It's time to let the eight-hundred pound gorilla take a seat at the table and give him a microphone.
The implacable left was quick to start and slow to stop insisting that the invasion of Iraq was all about oil. Wake me, please, when the first leftist voice is heard saying, "Honesty and honor forces us to admit that it was not about oil after all!"
However, who's to say the next invasion of an oil-drenched dictatorship or two or three by fuel-thirsty democracies won't be all about oil?
Is this the first blunt urging to go in and simply take the oil fields we need in order to return to non-ridiculous fuel prices? No. At least, not exactly; or not yet.
Adolf Hitler gave aggression a bad name sending tanks and troops into Poland, Holland, France, Belgium, Denmark and all the rest. Stalin's Soviet Union likewise attacked Finland and grabbed Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia in one day in 1940 and later held all of Eastern Europe prisoner to the dismay of civilized people everywhere. North Korea cloaked itself in villany by invading South Korea in 1950 and Saddam Hussein staggered the world by invading little Kuwait in 1990 long after the world thought plain old vanilla invasions of neighboring countries had entered history's no-no list.
We don't like countries that use brute force to take other countries for plunder and profit. We don't do that; or have not so far. At first glance, the notion of using force to remove a country's valuable resource and make it your own is repugnant. Let's give it a second glance.
Your blood is, obviously, essential to your life. If any assailant threatens the uninterrupted circulation of your blood or the blood of your loved ones you will go to any extreme to prevent him. Having successfully foiled the predator's attempt, no one would think of calling you an aggressor. Oil is the "blood" of all industrial democracies.
When the price zooms from 10 dollars to 150 dollars a barrel over a relatively short slice of history you have gravely interfered with the blood supply of — forgive me — the freest, the most generous and the best countries on earth. When there is no cap, no limit and the price is free to rise and rise and keep on rising, then at some point the moral code will virtually rewrite itself.
The oil-producing countries inside OPEC are Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Libya, Algeria, Nigeria, Angola, Venezuela and Ecuador. Except for the special case of Iraq, the only one of those countries that could be called a democracy without triggering gales of horse-laughter would be Ecuador.
Russia, an oil-exporter, is democracy's biggest disappointment of the past 18 years and oil-rich Indonesia has elections but could hardly pass a real political physical to qualify as a democracy. Meanwhile, the only democracy pumping out more than it needs is Norway; and maybe Mexico.
The fuel-thirsty nations include the United States, England, Japan, India, every other democracy on earth and China; the latter being a dictatorship. So, despite a few overlapping exceptions, no political science professor could flunk you for saying the dictatorships have the oil and the democracies have the desperation.
Here's my "Declaration of Interdependence" to those oil-rich dictators. It's coming now from nobody but a columnist. One day it will come from a country, or a coalition of countries; strong countries.
Don't get us wrong. We are not Nazis or communists bent upon world domination. Nor are we animated by greed or lust for wealth. Nor are we intoxicated by our superior military power.
From the very beginning of oil we've accepted the notion that your petroleum riches were your good fortune and we were happy to pay you reasonable prices for your crude oil; which, by the way, our Western technicians developed for you.
We remained patient as those prices grew less and less reasonable. We even sacrificed our own blood and treasure to restore Kuwait's oil to Kuwait after Saddam Hussein of Iraq grabbed it in 1990 and despite the huge price we've paid to extirpate that tyrant and bring good government to Iraq we've confounded our enemies by refraining from stealing (or "appropriating") one bucket of Iraq's oil for ourselves.
Here's our wish-list in descending order. We wish you would come to your senses and realize that you can provide the energy we need at a price that enables us to preserve our economies intact and our deservedly prosperous way of life and still swim way over your head in your accidental wealth.
Failing that, we wish you would have enough sense to realize your grandchildren may not have abundant oil and join us in a pact; you keep fuel affordable and while we all seek alternative energy sources we help you diversify your economies and help you greet the day you'll have to live without oil. Some American cars are painted silver. Some of your rulers' cars are made of silver.
Democratizing your countries and eliminating your support for terrorism would give us a better feeling about enriching you and lead naturally to the kind of joy it is to do business with oil-rich and democratic Norway.
There may be other ideas and initiatives we could try short of overpowering you and enforcing fair access to the global oil supply. Will you help us arrive at a solution, or will you continue to extort and laugh all the way to our bankruptcy? This is not a threat as much as a simple lesson in human nature. Free peoples will not indefinitely sit here and watch their achievements die of oil thirst and their hard-won life-styles turn to dust.
Spontaneous combustion has been defined as a million-dollar insurance policy on a five-hundred thousand dollar house. Maybe a corollary definition is weak dictatorships with oil continuing to blackjack strong democracies with life-changing gas prices.
We beg you; get smart, stay rich, stay whole and live long quiet lives.
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