[R-G] United States, China Clash over Peak Oil May Endanger World Peace

Macdonald Stainsby mstainsby at resist.ca
Sat Sep 1 15:51:53 MDT 2007

United States, China Clash over Peak Oil May Endanger World Peace
By Ann Weaver Hart
Published Aug 30, 2007

Peak Oil may have put the United States on a collision course with China
as the two nations compete for African oil reserves. "Peak Oil" refers to
the fact that worldwide, per capita petroleum production peaked in 1979.
Owing to population growth, even though more actual barrels of oil per day
are extracted, the amount of oil pumped per person continues to drop.

American companies helped create the situation, but seem unconcerned over
the prospect of facing off with China over petroleum. In the late 1990s,
one of GM's annual reports focused on that company's efforts to open the
Chinese market to American-made cars. The report stated that GM intended
to bring personal transportation to 1 billion Chinese. Investors and oil
companies loved the idea of practically limitless profits, and GM
continues its commitment to personal mobility in heavily populated Asian
nations today.

In the United States,auto makers, encouraged by weakened environmental
standards, produced and marketed gas-guzzlers like turbo-charged pickups,
SUVs, and Humvees, which Americans bought in droves. After the bombing of
the World Trade Centers, Americans were barraged with advertisements for
vehicles with low- and zero-interest loans. These promotions were almost
exclusively for high-consumption vehicles. There were efficient vehicles
being produced. Toyota introduced both the Echo, a four-cylinder wonder
that got 40 mph and the Prius, a gas-electric hybrid during this time, but
the vehicles went nearly un-promoted.

Soon after WTC, the U.S. military deployed to countries where petroleum
production was the major business, coincidentally destabilizing
governments and the oil markets, and causing gasoline prices to first
double, and at times, triple. Transportation is not the only
petroleum-dependent industry in the United States. Prices of agricultural
products are beginning to rise with production costs, and as the demand
for agriculturally produced fuels places upward pressures on the price of

Meanwhile, auto makers are creating a Chinese version of the American
dream, with a car in every driveway, and the Chinese are faced with a
rapidly growing demand for gasoline that has already outstripped domestic

At present, the U.S. military is present in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the
current administration is eyeing Iran. Meanwhile, Chinese companies are
busy in Africa attempting to stake their claims to that region's black
gold. Not to be outdone, the United States Department of Defense is
preparing AFRICOM for operations beginning in October. In a Defense
Department report, officials downplayed the military aspect of the
operation, stressing its economic and diplomatic aims, but the
organization is responsible for security, a primarily military objective,
and is headed by General William E. "Kip" Ward.

Meanwhile, American and Chinese citizens burn as much gasoline as they can
comfortably afford. Hybrid cars are expensive and still consume gasoline.
Petroleum resources are finite. The Chinese want oil, and lots of it. What
remains to be seen is what they or the United States are willing to do to
get it.

Macdonald Stainsby
moderated radical discussion list:
In the contradiction lies the hope.
-Bertholt Brecht.

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