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The old adage was that a society had to choose: guns or butter. You can’t have both. However, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld were determined to prove that false. In their analysis, America had reached the stage where it could wage wars without any serious domestic repercussions. Indeed, one of their fantasies–actually presented by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz in a Capitol Hill appearance–was that to the victors would fall the spoils. Iraqi oil, that is, would pay for it all–and produce cheaper gasoline at the pump for American consumers.
But that vision seems to be yet another chimera of the Bush Administration’s war on terror.
In well-reasoned analysis, the Eurasia Group reported Monday the prospect of increased gas prices come this fall. Given months of non-response from suppliers to high crude prices, and the likelihood that little else other than gasoline demand is driving those high prices, Robert Johnston and Greg Priddy argue that the situation in Iraq will be the main driver of oil prices as the summer draws to a close. Violence in the Niger River delta, though serous, will not result in large production shortfalls.
Neither Johnston nor Priddy forsee the Iranian situation, which remains at a relative standstill, as driving any major market changes. But come September, the Bush administration will have to issue its major report on progress in Iraq. If the July report, in which the Iraqi government met only 8 of 18 benchmarks, is any indicator, a US gradual withdrawal from Iraq may begin quite soon. An American evacuation will leave room for the further possibility of Iranian, Saudi Arabian, and Turkish involvement in Iraq. Such moves could precipitate tension in the oil market – not to mention serious regional conflict – which Johnston and Priddy believe will be bad news:
By summer’s end, gloomy market sentiment on Iraq could well move from the speculative to the substantive.
Those “no war for oil” protesters, it now seems, saw the situation much more clearly than most observers gave them credit.
Evan Magruder contributed to this post.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”