Fw: Why is Tony Blair an appeaser? (Monbiot)
rfidler at cyberus.ca
Wed Nov 6 14:58:05 MST 2002
By George Monbiot
from Dawn (Pakistan), Nov. 6/02
LONDON: Tony Blair's loyalty to George Bush looks like slow political
suicide. His preparedness to follow him over every precipice jeopardizes
Britain's relationships with its allies , conjures up enemies all over the
world and infuriates voters of all political colours. And yet he never
misses an opportunity to show what a trusting friend he is.
There are several plausible and well-established explanations for this
unnatural coupling. But there might also be a new one. Blair may have
calculated that sticking to Bush is the only way in which our unsustainable
economy can meet its need for energy.
Britain is running out of time. According to the Oil Depletion Analysis
Centre the UK's North sea production has been declining since 1999. Nuclear
power in Britain is, in effect, finished: on Saturday the EU revealed that
it had prohibited the government's latest desperate attempt to keep it
afloat with massive subsidies. But, partly because of corporate lobbying,
partly because of his unhealthy fear of "Mondeo man" or "Worcester woman",
or whatever the floating voter of Middle England has now become, Tony Blair
has also flatly rejected both an effective energy reduction policy and a
massive investment in alternative power. The only remaining way of meeting
future energy demand is to import ever greater quantities of oil and gas.
And here the government runs into an intractable political reality. As
available reserves decline, the world's oil-hungry nations are tussling to
grab as much as they can for themselves. Almost everywhere on earth the
United States is winning. It is positioning itself to become the gatekeeper
to the world's remaining oil and gas. If it succeeds, it will both secure
its own future supplies and massively enhance its hegemonic power.
The world's oil reserves, the depletion analysis centre claims, appear to be
declining almost as swiftly as the North sea's. Conventional oil supplies
will peak within five or 10 years, and decline by around 2 million barrels
per day every year from then on. New kinds of fossil fuel have only a
limited potential to ameliorate the coming crisis. In the Middle East, the
only nation which could significantly increase its output is Iraq.
In 2001, a report sponsored by the US Council on Foreign Relations and the
Baker Institute for Public Policy began to spell out some of the
implications of this decline for America's national security. The problem,
it noted, is that "the American people continue to demand plentiful and
cheap energy without sacrifice or inconvenience". Transport, for example, is
responsible for 66 per cent of the petroleum the US burns. Simply switching
from "light trucks" (the giant gas-guzzlers many Americans drive) to
ordinary cars would save nearly a million barrels per day of crude oil. But,
as the president's dad once said, "the American way of life is not up for
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