The oil politics

Oil has changed the idiom of international politics


The ‘zone of uncertainty’ has set in. These were the words the Shell Scenario Team, a global group of energy and petrochemicals companies, used for the dwindling oil production in the world. The same holds true for the world as well. For today’s world is oil because we become what we eat or consume.
Hydrocarbons these days, mainly in the form of crude oil, have developed the huge potential to unsettle the world. The world has seen innumerable occasions when these organic compounds were made to compound the miseries of common masses. These liquids have created a new genre of oil wars or petro-dollar warfare. These oil wars have been fought with all sorts of modern sophisticated weaponry. There have been occasions when the oil has been preferred at the huge cost of human blood. Countries have been seduced, and countries have been suppressed for oil. Technologies have been invented and framed to grind oil out of rice and other eatables at the cost of innumerable hungry mouths. Geographers, geologists and micro-economists have been programmed to think oil out of their brains. Space has been put under continuous scanner. Many space shuttles are in the process of feeding their insatiable bellies with all sorts of fuels just to locate and report fuels from other heavenly bodies.
Oil has changed the rules of game. It has changed the idioms of international politics. It has given twists and turns to water-tight ideologies. Oil has turned friends into foes and foes into friends. Oil has become a compelling factor. Oil has summed up in itself all the laws of the world politics. Modern-day knowledge highways have been adjusted to make way for transnational oil pipelines. And in today’s world everything – strategies, expediencies, interests, friendships, hatreds and conflicts – have come to reside in these pipelines.
China and Russia, sometime back, were at war with each other. The reality at present is different; oil (energy) has made them to cooperate with each other. Similarly, Japan too was at loggerheads with Russia over Sakhalin islands. Today Japan has a stake in the same and has invested in it. Similar is the case with the ‘Druzbha’ (friendship) pipeline. In the middle of the Cold War, the West Germany, a NATO member country, cooperated (as against the wishes of US) with the Soviet Union, to build the pipeline which brought the Soviet energy to Europe. Recessions, inflations and booms have been the effects of oil – its production, consumption and distribution. Simulation experiments have been devised and conducted to assess the effects of oil on real income and price levels in the entire world.
Oil has not only shaped the texture of many economies but has also given a new tinge to the currency systems of this world. The World has seen the emergence of petrodollars, petrocurrencies, oil cartels and oil weapons. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has been coordinating and unifying petroleum policies among member countries. William R. Clark writes in his book, “Petrodollar Warfare: Oil, Iraq and the Future of the Dollar” that “the calculated goal of regime change in Baghdad was designed to prevent further momentum within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) towards the Euro as an alternative oil transaction currency.”
World leadership has come to be dominated by oil-fed and oil-led leaders. Oil has given rise to many political leaders who have oil in their veins and brains. They think oil, they consume oil, and they dream oil. They have made the world to spin around oil. They have made their people to dance and die for oil. All sorts of psychological warfare have been put in use to compete for and to drink to dregs the oil wells of this world. White man’s burden, clash of civilizations, end of history, structural adjustment, weapons of mass destruction, war on terror and the like have been on anvil to annex all-encompassing oil enterprises.
George W. Bush, the former president of United States of America, who hammered his way through the Arab world, was the founder of oil company Arbusto Energy, a former share holder of the oil company Spectrum 7 Energy, and a former director of the company Harken Oil and Gas. Dick Cheney, the former vice president of United States (2001-2009), was a former CEO of the oil company Halliburton Industries, whose customers included Unocal (oil), Exxon (oil), Shell (oil), and Chevron (oil). Condoleezza Rice, a former United States Secretary of State, who has a 129, 000 ton oil tanker named after her, has been the former director of the oil company Chevron, which had a partnership with another oil company namely Caspian. Hamid Karzai, the present US installed Afghan president is said to be the former employee of Unocal, the US based Oil Company. Oil has also fed all kinds of despots and dictators in the Arab world.
Oil (industries) has not even spared our environment. These industries are global in nature. The heavy dependence of the world on these industries is a cause of concern as these industries have an adverse impact on the environment. Oil spills, damaged land, accidents and fires, and incidents of air and water pollution have all been recorded at various times and places. The future energy scenario is full of pressures and uncertainties. Mindless race to outrun one another is futile. With all sailing in the same boat, possibilities of boat capsize will spell ruin for all.      

(Bilal Ahmad Ganai is a Research Scholar in Department of Political Science, Kashmir University. Feedback at:

Lastupdate on : Sun, 22 Apr 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 22 Apr 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 23 Apr 2012 00:00:00 IST

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