigration soon.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I also doubt that the Saudis have the capacity, to say nothing of the will, to crash the price of oil through overproduction. And what of the Russians, who also depend on oil financially? Can’t imagine they’d like that.

    Yeah, exactly. Saudis try it and they make their wells unusable in the medium term. And the Russians have their new polonium loaded cigarettes to teach people not to fuck with their oil prices. You think Putin would sit by and watch the US reclaim control of the most important geography in the world?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the answer, EW.
    By the way, speaking of oil, in the early days of President Custer’s war, there was talk of building a water pipeline from Iraq down to Israel and perhaps Saudi Arabia.

  7. Anonymous says:

    glad to see you agreeing with my paranoid analysis of the Iraq war (being about China).
    I inferred that some time ago, but not many people agree.

  8. Anonymous says:

    i asked steve (in the comments) how long the $40/barrel oil was supposed to last. no answer.

    hard for me to see how it could be sustained for very long – w/o a decrease in demand (global recession?).

  9. Anonymous says:

    About Iran, doesn’t the US still have tremendously attractive carrots for Iran—technology and education, for example, and perhaps financial?

  10. Anonymous says:


    I don’t know what carrots Iran would accept. The mullahs don’t want their youth educated by a bunch of heathens (even if our education system is itself being taken over by the fundies). Money would help, investment even. But there’s a huge hurdle to get over–the memory of US investment through the Shah. Why let America invest when China doesn’t come with the baggage.

    Anyway, I think we’re all in agreement. It’s largely about China.

  11. Anonymous says:

    to me the biggest irony of Iraq is that its our â€enemies†(Syria and Iran) that we share a common interest with, while our â€friends†(Saudi Arabia, Israel) are better off working against our interests.

    What happens if the US cuts and runs in Iraq? It doesn’t descend into chaos — Iran and Syria co-operate to restore stability to Iraq. Both regimes can also be expected to do whatever is necessary to eliminate any al Qaeda presence in Iraq once the US is out.

    …and since the main reason al Qaeda is in Iraq is the US presence, it won’t take much to convince them to leave. Some of them will go to Afghanistan, but most of them will decide to go home….and therein lies the problem for Saudi Arabia.

    A thousand or two radical islamic fundamentalists who happen to be fully trained and experienced in terrorism and guerilla warfare would create a VERY serious problem for the current Saudi regime, which al Qaeda considers apostate and corrupt. So suddenly it becomes a good idea for the House of Saud for al Qaeda to remain in Iraq, and continue to cause havoc….

    Then there are the Israelis — nothing suits Israel’s interests more than inter-Arab/Muslim conflicts, because as long as their neighbors are fighting each other, they aren’t worrying about Israel. And the last thing that Israel wants is the two most antagonistic regimes in the region both becoming more powerful as a result of their efforts to â€pacify†of Iraq.

    In other words, we are already confronted with a significant realignment of interests in the region — one that places the US in a no-win situation.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Marky–Long ago I observed that there were MULTIPLE reasons why BushCo went into Iraq–different ones for different people. That’s why when Wolfowitz said that WMD was the only thing they could agree on he was serious and revealing. Bush had Oedipal and messianic reasons, the neocons wanted to make the ME safe for Greater Israel etc but for Cheney it was always about oil and domination because he is a paranoid control freak who thinks everything has to be nailed down and controlled. He can’t just let things evolve. He seems to have no faith in the US’s ability to adapt and be flexible–what people used to call good old American know-how. He wanted to nail down US superiority not only in the world but space as well. He and Rummy are really crazy as loons, but they sounded sage and had such stellar reputations that the wise old men genuflected up until very recently, when Wilkerson and Woodward started saying out loud that they had somehow gone starkers in their time in the private sector.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Leave it to some liberals to find a promising part of the ISG report. This article almost sounds optimistic of finding a way to peace as well as a reasonable balance of power in the region in a way somewhat aligned with what the ISG let appear in its report as some middle ground comment. I think there is a lot of adjustment occurring now in the energy sector, given the reversal in control of the US congress. The profit-taking could be about to taper for US based oilCos, that is, if there is sufficient stability in the middle east to permit barrel price to subside.

  14. Anonymous says:

    This is a fascinating thread. I read the Clemons posts, and found the one where he reported what the ME security guy said. Here is my summary of it:

    1. Our Secretary of State is disorganized, weak and has no plan to guide America’s Middle East actions.
    2. America has many long time allies in the Middle East who want to help, but the administration has not communicated with them, either to solicit views, to share a plan or to organize actions against Iran or the fundamentalists who threaten them as well as us.
    3. America’s failure in and withdrawal from the Middle East will cause either the collapse of the governments of many of our allies, or their reorientation towards al Qaeda and Iran if they are to survive.
    4. Iran’s ability to influence events in the Middle East would be sharply reduced if the price of oil could be reduced to below $40/barrel. This is within the power of major oil suppliers if they could be induced to work together within the framework of an overall plan.
    5. America could move effectively if it were to get re-engaged, set an organized course, and build allies to work towards a mutual goal. Instead the Bush administration (personified in the ME by the hapless Secretary of State) shows no fundamental understanding of ME realities and an absence of either common sense or strategic vision. This is shown by the disconnected and reactive approaches taken to the entire Middle East adventure in which there are three civil wars currently brewing, one in Iraq, one in Lebanon, and one between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

    I’ll agree that $40 /barrel is very unlikely. At the moment it appears that worldwide demand outstrips the amount which can be supplied, indicating that increases in supply are highly unlikely.

    But what I found more interesting was the haplessness with which this ME individual described Condi Rice. â€Disorganized, weak and has no plan.†I suspect a lot of this is from her being undercut by Cheney and not supported by Bush, but with the resignation of John Bolton she has also lost the third of her top three deputies. Those jobs are all vacant right now. I haven’t heard of any special effort to replace any of those people soon.

    The guy was describing Condi, but that is probably because she is the face of the administration seen mostly by ME nations. Essentially, we have lost in Iraq, probably in Afghanistan, and it reflects throughout the ME. The real damage is yet to hit, as nations who were supporting us or even just neutral start catering to Iraq and/or al Qaeda.

    And what are the Bush people doing about it? Nothing. I’ll bet that Cheney has blocked replacements for the other two Deputies at State in an effort to get Bolton approved by the Senate so there would at least be someone to assist Condi. Cheney and the WH people play domestic American politics with foreign policy and security problems.

    It’s bad now in the ME. It’s going to get worse because the White House is the roadblock to any accomplishments there.


    The clear victory by the Democrats in last month’s election amounts to a resounding vote of no confidence in the Bush administration. Ask Sen. Lincoln Chaffee who had approval ratings of about 65% at the same time he lost his election to a Democrat. People weren’t voting on just dislike for the way the Iraq War is going. The majority of voters nationwide have lost confidence in the Republican Party.

    If America had a Parliamentary government, the government would have fallen November 8th, and it would have been replaced by one that was a broad-based coalition. As it is, with our fixed-term Presidential system all we have gotten is a new Secretary of Defense. Better than nothing, I guess, but we also need a new Secretary of State. It’s a damned shame there is no way to force the White House into bankruptcy and place it under the control of a bankruptcy administrator. Congressional oversight will help, perhaps the Media can be convinced to stop being so damned timid about addressing the failures of the Presidency.

    Certainly if I could I would appoint a roving ambassador to the ME, with command authority over all diplomacy in that area. He would be co-located with the Centcom Commander (who already has the same kind of unified control of military forces in the ME), and the two directed to coordinate their activities. They would have to have mostly a free hand from the President and the two Secretaries. With Bush in office, it will not happen. It certainly runs counter to Cheney’s idea of a more powerful Presidency.

    In the absence of some strategic vision, further changes in personnel and coordination of activities between the U.S. and our ME allies, the next two to three years looks pretty damned bleak to me.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I would prefer the US become friendly with the limited democracy that is Iran and become less friendly with the tyrannical monarchy of Saudi Arabia. Actually, there is no reason why both countries cannot be treated with fairness and goodwill by the US.

    Hezbollah may receive funding and weapons from Iran, but its source of power comes from representing the largest political group in Lebanon, Arab Shiites. Not acknowledging the power of demographics has always been a shortcoming of US foreign policy, which too often seeks to impose its own will rather try and work with the popular self determination of other countries. When that popular will is eventually expressed, despite US policy, we become the opposition rather than a friend and ally.

  16. Anonymous says:


    I think Condi’s failures also stem from her being in an untenable position. She is simultaneously advocating the hardline of the Neocons (no negotiations with Syria and Iran) yet advocating negotiations. Ain’t gonna happen. If your plan is negotiations, you’re going to have to talk to all the players.

    Btw, not sure if you’ve read Dana Priest’s The Mission, but it describes how Zinni, as CentCom Commander really played that role. I suppose Baker was auditioning to do just that, but Bush declined to give him the part.

  17. Anonymous says:

    The expression of multiple reasons to invade Iraq had several purposes: first, to get more people on the bandwagon; second, in anticipation of the contingency of needing a moving target, should the war fail; third, as a deliberate use of misinformation tactics—the true, overriding reason for the war was hidden in plain sight among several competing ones.
    This information has regularly used disinformation tactics, IMO: rather than exhibiting confusion, I think the many, many times that the WH issues two contradictary statements on the same day, from different sources, is a method of blocking deeper inquiry. People get caught up in trying to figure out the internal politics, when in fact, the WH doesn’t give a flying fuck what content is in its public statements—they serve strategic purposes rather than informative.

    Hence, I think there was an overrding reason for the war which resides in Cheney’s diseased brain. Bush signed on for his own purposes, and was assumed to be simple-minded and malleable. Alas, only one of those holds.
    After Bush signed on, no other reason for supporting the war mattered one bit. Not WMDS, not democracy, not liberating people from a tyrant—those were a complete sham from the start.

  18. Anonymous says:

    As best I can tell, Soviet â€specialist†Rice has never even tried to understand the Middle East and Islam and within her specialty area she had been on Regean naysayer as I recall – in favor of prolonging the cold war and pissy about detente.

    p.lukasiak is right that realignment is in the cards already and we need to be realistic about what is driving that realignment. With respect to Lebanon – the US, whether in Iraq or not, already tacitly agreed to put that govt at risk by support of the Israeli bombings. The US then further incensed the area by rushing bombs to Israel so they could keep up the bombing.

    The failure of the US gov to address the Palestinian situation and the legitimate gov of Lebanon when it was under attack absolutely do more to threaten that country than our redeployments vis a vis Iraq would do.

    While Iran and Syria have some similarities of interest, they also have some strong dissimilarities. Syria is primarily Sunni, although its leaders belong to a particularized Shia sect, and it has some substantial differences in alignment of interest with Iran. If Syria is viewed as rushing to assist in a Shia cleansing of Sunnis, its leadership are almost asking to be overthrown and they know that. They would have an interest, together with the Saudis and Jordanian, in stabilizing the Sunni areas and would have a stronger interest than the Saudis in addressing al-Qaeda, (which would like to see the Syrian leaders toppled too.)

    Iran had gone through a substantial moderation (for the area) with its limited democracy and was pretty much due for more moderation. The primary force preventing that moderation and causing a hardline tilt in that country was the US invasion. Withdrawal of the US forces places some pressure on the hardline leadership in Iran to moderate.

    For all the supplying of arms by Syria and Iran, Iran in particular could have been making much worse available to Hezbollah and has shown some restraint.

    Saudi Arabia (and I agree with powerpuff above) has a history of supporting radical clerics and their followers to keep them off the royal families back. Despite the huge national wealth which is all directed to the royal family, there is no economy to speak of in SA. They carry out beheadings and vicious punishments against normal citizens as par for the course, while the royal family itself engages in all kinds of activities that would result in death of normal citizens.

    The US has encouraged and supported that for a long long time and that support and encouragement, even as the storm has been brewing, has done far more to put that country at risk, again, than our withdrawal from Iraq has or will do. Continued US presence will not diminish the unrest in Saudi Arabia and to the contrary, it will long term result in more problems.

    The occupation of a Muslim country by foreign infidel forces is a call to j*had within even relatively moderate Islam -not just rabid extremists. If you look at the recent polling done in Iraq, where now sentiment has shifted to were over 70% of the population supports the insurgent attacks against the US (while over 90% also disapprove of al-Qaeda – so it is not a â€terrorist†issue), the polling tracks the change, over time from the population not supporting insurgent attacks on American forces to now supporting those attacks as tied to the increased perception in Iraq that US forces are not leaving.

    The more people there believe we are not going, the more they favor attacks on us. This should be unsurprising, given any cursory review of not only Islam but also of the attitudes of any occupied country. We are occupiers, trying to be a police force. Every story that comes out of Iraq, true or not, of US forces involved in killings of civilians, disrespecting women, disrespecting the Koran, disrespecting religious leaders, levelling cities like Fallujah, etc. – every story makes the countries that support the US in the area more unstable, bc they serve as fuel for the fire of jihad.

    It is true that having a bunch of mujahdeen around who no longer have an infidel force to go after does mean that, for example, the Saudis, will have to worry about what to do when they come home. The Saudis, though, need to be worrying about what to do with their young and unemployed/underemployed population anyway. They have raised them in extreme violence (the Sauds behead more people than al-Qaeda) and with a corrupt, hedonistic family rule. WHether we stay in Iraq or not – at some point the piper is going to be there waiting to be paid.

  19. Anonymous says:

    In the short term the oil market could probably be gamed to $40 – remember that while the price does ultimately reflect supply and demand, what it directly reflects is the sum total of market players’ bets about the future market.

    In the long term, the one thing that would push oil prices down is a serious energy alternative/conservation effort. If the market sees that the push is for real, the price will go down because the incentives will have changed.

    Today the incentive is for oil producers to hold back, because the oil they leave in the ground only gets more valuable. But if there’s a real prospect of reduced future oil demand, due to alternatives, the producers’ incentive is to pump the stuff while they can, for whatever price they can get.

    Raising the prospect of energy independence – or even significantly reduced dependence – is the one thing the US could do that would really scare the Iranians.

    – Rick

  20. Anonymous says:

    â€Withdrawal of the US forces places some pressure on the hardline leadership in Iran to moderate.â€
    YES, YES, YES.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Man!! It’s good to have you back. This has been a fear of mine from the beginning of the Iraq war. The cia reports that Bush ignored pretty much laid the ground for this fiasco. The incompetency is tragic. But there is a solution, if only the oil barons of this country allow the American people to do what we do best. It has never been a matter of will, it has always been a matter of profit margin for the few. The social context of the right wing has for so long been a distraction.

    In my mind, 2004 would have been an opportunity to turn this tide before it turned us. Kerry had the solution but at the time Bush controlled the message. Today the consequences of his inept policies are more visible.

    The disease has progressed to the point where even his drinking buddies can’t stand him.

    That’s the way they all fall.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Sobering, disturbing thread.

    Global warming will play into the dreadful dynamics put in play by the neocons and Bush. Most of the water for the Near East originates in Turkey, or so I’m told. Russia and China have appalling environmental hazards (which have health implications for their populations), and Tehran is said to have a population of 15 million living in a city with appalling air pollution (which implies serious risks of lung diseases). Ironically, even if they end up with the oil, from a molecular/biological perspective, it will will not be good for their health.

    The environmental ramifications of Gulf War I are seldom discussed, and have been in effect for over 15 years, accelerating acidic seas. The environmental ramifications of Gulf War II/Iraq are even more grim — accelerating the molecular sub-systems that lead to altered soils chemistry, water shortages, crop failures, and resource scarcity.

    Bu$hCo lacks the moral authority to be persuasive on the international stage, and operates in terms of news cycles; the Mideast seems to think in terms of 30-year cycles. Unfortunately, they are both up against timelines as short as the cycle of a bee hive, or as long as the lifespan of a whale. One NOAA researcher of my acquaintance tells me that it’s his view we have about 10 years to put a stop on global warming. He’s researched the oceans for almost 30 years now, and is increasingly alarmed (to the point of despair). He figures that 30% of the species at the bottom of the food chain will be extinct within the next 25 years without radical shifts in our entire way of life: the way we live, eat, and travel.

    If nothing else, GWB has become Exhibit #1 in Why Leadership Matters. The old 2000 meme that ’it doesn’t matter who’s elected’ is no longer operative in the US. And future leadership will be premised on enough familiarity with basic science to understand why — and how — biofuels and better land use policies need to be revamped promptly to reshape American expectations of ’the good life’.

    There are emerging efforts to reshape America’s dependence on oil, but every single effort that I’ve observed comes from the ’progressive wing’ of the Democratic Party in the US, or else the Greens in Europe. Changes are coming at the local (and state) levels, specifically because the US federal government has been in the throes of Bush/Cheney and the Enron-and-oil nimwits.

    When you add to Bush/Cheney the absolutely puerile questions asked by Alito and Roberts during current SCOTUS hearings on whether states have ’standing’ to sue the federal government for failing to address carbon dioxide, you begin to grasp that the legal system may also be unable to address our most critical issues.

    But the only way to get a handle on energy dependence is to take a multi-faceted approach: land use (urban planning), + market incentives (’carbon costs/carbon credits) + transportation alternatives (workable bike lanes, better street design) + a huge emphasis on local agriculture. Anyone who can crack one or more of those elements will have market opportunities, although much depends on tax structures and also on scientific research.

    Traditionally, the US has been faster and more adept at bringing innovative solutions to market. So all of the international political and diplomatic problems will impact the ability of investors and businesses in the US to come up with urgently needed solutions. Meanwhile, if the US fails in the Mideast, our destiny will be greatly shaped men (not women!) whose thought process is largely structured by rote learning of ancient texts. Rote learning of any content is generally an impediment to innovation, particularly if the society places a lot of constraints on Internet usage, bookshops and libraries, and other social and intellectual experiences.

    A petroleum-based economy is environmental suicide. The relevant question no longer, ’Can we make the investments in alternatives?’ The relevant questions are: â€How fast can we? How strategically can we? How efficiently can we?†From an environmental health/epidemiology perspective, we don’t have any realistic choice but to move rapidly toward alternatives.

  23. Anonymous says:

    al-Fubar and readerOf

    Yeah, you guys are heading where I’m heading. We need to bring the demand side down to actually bring prices down. And it’s now an imperative, not a luxury, to do so.

    I wonder if Al Gore and Russ Feingold could put some leadership behind a â€citizens initiative†to end the war, which had as much to do with conservation as it had to do with DC.

  24. Anonymous says:

    The part that feels hopeful to me is this: If the american people can develop the technology to end our dependence on petroleum, we can change this. We can also flip our economy in somewhat the same fashion as the internet revolutionized the country in the 90’s. We are the ones to lead on this issue if we do not miss our moment. It’s our chance to be â€number one†again. It’s not only imperative to save us, but it’s also an opportunity to bring us back from the pillaging of the right wing over the last few years. It will require enduring the heat from the huge oil lobby. It will mean be willing to suffer the consequences for the greater good of the nation. My gut is that many are ready to do this, with only a few lagging behind hoping that Bush was right.

    It’s time for the scientists, the idea people, the american ingenuity that makes us great, to come forward. If we â€hit this†now, we have a chance to save ourselves from the moral decline. Principles, morality, and solutions can dominate our landscape again. It’s time. And I think this backlash is exactly what the country needed to get serious.

    I have a ford expedition, 1998, sitting in my garage. I haven’t driven it since last year. I put it away and got out the fiero 1986, and have been driving it to work. I am willing to make changes. Hard changes. What changes are you willing to make?

  25. Anonymous says:

    1. Hard to tell conclusively because they’re so secretive, but a lot of people think the Saudis have peaked. They’re infield drilling on their supergiants just to maintain their production rates on light sweet. Any additional production is for sure going to be heavy sour. (Oilco people disagree, FWIW)

    2. If you wanted to scare Iran with alternate energy now you should have started ten years ago. An optimistic scenario is that you could convert 20%-25% of oil use in the U.S. by 2020.

    3. Natural gas is going to get the U.S. first, long before oil does.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Action (not words, but action) on energy independence would get oil producers’ attention now, even if the effects on consumption take a couple of decades to appear – because action on energy independence reduces the potential future value of oil in the ground.

  27. Anonymous says:

    “Until the US and its policymakers understand, really understand, that other people and other nations were not put here to serve American interests, but have their own interests which they care about at least as much (and often more) than we care about our interests, and they are legitmately entitled to do that, so even if we don’t agree, we have to at least take them into account, we will just continue to commit blunder after blunder.’’

    Amen sister. (Tho’ “blunder’’ is the right word to use with them, “crime’’ is the most appropriate for us, unless you want to invoke Tallyrand’s maxim: “it was worse than a crime, it was a mistake!’’.)