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House of Bush, House of Saud, House of Cards?
July 7, 2004 10:52 AM   Subscribe

House of Bush, House of Saud, House of Cards? A superb, reasoned discussion of "How Does the Saudi Relationship With the Bush Family Affect U.S. Foreign Policy?" - regardless of which side you might agree with, it's one of the very few calm, rational media conversations on this topic.
posted by twsf (23 comments total)

 
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posted by quonsar at 11:02 AM on July 7, 2004


Ah, thanks - should have cited that earlier thread, which began with links to the more contentious commentaries on both sides of the topic...
posted by twsf at 11:12 AM on July 7, 2004


If by "cited," you mean "added this to the end of," yes.
posted by soyjoy at 11:14 AM on July 7, 2004


Couldn't you have just posted it as a comment in the earlier thread?
posted by ChasFile at 11:14 AM on July 7, 2004


Damn. You guys is harsh.
posted by xmutex at 11:15 AM on July 7, 2004


Anyway, I must say that the article linked here downplays too much the oil factor. For instance, there is this article (Dick Cheney, Peak Oil and the Final Count Down, pdf link) written by the Swedish scientist Kjell Aleklett, president of ASPO (Association for the Study of Peak Oil), it is based on a speech Cheney gave back in 1999 at the London Institute of Petroleum Autumn lunch when he was Chairman of Halliburton. As the transcript of the original speech is no longer available on the London Institute of Petroleum website I am adding this self link (pdf file) as well.

And a quote from speech:

For the world as a whole, oil companies are expected to keep finding and developing enough oil to offset our seventy one million plus barrel a day of oil depletion, but also to meet new demand. By some estimates there will be an average of two per cent annual growth in global oil demand over the years ahead along with conservatively a three per cent natural decline in production from existing reserves. That means by 2010 we will need on the order of an additional fifty million barrels a day. So where is the oil going to come from? Governments and the national oil companies are obviously in control of about ninety per cent of the assets. Oil remains fundamentally a government business. While many regions of the world offer greet oil opportunities, the Middle East with two thirds of the world's oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies, even though companies are anxious for greeter access there, progress continues to be slow.
posted by samelborp at 11:34 AM on July 7, 2004


samelborp: You know, I was always quick to dismiss the "no blood for oil" arguement as naive. But the more I read about it, the more I begin to grasp the concept of oil as the ultimate strategic commodity, absolutely indispensable to the economic future not just of this country, but the globe. Makes me think there has always been far more to the argument than it seemed on the surface.
posted by kgasmart at 12:40 PM on July 7, 2004


Oil is literally power. Oil is work. Oil is the reason we don't use animal power or human slaves. Oil is industrial production, both fuel and raw material. Oil fires the engines of our economy. Oil gets your fleet into the power vacuum, your fighters off the runway and your bombs on the heads of the other guy. If someone says "it's not about oil", the burden of proof is on them. Of course it's about the goddamn oil.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:47 PM on July 7, 2004


And to be fair, it's not even exclusive to this administration, in fact it is just the continuation of the Carter Doctrine:

An attempt by an outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.

But wait, what where King Ibn Saud and Roosevelt talking about that day aboard an american battleship back in 1945 in the Suez Canal?
posted by samelborp at 12:55 PM on July 7, 2004


And of course all that is simply extending the Monroe Doctrine from vital hemispheric interests to vital world-wide interests.
posted by ChasFile at 1:05 PM on July 7, 2004


Bush's Deep Reasons for War on Iraq: Oil, Petrodollars, and the OPEC Euro Question.
posted by malocchio at 1:11 PM on July 7, 2004


and another:

Strategic Insight: From Petrodollars to Petroeuros: Are the Dollar's Days as an International Reserve Currency Drawing to an End?

"Strategic Insights are published monthly by the Center for Contemporary Conflict (CCC). The CCC is the research arm of the National Security Affairs Department at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Naval Postgraduate School, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government."

As an aside, I find the respective quotes by Putin and Yukos' CFO to be quite interesting in light of the company's current situation.
posted by malocchio at 1:30 PM on July 7, 2004


> If someone says "it's not about oil", the burden of proof is on them. Of
> course it's about the goddamn oil.

Indeed. And every one of you who drives a car or uses things made of plastic is jam up 'n' jelly tight with the House of Saud.
posted by jfuller at 4:06 PM on July 7, 2004


"Dick Cheney in London 1999: Oil is unique in that it is so strategic in nature. We are not talking about soapflakes or leisurewear here. Energy is truly fundamental to the world's economy. The Gulf War was a reflection of that reality.”
posted by roboto at 5:01 PM on July 7, 2004


the more I begin to grasp the concept of oil as the ultimate strategic commodity

Second most strategic. The most strategic is water.

And, alas, Canada has both the most fresh water of any nation, and the third-most oil of any nation.

We're going to be fucked, because while we like to use negotiation, The Powers That Be just like to use fucking war. Either we dance to their tune, or we die.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:03 PM on July 7, 2004


Oh please fishy, that's taking the Canadian paranoia a step too far. It is a sign of the rationality of attacking crazy dangerous Iraq that attacking those very, very normal (albeit paranoid) Canadians is a laughable thought. After 200 odd years of stability, America is done shooting at you on purpose. The war against Iraq may or may not have been right, but there is not such a wide gap between those who think it is right and those who think it is wrong that the question spills out into stable relationships.

And really that is what is going on with the Saudis. It is sort of the Mt. Saint Helens of the diplomatic world- we know that it's really dangerous and that it could take out several counties, but as long as it remains stable we're willing to overlook that. Maybe overlooking it has gone too far and 3,000 lives were lost. Maybe trying to drop a depth charge to let off some pressure would have made the whole thing erupt and killed a lot more people.
posted by loafingcactus at 5:48 PM on July 7, 2004


Ever thought that the Sauds have hired out the US Army? The CEO of the US Army has certainly been paid a very, very healthy amount of money in making his decision.

It's kind of like what is going on between Microsoft, SCO, and IBM/Linux. A lot of people figure Microsoft has effectively hired the CEO of SCO to attack IBM/Linux. Ol' Darl got nearly a million more bucks for hsi 2003 paycheque than his 2002 one... same year he got $50M for the company via Baystar Investments... same year he took on IBM. Huh, go figure.

CEO Darl doesn't much care whether SCO wins or loses. If it wins, the company will be worth a fortune and his pockets will be lined with even more riches. If it loses, his employees and investors take a killing, but he still walks away a really rich man.

CEO of the US Army and his friends are going to be extremely wealthy men by the end of the Iraq war.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:46 PM on July 7, 2004


FFF - Canadians can deal with that threat via a Strangelovian scorched earth counterthreat : a US invasion poisons the well, so to speak.
posted by troutfishing at 7:34 PM on July 7, 2004


The CEO of the US Army has certainly been paid a very, very healthy amount of money in making his decision.
posted by homunculus at 7:48 PM on July 7, 2004


Rachel Bronson's piece is in trouble from the first sentence:

"You'll have to forgive me, but I still don't see how terror has taken a back seat to oil interests....." What is this "terror"?

If Bronson meant "The war on terror" - more properly termed a "war on terrorism" - then her argument blows apart with one word - Iraq. But, there are many more such words to dispel Bronson's BS, like "Pakistan", "North Korea", "Loose nukes", and so on.

Slate. Just ignore it, and it will eventually shrivel up and blow away.
posted by troutfishing at 8:01 PM on July 7, 2004


Couldn't you have just posted it as a comment in the earlier thread?

Not even troutfishing could have posted to this one in time.
posted by y2karl at 8:19 PM on July 7, 2004


The most strategic is water.

Water is not always readily available, most of the time you have to pump it, and transport it where people or industries need it. So again, energy/oil wins.
posted by samelborp at 10:34 PM on July 7, 2004


Speaking of water and oil and the Saudis and Bush, I haven't heard anyone mention Bath yet. James R. Bath is the link tying Dubya to both the Saudi family and the bin Laden family.
posted by nofundy at 5:20 AM on July 8, 2004


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