As a result, consumption in the west is so massive that we have squandered a large part of our own reserves and increasingly need more from unreliable countries such as Russia, Nigeria and Venezuela and the dangerously unstable region of the middle east. The middle east contains about 60% of the worlds remaining conventional oil and it’s supplies are absolutely vital for the continuation of our civilization and for life itself.
For that reason, the west has tried to stabilize the middle east by helping friendly governments, however dictatorial they have been, and in some cases sought regime change if it was thought to be needed.
In the case of Iraq, disposing of Saddam Hussain was fairly easy but it has not led to stability. The sunni’s and shi’ites are killing each other and only the presence of U.S. Troops is preventing for now, a full scale civil war that could spread to the entire region. It now looks as if the U.S. will soon reduce troop numbers and will come under pressure to pull out all together.
That alone would be bad enough but there are many other problems looming. Extreme Islamists are working hard to bring about an Islamic state encompassing the entire middle east and beyond. One way to bring this about would be to gain control of a nation just outside the middle east, Pakistan. President Musharraf’s support of the war on terror has helped al-Qaeda and other extreme groups to become stronger. If an islamic government eventually takes power, as seems likely, Pakistan’s atomic weapons will make it impossible for the U.S. to police the region and keep the oil flowing. In addition, terrorists now see the destruction of oil facilities as the most effective way of damaging the hated west.
We really should be taking urgent measures to cut our consumption of oil and gas so that we can survive when the flow from the middle east stops.