Something Had to Give: How Oil Burst the American Bubble

These acquisitions are just a small indication of a massive, irreversible shift in wealth and power from the United States to the petro-states of the Middle East and energy-rich Russia. These countries, notes the International Monetary Fund, are believed to have raked in $750 billion in 2007 and are expected to do even better this year – and each year thereafter. What this means is not just the continuing enfeeblement of the American economy, but an accompanying decline in global political leverage.

Nothing better captures the debilitating nature of America’s dependence on imported oil than President Bush’s humiliating recent performance in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He quite literally begged Saudi King Abdullah to increase the kingdom’s output of crude oil in order to lower the domestic price of gasoline. “My point to His Majesty is going to be, when consumers have less purchasing power because of high prices of gasoline – in other words, when it affects their families, it could cause this economy to slow down,” he told an interviewer before his royal audience. “If the economy slows down, there will be less barrels of [Saudi] oil purchased.”

Needless to say, the Saudi leadership dismissed this implied threat for the pathetic bathos it was. The Saudis, indicated Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi, would raise production only “when the market justifies it.” With that, they made clear what the whole world now knows: The American bubble has burst – and it was oil that popped it. Thus are those with an “oil addiction” (as President Bush once termed it) forced to grovel before the select few who can supply the needed fix. Truthout/posted by Bulatlat

Michael Klare, author of Resource Wars and Blood and Oil, is a professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College. His newest book, Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy, will be published by Metropolitan Books in April 2008.

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