'Fight Smart' Update - 23 May 2004
The Desperate World of James
Ex-CIA Chief Predicted 'Peak' Oil Crisis
In 1999 CFR Paper
Iraq Hawk Who Saw The Energy Strife Coming
And Then Joined In
"The United States cannot afford to wait for the next energy crisis to marshal its intellectual and industrial resources.... Our growing dependence on increasingly scarce Middle Eastern oil is a fool's gamethere is no way for the rest of the world to win. Our losses may come suddenly through war, steadily through price increases, agonizingly through developing-nation poverty, relentlessly through climate changeor through all of the above."
James Woolsey, US Director of Central Intelligence, 1993 - 1995
Bush II Administration Adviser and Envoy, 2001 - Present
"Iraq can be seen as the first
battle of the fourth world war. After two hot world wars and one cold one that all began
and were centered in Europe, the fourth world war is going to be for the Middle
Former Director of the CIA, James Woolsey
NATO conference, Prague, November 2002
"... the mideast will increasingly
become the source of the world's oil, and this is a strategic problem for us and for many
James Woolsey, Former Director of the CIA
Interview with the Council on Foreign Relations and the Washington Post: June 7, 2000
"Optimists about world oil
reserves, such as the Department of Energy, are getting increasingly lonely. The
International Energy Agency now says that world production outside the Middle Eastern
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (opec) will peak in 1999 and world production overall will peak between 2010 and 2020. This projection is supported by influential recent articles in Science
and Scientific American. Some knowledgeable academic and industry voices put the date that
world production will peak even soonerwithin the next five or six years. The optimists who project large reserve quantities of over one
trillion barrels tend to base their numbers on one of three things: inclusion of heavy oil
and tar sands, the exploitation of which will entail huge economic and environmental
costs; puffery by opec nations lobbying for higher production quotas within the cartel; or
assumptions about new drilling technologies that may accelerate production but are
unlikely to expand reserves. Once production peaks, even though exhaustion of world
reserves will still be many years away, prices will begin to rise sharply. This trend will be exacerbated by increased demand in the developing
world..... The recent report by the President's Committee of Advisers on
Science and Technology... concluded
'A plausible argument can be made that the security of the
United States is at least as likely to be imperiled in the first half of the next century
by the consequences of inadequacies in the energy options available to the world as by
inadequacies in the capabilities of U.S. weapons systems. It is striking that the
Federal government spends about 20 times more R&D money on the latter problem than on
the former.'... The nearly $70 billion spent
annually for imported oil represents about 40 percent of the current U.S. trade
deficit.... Research is essential to produce the innovations and technical improvements
that will lower the production costs of ethanol and other renewable fuels and let them
compete directly with gasoline. At present, the United States is not funding a vigorous
program in renewable technologies.... The United States cannot afford to wait for the next
energy crisis to marshal its intellectual and industrial resources....Our growing dependence on increasingly scarce Middle Eastern oil
is a fool's gamethere is no way for the rest of the world to win. Our losses may come suddenly through war, steadily through price
increases, agonizingly through developing-nation poverty, relentlessly through climate
changeor through all of the above."
"Energy is vital to a country's
security and material well-being. A state unable to provide its people with adequate
energy supplies or desiring added leverage over other people often resorts to force.
Consider Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, driven by his desire to control more of
the world's oil reserves, and the international response to this threat. The underlying
goal of the U.N. force, which included 500,000 American troops, was to ensure continued
and unfettered access to petroleum...."
Richard G. Lugar and R. James Woolsey (Former Director of the CIA)
The New Petroleum - Foreign Affairs January/February 1999
"The key holdout is Saudi Arabia --
and it is indeed aggravating that even though we went to war in 1991 principally to
protect its oil, they are unwilling to let us launch air strikes [on Iraq] from their
James Woolsey - The Former CIA Director Speaks on Iraq
TIME, 18 February 1998
"And did this report of a trip to
London by Woolsey represent a brief public surfacing of a transatlantic link between Operation
Rockingham (the subversive British intelligence massaging exercise alleged by former
UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter) and the Office of Special Plans at the Pentagon, a new
US bureaucracy established by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to fulfil a similar
purpose?... it would be interesting to learn whether or not Woolsey had a hand in the promotion of the
Niger uranium forgeries. This is particularly so taking into account the length of the
overseas errand Woolsey was sent on post-911, not long after which the Niger forgeries first
emerged. Did Woolsey make any visits, for example, to Italy in addition to London and
'Fight Smart', Special Report, October 2003
Ignoring some of the more mendacious comments of US Vice President Cheney, never during the build up to last year's Gulf war were Britain and America able to claim that Saddam Hussein had developed nuclear weapons.
The best America could manage was to submit forged documents to the UN. And by September 2003, six months after the invasion of Iraq, the British government was forced to admit to the Intelligence and Security Committee that MI6 was "still awaiting the clarification of the documentary evidence from one of the sources" used to support its claim that Iraq had been trying to acquire uranium from Africa.
During the Hutton inquiry it became clear that the only chemical and biological weapons that the British intelligence services were willing to claim Saddam Hussein possessed were battlefield munitions. And even that claim was made against the advice of its most senior WMD experts.
Those battlefield weapons had a range of a mere 20 to 40 kilometres which, even if in serviceable condition, were of no strategic threat to Iraq's immediate neighbours, let alone to Israel, Britain or the United States. Intelligence sharing arrangements between Britain and America as part of the 'special relationship' mean that both countries will have known this. But that was not the end of it. Prime Minister Blair was warned by his own intelligence advisers that an invasion of Iraq would increase the risk of terrorist attacks.
Yet neither was it established that there was any link under the status quo between the Iraqi government and al Qaeda. The BBC reported on 5 February 2003, just weeks before the start of the war, that "There are no current links between the Iraqi regime and the al-Qaeda network, according to an official British intelligence report seen by BBC News".
Moreover, and perhaps most tellingly, the Bush administration got around to making its own professional assessment of intelligence on the alleged threat from Iraq only after the decision to go to war had already been taken. Last month former senior CIA analyst Ray McGovern disturbingly pointed out in a comment piece for the 'Common Dreams' online news service that "the CIAs National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction used with Congress to hype the threat - was written several months after the administration decided to make war on Iraq." McGovern had himself chaired National Intelligence Estimates during his time with the CIA.
So why did we go to war with Iraq?
Some claim that Saddam's alleged challenge to the authority of the UN was unacceptable. However, there is still much debate about whether Iraq was in substantive breach of Security Council resolution 1441 under whose ambit Britain and America claimed the use of force against Iraq was justified.
Yet, by contrast, there is no doubt that Israel has been in blatant breach of numerous UN resolutions over a much longer period of time. It has covertly developed weapons of mass destruction and it is also in illegal occupation of land belonging to others. But there has never been a proposal from the United States or Britain to invade Israel.
If so many facts do not match up to the political rhetoric emanating from the leaders of the 'coalition of the willing' then there has to be another agenda.
Sophisticates certainly don't like the argument that the real issue behind the 2003 invasion of Iraq was oil. That is simply too trite an explanation for those who earn a living from politically correct academic and media punditry. Moreover to acknowledge the existence of an undisclosed rationale for war based primarily on the economic aspirations of large parts of the English speaking world - notably the US, Britain, and Australia - is to be forced to peer over the precipice into the darkness of a bottomless moral abyss.
Yet it was just such a prospect that one former head of the CIA was already anticipating when he co-authored a paper in 1999 on future global energy requirements. The paper was published by no less than the influential US policy think tank, the Council On Foreign relations (CFR).
Since his days at the CIA James Woolsey has not become a fringe figure in US foreign policy circles. He remains ubiquitous having previously held Presidential appointments in two Democratic and two Republican administrations.
Indeed Woolsey is now part of a powerful circle responsible for promoting an extremist agenda known as the 'Project For The New American Century' (PNAC)' - an aggressive 'defense' and foreign policy strategy developed since 1997 by a group backed by the same neo-conservatives who are now peppered around the Bush administration. It is a strategy whose implementation in practice is lead by Vice President Cheney.
Woolsey's role as Clinton's Director of Central Intelligence may have come to an end in 1995, but when the Bush administration decided to go to war against Saddam Hussein it was Woolsey who was dispatched overseas to try and dig up incriminating links between the Iraqi president and al Qaeda.
According to an Inter Press Service News Agency report 9 August 2003 "It was known early on, for example, that the Pentagon leadership, without notice to the State Department, the NSC, or the CIA, convened its advisory Defense Policy Board (DPB), headed by Richard Perle, to discuss attacking Iraq within days of the  attacks. The three agencies were also kept in the dark about a mission undertaken immediately afterward by former CIA director and DPB member James Woolsey to London to gather intelligence about possible links between Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda, as if the CIA or the Pentagon's own Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) could not be trusted."
As well as sitting on the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board Woolsey was also involved, along with Pakistani-American businessman Mansur Ejaz (Mansoor Ijaz), in attempted negotiations with the Taliban post 911 according to Mariane Pearl, the widow of Wall St Journal reporter Daniel Pearl who was murdered in Pakistan in 2002 (an article published in India's Bharat Rakshak Monitor October 2002 entitled 'Musawer Mansoor Ijaz America's Secret Emissary' reported that Ijaz at one time worked for Van Eck Associates, a mutual fund company, where he developed "models of how world geo-political events affected market conditions .... and he was soon entrusted to run a large mutual fund that anticipated changes in foreign policy....". According to the Monitor Ijaz subsequently started his own company, Crescent Investment Management, where his work has included advising "President Haidar Aliev of Azerbaijan on investment of the revenues from Caspian oil reserves". Lt. Gen. James Abrahamson, former director of President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, is one of Ijaz's partners at Crescent, whilst James Woolsey serves as vice chairman of Crescent's Advisory Board of Governors).
In 'A Mighty Heart', her book on the life and death of her husband published last year, Mariane Pearl says that Ejaz and Woolsey (and a friend of Bin Laden's called Khalid Khawaja who was previously a Pakistani intelligence agent and who fought with the Afghan resistance) "tried to hammer out an agreement that would have averted the war between the United States and the Taliban. The effort failed". But in reality it seems a broader agenda was also running.
According to the Financial Times 6 March 2003 "Taliban officials who opposed the Islamist fundamentalist regime's readiness to protect al-Qaeda after the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington told an unofficial US delegation led by a New York financier that they were prepared to discuss what they knew of Iraq's relations with al-Qaeda.... The Taliban officials, several of whom are now in US custody, told the US delegation they were prepared to discuss what they knew of these ties. But a meeting scheduled to be held in the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar about October 8 2001 was cancelled after the bombing started. The unofficial US delegation was led by Mansour Ijaz, an American hedge fund manager of Pakistani origin. James Woolsey, the former CIA director, agreed to go as an observer.... Two others - a senior American journalist and an influential member of Pakistan's Islamist movement - were also to be part of the delegation.... In a letter to Mr Ijaz and Mr Woolsey dated October 7 2001, seen by the FT, Alhaj Abdul Salam Zaeef, the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, agreed to the terms of a meeting discussed earlier on the telephone and in faxed correspondence. These written terms made it clear that the Taliban would be prepared to 'expand on your expressed interest to provide us with information about the nature and extent of relationships between Iraq and terror groups in the region, including potentially to bin Laden's al-Qaeda organisation'. The terms of the discussions agreed by the Taliban would also give the Americans an insight into whether allegations of Iraqi support for terrorist groups 'represents a uniform opinion within the Taliban leadership or a factional view'".
Given his other endeavours in this area it is reasonable to assume from this account that Woolsey was interested in the Taliban as a potential source of information that would link Saddam to al Qaeda in the minds of the American public. Certainly we now know that he held little information of any use on this subject that he could pass the other way.
The very existence of this 'unofficial' improvised effort to prise information from the Taliban moments before war is a further indicator that Woolsey knew he didn't have the necessary evidence of an al Qaeda-Saddam linkage, even though the Pentagon Policy Board on which he sat had already met to plan an attack on Iraq.
However, there must have been significant doubt about the Taliban's willingness or ability to deliver useful information once it became clear that the US delegation had merely received an offer to discuss whether the alleged linkage "represents a uniform opinion within the Taliban leadership or a factional view". According to the Financial Times that offer was contained in a letter of October 7 faxed to the American delegation while it was in Copenhagen en route to Afghanistan. The bombing of Afghanistan began that day.
This set-back did not seem to diminish plans for Woolsey's on going influence in relation to Iraq. Later he was listed by the Pentagon to head the Ministry of Information in Iraq as part of an apparently brazen bid to ensure US propaganda control over the country following the invasion in the spring of 2003 - although it was a move the Pentagon did not succeed in pulling off.
Ultimately Woolsey failed in his mission to tar Saddam with the Bin Laden brush. But this was not for want of his trying in as many directions as possible.
A report in the Observer 11 May 2003 entitled 'Bush ally set to profit from the war on terror' primarily describes Woolsey's directorship of a private equity firm formed post 911 whose first priority was to put investment into companies supplying the expanding 'homeland security' market. However, the report also points out that Woolsey was "one of the main proponents of the theory that the anthrax letter attacks in America were supported by Iraq's former dictator".
These attacks were eventually traced to a US military laboratory in Maryland - a somewhat unhappy and embarrassing end to an FBI detective trail which ultimately proved to be more suggestive of a home grown effort to deliberately escalate the level of public fear in America than of any foreign sponsored effort.
According to the BBC 18 August 2002 "An FBI forensic linguistics expert believes the US anthrax attacks were carried out by a senior scientist from within America's biological-defence community. Professor Don Foster - who helped convict Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and unveiled Joe Klein as the author of the novel Primary Colors - says the evidence points to someone with high-ranking military and intelligence connections..... However, he fears the investigation is now being hampered in its gathering of vital documents that could lead to the killer.... 'My two suspects both appear to have CIA connections. These two agencies, the CIA and the FBI, are sometimes seen as rivals. My anxiety is that the FBI agents assigned to this case are not getting full and complete co-operation from the US military, CIA and witnesses who might have information about this case.'"
So what made Woolsey so desperate in his efforts to nail Saddam to the al Qaeda/911 post when it is clear that there was no solid evidence to go on? The outline of an answer to this unavoidable question is remarkably simple.
There is one factor in particular that represents a central ingredient in the background thinking of this highly influential figure, but which has been largely overlooked by the media. And it is this. No later than 1999 Woolsey himself knew that 'peak oil' (the point when the aggregate ability of the world's oil producers to pump 'gas' passes into irreversible decline) had most likely already arrived - or was just over the horizon. He also knew that no one had made any serious contingency plans to deal with this watershed moment in human history.
All this is absolutely clear from the 1999 CFR paper that he co-authored with Republican Senator, Richard Lugar of Indiana.
Extracts from the paper are reproduced below. But in short the contents set out Woolsey's explicit recognition of some fundamental and disturbing issues concerning the sustainability of the oil centred foundations underpinning the way of life of the modern industrialised world. Amongst other things Woolsey states that:
So by 1999 Woolsey could see what was coming. He had a pretty good idea what the problem was and what the solution ought to be - not war, but technological investment in renewable energy (albeit that his particular focus on ethanol production from biomass as the pre-eminent alternative approach can be seen as open to challenge).
Yet even by then Woolsey probably knew that almost no one was going to listen to him; that the energy situation was already critical; and that along with others he would therefore have to push for war.
Indeed by 1998 Woolsey had already signed a PNAC backed letter to President Clinton along with many of the now familiar Bush administration neo-conservatives (Rumseld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Armitage etc) urging action against Iraq. Whilst ostensibly pushing the weapons of mass destruction argument, despite years of crushing sanctions against a militarily and economically crippled Iraq, the letter admitted to oil as a key concern in the Iraq equation.
The letter proclaimed that "It hardly needs to be added that if Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the worlds supply of oil will all be put at hazard".
By the time of the second Gulf war in 2003 Woolsey had clearly given up all expectations that his proposal for a combined foreign, national security, and energy policy focused on renewables was going to be implemented. By then he was giving the strong impression of a man that had decided that 'if you can't beat them', you may as well join them. Indeed Woolsey no longer saw the scope of the proposed US aggression as being merely confined to Iraq and its alleged weapons of mass destruction. Now in his mind the war was to be the first in a fight for the whole of the Middle East.
According to 'Foreign Policy in Focus', 8 April 2003 "At a NATO conference in Prague last November, Woolsey declared 'Iraq can be seen as the first battle of the fourth world war,' in rhetoric that he has practiced and honed virtually since the 9/11 attacks on New York and the Pentagon. 'After two hot world wars and one cold one that all began and were centered in Europe,' he said, 'the fourth world war is going to be for the Middle East.' ".
From the content of his 1999 essay there can be little doubt about why Woolsey thought that should be so.
Despite the constructive suggestions laid out in that paper Woolsey, it would seem, had thrown in the towel completely by the time the Bush administration came to power. It is clear from his stark statement in Prague during November 2002 that he had totally succumbed to the corrosive fog enveloping the national thinking of a once much respected country which by now had drastically lost its way.
That the principal economic commentator and Associate Editor of the London Times was moved to speculate on 20 May 2004 that "A global contest for 'public enemy No 1' would probably be a photo-finish between Osama bin Laden and Mr Bush" gives some measure of how great that loss has become within less than three years of the terrorist attacks on Washington and New York.
The most disturbing manifestation of this leadership disaster is a spiralling Pentagon budget which has reached over $1 billion a day - as much or more as the whole of the rest of the world put together.
This is a monster which a long succession of administrations has fed over many years, and it is a danger about which Eisenhower warned the American people in his Presidential retirement speech in 1961: "My fellow Americans....This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience.... we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes...."
When supplemental expenditures for Afghanistan and Iraq are taken into account US 'Defense' spending in fiscal year 2004 will approach half a trillion dollars.
Yet never has the 'American dream' been more vulnerable or as close to collapse.
Only a brief review of where American troops are currently most concentrated around the world is required to identify the relationship between this military 'investment', and the location of overseas oil and gas resources and the pipeline routes which provide access to them. Not for nothing were plans for wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq on the Bush White House hidden agenda before 911 - as we now know from former US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and from former Pakistan Foreign Secretary Niaz Naik.
Indeed, the largest conflict zone troop deployments are concentrated on the very area that Woolsey identified in 1999 as being pivotal to the world's oil supply. The Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea regions. A correlation as clear as it is terrible.
But imagine, for a moment, if America were to suddenly undergo some kind of extraordinary transformation in its collective consciousness. Imagine that it picked up something like Woolsey's original suggestion for a strategic energy security plan.
Imagine how the picture would look if America redeployed more creatively and responsibly only half of that 'Defense' budget, a roaring bloated monster which has manifestly failed to provide genuine security for the 'American way of life' at home and US troops abroad.
Imagine if that profligately wasted tax revenue was invested instead in the research, development and deployment of renewable energy systems.
Well over $500 million every single day.
Think what additional private sector investment would inevitably follow on the coat tails of such a programme. Imagine the new jobs created.
And contemplate this astonishing report from CBS News, 29 January 2002: "Just last week President Bush announced, 'my 2003 budget calls for more than $48 billion in new defense spending.' More money for the Pentagon, CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales reports, while its own auditors admit the military cannot account for 25 percent of what it spends. 'According to some estimates we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions,' Rumsfeld admitted. $2.3 trillion that's $8,000 for every man, woman and child in America. To understand how the Pentagon can lose track of trillions, consider the case of one military accountant who tried to find out what happened to a mere $300 million. 'We know it's gone. But we don't know what they spent it on,' said Jim Minnery, Defense Finance and Accounting Service...."
On 30 January 2003, in the build up to the invasion of Iraq, the London Times published some poignant comments from a female sailor on the 90,000 ton USS Nimitz. She complained that Nobody really wants to go to war. Im getting out of the Navy as soon as I can. My Moms really nervous. Im just out of high school and now Im off to fight a war. I wanted to go to college, but my family didnt have enough money."
How many disadvantaged young men and women have gone into the US armed services simply because of the lack of other job opportunities, all the while hoping in their hearts that they will never see 'action'?
How many more will join them in living with the dread of combat in the months and years ahead if the military draft is re-introduced once the 2004 Presidential election is over, all as part of an on-going desperate and degenerating global search for oil and gas whose name few politicians dare speak?
So if you were a courageous but frightened, lonely, and exhausted American soldier in Iraq today, and you were offered a job working in that kind of programme, a renewable energy programme designed to provide real, not illusory, national security ....
If you were offered the chance to participate in that kind of transformation as an alternative to patrolling the threatening streets of Baghdad and Kabul .....
If you were offered that chance instead of being posted thousands of miles away from a family you worry you might never see again, when all the while the President and his War Secretary are sitting comfortably in their air conditioned offices smiling at the pictures on their desks of their own families who are also tucked away far from the suffering and misery of Basra and Bagram ....
Well, wouldn't that sound attractive to you? And to your children.
Selected Extracts From 'The New Petroleum' By Richard G. Lugar and R. James Woolsey
The New Petroleum
[Extracts Only - Full Text Click Here]
Oil is a magnet for conflict. The problem is simpleeveryone needs energy, but the sources of the world's transportation fuel are concentrated in relatively few countries. Well over two-thirds of the world's remaining oil reserves lie in the Middle East (including the Caspian basin), leaving the rest of the world dependent on the region's collection of predators and vulnerable autocrats. This unwelcome dependence keeps U.S. military forces tied to the Persian Gulf, forces foreign policy compromises, and sinks many developing nations into staggering debt as they struggle to pay for expensive dollar-denominated oil with lowerpriced commodities and agricultural products. In addition, oil causes environmental conflict. The possibility that greenhouse gases will lead to catastrophic climate change is substantially increased by the 40 million barrels of oil burned every day by vehicles....
Energy is vital to a country's security and material well-being. A state unable to provide its people with adequate energy supplies or desiring added leverage over other people often resorts to force. Consider Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, driven by his desire to control more of the world's oil reserves, and the international response to this threat. The underlying goal of the U.N. force, which included 500,000 American troops, was to ensure continued and unfettered access to petroleum.......
For most countries, excluding only those few that will be the next century's oil suppliers, the future portends growing indebtedness, driven by increasingly expensive oil imports. New demand for oil will be filled largely by the Middle East, meaning a transfer of more than $1 trillion over the next 15 years to the unstable states of the Persian Gulf aloneon top of the $90 billion they received in 1996.
Dependence on the Middle East entails the risk of a repeat of the international crises of 1973, 1979, and 1990or worse....
Optimists about world oil reserves, such as the Department of Energy, are getting increasingly lonely. The International Energy Agency now says that world production outside the Middle Eastern Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (opec) will peak in 1999 and world production overall will peak between 2010 and 2020. This projection is supported by influential recent articles in Science and Scientific American. Some knowledgeable academic and industry voices put the date that world production will peak even soonerwithin the next five or six years.
The optimists who project large reserve quantities of over one trillion barrels tend to base their numbers on one of three things: inclusion of heavy oil and tar sands, the exploitation of which will entail huge economic and environmental costs; puffery by opec nations lobbying for higher production quotas within the cartel; or assumptions about new drilling technologies that may accelerate production but are unlikely to expand reserves.
Once production peaks, even though exhaustion of world reserves will still be many years away, prices will begin to rise sharply. This trend will be exacerbated by increased demand in the developing world. As Daniel Yergin, Dennis Eklof, and Jefferson Edwards pointed out in these pages ("Fueling Asia's Recovery," March/April 1998), even assuming a substantial recession, increased Asian needs alone will add enough demand by 2010 (9 million barrels per day) to more than equal Saudi Arabia's current daily production.
The nations of the Middle East will be ready to exploit the trend of rising demand and shrinking supply. The Gulf states control nearly two-thirds of the world's reserves; the states bordering the Caspian Sea have another several percent. Barring some unforeseen discoveries, the Middle East will control something approaching three-quarters of the world's oil in the coming century...
[If technological developments make biofuels affordable] U.S. diplomacy and policies in the Middle East could be guided more by a respect for democracy than by a need to protect oil supplies and accomodate oil-producing regimes. Our intrusive military presence in the region could be reduced, both ameliorating anti-American tensions and making U.S. involvement in a Middle Eastern war less likely. ....
The recent report by the President's Committee of Advisers on Science and Technology (pcast) predicted that U.S. oil imports will approximately double between 1996 and 2030, from 8.5 million barrels per day, at a cost of $64 billion, to nearly 16 million barrels per day, at a cost of $120 billion. They estimated, however, that with concentrated efforts in fundamental energy research and investment in renewable fuel technologies, this could be reduced to 6 million barrels per day in 2030. The report concluded,
A plausible argument can be made that the security of the United States is at least as likely to be imperiled in the first half of the next century by the consequences of inadequacies in the energy options available to the world as by inadequacies in the capabilities of U.S. weapons systems. It is striking that the Federal government spends about 20 times more R&D money on the latter problem than on the former....
..... The nearly $70 billion spent annually for imported oil represents about 40 percent of the current U.S. trade deficit....
Research is essential to produce the innovations and technical improvements that will lower the production costs of ethanol and other renewable fuels and let them compete directly with gasoline. At present, the United States is not funding a vigorous program in renewable technologies. ..... The United States cannot afford to wait for the next energy crisis to marshal its intellectual and industrial resources......
Our growing dependence on increasingly scarce Middle Eastern oil is a fool's gamethere is no way for the rest of the world to win. Our losses may come suddenly through war, steadily through price increases, agonizingly through developing-nation poverty, relentlessly through climate changeor through all of the above. It would be extremely short-sighted not to take advantage of the scientific breakthroughs that have occurred and that are in the offing, accelerate them, and move smartly toward ameliorating all of these risks by beginning to substitute carbohydrates for hydrocarbons. If we do, we will make life far less dangerous and far more prosperous for future generations. If we do not, those generations will look back in angry wonder at the remarkable opportunity that we missed.
R. James Woolsey, an attorney, was Director of Central Intelligence from 1993 to 1995. He serves on the boards of several corporations, including BC International, which is expected to open the first commercial biomass ethanol plant in the United States in 2000.
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