This is a vitally important question, it seems to me. And its very rarely discussed in the media or by politicians.
The US imports about 60% of the oil that is consumed here. Clearly, as long as we have a petroleum-driven economy, we are dependent upon these foreign sources of oil to sustain our economy.
So just how reliable are those sources? Have a look:
|Crude Oil Imports (Top 15 Countries)
(Thousand Barrels per Day)
|Country||Mar-08||Feb-08||YTD 2008||Mar-07||YTD 2007|
That’s not very comforting, is it?
Saudi Arabia is, of course, the seat of Wahhabi Islam and a tyrannical, despotic nation. Even if we could set aside the inconvenient fact that we are wildy enriching such a nation through our consumption of its oil, it is obviously dangerous to be at the mercy of such an unreliable trading partner. The days when the Saudis would willingly dance to our tune are over. They’re increasingly turning their production to China, and are increasingly unhappy with the fact that the dollars we exchange for their oil are being inflated into worthlessness by our runaway spending, debt and lack of fiscal discipline.
Mexican production is dropping steadily and many experts expect its production will be insignificant by 2012.
NIgeria is unstable, and being courted heavily by China.
Venezuela? Its almost inconceivable that we’d be relying to this degree on Venezuela as a source of our energy lifeblood. Hugo Chavez is leading the charge to have OPEC begin to price oil in euros, rather than dollars. He is increasing his country’s exports to China and will gleefully cease all imports to the USA as soon as that is possible.
Finally, Iraq. Nothing really needs to said about that sad fact. That is by far the most expensive oil we import.
As Gil Scott Heron put it in a song 27 years ago: “What has happened is that in the last 20 years, America has changed from a producer to a consumer. And all consumers know that when the producer names the tune…the consumer has got to dance. That’s the way it is. We used to be a producer – and a very inflexible one at that – and now we are consumers and, finding it difficult to understand. Natural resources and minerals will change your world. The Arabs used to be in the 3rd World. Now they have bought the 2nd World and put a firm down payment on the 1st one. Controlling your resources, we’ll control your world.”
It almost goes without saying that we must free ourselves from this dependency. We should not be at the mercy of other nations in this way. Our political independence may someday depend on our economic independence.
And if that is true of our country, it is urgently true of us as individuals as well.
Grace and Peace.