March 31, 2012

Turning Oil Into Salt

“The world was transformed for the worse in the 1970s, when world oil prices quadrupled. A half-century later, it could change again for the better should oil prices crash,” writes V.D. Hanson below.

Indeed, although we would add that CIVILIZATION was transformed (for the better) in the late 19th century, when refrigeration stripped then precious commodity, salt, of its strategic value.

Up until the late 19th century, salt was a strategic and precious commodity. Its ability to preserve meat/food was a foundation of civilization, since it eliminated dependency on seasonal availability of food and allowed travel over long distances. Countries that had salt mines were extremely important. Wars were fought, and empires were created and destroyed over salt. 

All that changed with the advent of refrigeration. And while salt is still used today, it is easily available and relatively cheap. As James Woolsey, former Director of the CIA (and NSR advisor) has said on numerous occasions: We need to do to oil what refrigeration did to salt at the end of the 19th century, i.e., destroy its monopoly.

New York Post  |  March 31, 2012

The Great American Oil Revolution

By Victor Davis Hanson

Oil revolution.jpg
Fracking creates fissures in rock that allow for the outflow of natural gas.

The world was reinvented in the 1970s by soaring oil prices and massive transfers of national wealth. It could be again if the price of petroleum crashes — a real possibility given the amazing estimates about the new gas and oil reserves on the North American continent. The Canadian tar sands, deepwater exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, horizontal drilling off the eastern and western American coastlines, fracking in once-untapped sites in North Dakota, and new pipelines from Alaska and Canada could double North American gas and oil production within a decade.

Given that North America in general and the United States in particular might soon be completely autonomous in natural-gas production and without much need of imported oil within a decade, life as we have known it for nearly the last half-century would change radically.

Take the Middle East. The United States currently devotes about $50 billion of its military budget to patrolling the Persian Gulf and stationing thousands of troops in the region.

America was the target of a crippling oil embargo following the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Ever since, it has often hedged its support of democratic Israel in fear of oil cutoffs or price hikes from the Middle East. Just as often, the United States finds itself hypocritically calling for democracy while supporting medieval sheikdoms and monarchies in the oil-exporting gulf. Likewise, Western petrodollars seem to find a way into the coffers of terrorists bent on killing Americans and their allies.

But at a time of shrinking defense budgets, an oil-rich America might not need to protect Middle Eastern oil fields and shipping lanes. U.S. foreign policy really could be predicated on the principle of supporting those nations that embrace constitutional government and human rights, without worry that offended dictators, theocrats, and kings would turn off the spigots.

Curbing the voracious American appetite for imported oil could also help... more here


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