Those Who Control Oil & Water Will Control The World

Dandelion Salad

By John Gray
03/30/08 “The Observer

New superpowers are competing for diminishing resources as Britain becomes a bit-player. The outcome could be deadly

History may not repeat itself, but, as Mark Twain observed, it can sometimes rhyme. The crises and conflicts of the past recur, recognisably similar even when altered by new conditions. At present, a race for the world’s resources is underway that resembles the Great Game that was played in the decades leading up to the First World War. Now, as then, the most coveted prize is oil and the risk is that as the contest heats up it will not always be peaceful. But this is no simple rerun of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Today, there are powerful new players and it is not only oil that is at stake.

It was Rudyard Kipling who brought the idea of the Great Game into the public mind in Kim, his cloak-and-dagger novel of espionage and imperial geopolitics in the time of the Raj. Then, the main players were Britain and Russia and the object of the game was control of central Asia’s oil. Now, Britain hardly matters and India and China, which were subjugated countries during the last round of the game, have emerged as key players. The struggle is no longer focused mainly on central Asian oil. It stretches from the Persian Gulf to Africa, Latin America, even the polar caps, and it is also a struggle for water and depleting supplies of vital minerals. Above all, global warming is increasing the scarcity of natural resources. The Great Game that is afoot today is more intractable and more dangerous than the last.

The biggest new player in the game is China and it is there that the emerging pattern is clearest. China’s rulers have staked everything on economic growth. Without improving living standards, there would be large-scale unrest, which could pose a threat to their power. Moreover, China is in the middle of the largest and fastest move from the countryside to the city in history, a process that cannot be stopped.

There is no alternative to continuing growth, but it comes with deadly side-effects. Overused in industry and agriculture, and under threat from the retreat of the Himalayan glaciers, water is becoming a non-renewable resource. Two-thirds of China’s cities face shortages, while deserts are eating up arable land. Breakneck industrialisation is worsening this environmental breakdown, as many more power plants are being built and run on high-polluting coal that accelerates global warming. There is a vicious circle at work here and not only in China. Because ongoing growth requires massive inputs of energy and minerals, Chinese companies are scouring the world for supplies. The result is unstoppable rising demand for resources that are unalterably finite.

Although oil reserves may not have peaked in any literal sense, the days when conventional oil was cheap have gone forever. Countries are reacting by trying to secure the remaining reserves, not least those that are being opened up by climate change. Canada is building bases to counter Russian claims on the melting Arctic icecap, parts of which are also claimed by Norway, Denmark and the US. Britain is staking out claims on areas around the South Pole.

The scramble for energy is shaping many of the conflicts we can expect in the present century. The danger is not just another oil shock that impacts on industrial production, but a threat of famine. Without a drip feed of petroleum to highly mechanised farms, many of the food shelves in the supermarkets would be empty. Far from the world weaning itself off oil, it is more addicted to the stuff than ever. It is hardly surprising that powerful states are gearing up to seize their share.

This new round of the Great Game did not start yesterday. It began with the last big conflict of the 20th century, which was an oil war and nothing else. No one pretended the first Gulf War was fought to combat terrorism or spread democracy. As George Bush Snr and John Major admitted at the time, it was aimed at securing global oil supplies, pure and simple. Despite the denials of a less honest generation of politicians, there can be no doubt that controlling the country’s oil was one of the objectives of the later invasion of Iraq.

Oil remains at the heart of the game and, if anything, it is even more important than before. With their complex logistics and heavy reliance on air power, high-tech armies are extremely energy-intensive. According to a Pentagon report, the amount of petroleum needed for each soldier each day increased four times between the Second World War and the Gulf War and quadrupled again when the US invaded Iraq. Recent estimates suggest the amount used per soldier has jumped again in the five years since the invasion.

Whereas Western countries dominated the last round of the Great Game, this time they rely on increasingly self-assertive producer countries. Mr Putin’s well-honed contempt for world opinion might grate on European ears, but Europe is heavily dependent on his energy. Hugo Chávez might be an object of hate for George W Bush, but Venezuela still supplies around 10 per cent of America’s imported oil. President Ahmadinejad is seen by some as the devil incarnate, but with oil at more than a $100 a barrel, any Western attempt to topple him would be horrendously risky.

While Western power declines, the rising powers are at odds with each other. China and India are rivals for oil and natural gas in central Asia. Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia have clashed over underwater oil reserves in the South China Sea. Saudi Arabia and Iran are rivals in the Gulf, while Iran and Turkey are eyeing Iraq. Greater international co-operation seems the obvious solution, but the reality is that as the resources crunch bites more deeply, the world is becoming steadily more fragmented and divided.

We are a long way from the fantasy world of only a decade ago, when fashionable gurus were talking sagely of the knowledge economy. Then, we were told material resources did not matter any more – it was ideas that drove economic development. The business cycle had been left behind and an era of endless growth had arrived. Actually, the knowledge economy was an illusion created by cheap oil and cheap money and everlasting booms always end in tears. This is not the end of the world or of global capitalism, just history as usual.

What is different this time is climate change. Rising sea levels reduce food and fresh-water supplies, which may trigger large-scale movements of refugees from Africa and Asia into Europe. Global warming threatens energy supplies. As the fossil fuels of the past become more expensive, others, such as tar sands, are becoming more economically viable, but these alternative fuels are also dirtier than conventional oil.

In this round of the Great Game, energy shortage and global warming are reinforcing each another. The result can only be a growing risk of conflict. There were around 1.65 billion people in the world when the last round was played out. At the start of the 21st century, there are four times as many, struggling to secure their future in a world being changed out of recognition by climate change. It would be wise to plan for some more of history’s rhymes.

John Gray is author of Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia, published by Allen Lane in paperback on 24 April.

6 thoughts on “Those Who Control Oil & Water Will Control The World

  1. Pingback: Happy International Water Day! | Dandelion Salad

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  3. Ha! Hadn’t seen that one yet, I guess i gotta check DS more often 😉

    Thing is, im so used to being nearly alone on this one i didnt expect anything.

    Im very glad to see it! This suppression has gone on way too long.

    Now lemme tell some other things i’ve found: Making cars run on all-HHO is difficult, but apparently possible. There’s a guy in the Fillipines, named Daniel Dingle, who has modified about 100 cars so far. And others around the world who are doing it.

    But it seems that to get full efficiency, a new engine design will be needed, one that runs on IMPLOSION instead of explosion. HHO has a very unique property where when in a “pure” mix of 66.667% Hydrogen, it implodes, giving off 4 times the energy (via vaccuum creation) that it would by exploding as in a car engine.

    But using HHO as a Mileage Booster for existing gasoline or Diesel, thats relitivly easy. And it makes the car run smoother, with more power, and cleaner exhaust.

    HHO has some other weird properties… For one, the heat it burns at is dependant on the surface it touches. It can turn steel ball bearings into slag in seconds, or vaporise Tungston (over 6000 deg. C)…. But in air, whithout contact to any material, it burns at about 100 C. If Universities were allowed to study it, there could be advances very quickly.

    But the key, and the secret, is not trying to patent or market it. When you try, then they come down on you. Recently there have been fewer deaths of inventors: But government agents have been coming and confiscating the devices, stating “National Security” reasons. There are many patents that are held secret by the government, apparently HHO-related stuff is one of them.

  4. Oil…. We are slaves to it simply because we “want” to be. Or someone wants us to be…

    There are several new technologies that are being heavily suppressed that would end oil’s dominance as an energy source forever.

    One is HHO : “Brown’s Gas” is what results when water is broken down into its constituant Oxygen and Hydrogen mono-atomic components. It is a powerful fuel that could power internal combustion or Diesel engines in automobiles with only minor modifications. It is being used now by thousands of people around the world as a “booster”: Raising gas mileage by as much as 75% .

    The big lie about Hydrogen is that it takes a tremendous amount of energy to “crack” it from water. For over 20 years, new methods for creating HHO safely, on-demand, at low pressures, using VERY LOW AMOUNTS OF POWER have been known about, scientifically tested, and PROVEN over and over again.

    Yet, the text books refuse to admit it, and even today the old, expensive method of electroylizing using hundreds of Amperes of power, generating huge amounts of heat, is the only one being taught in Universities. Scientific mainstream dogma poo-poo’s HHO whenever it is mentioned… Disinformation and lies about it abound… YET THERE ARE NO SCIENTIFIC TEST STUDIES TO BACK THESE DETRACTERS!

    Thats right, many Scientists and Engineers are dis’ing HHO without any data or studies to back them.

    Why? Because if the truth about HHO made it to the mainstream… There would be hell to pay for those who have suppressed this for so long. And HHO, cheap, utterly clean energy from WATER (even sea water can be used) would completely change the model of our society. We would move from one based on energy scarcity, to that of abundance. There would be no more reason for war, and the world could feed itself using cheap energy. Deserts could be turned into green fields with desalinated water. Poverty could end as a way of live for the Third World.

    Google HHO, Stanley Meyer, Yull Brown, Brown’s Gas. See what the oil and coal corp’s have been working hard to keep from you. Stan Meyer and several others have paid with their lives to bring us cheap HHO energy. But they still won’t let us have it.

    Then join and support the Open Source energy community. By building these devices ourselves, not trying to profit from them, we can beat them. When enough of us have working examples, they cannot suppress it any longer. Through the Open Source movement, all information is shared, step-by-step videos and information for building them are available… They are not overly difficult to make.

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