Energy Independence


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In the opinion of many foreign-policy experts, the greatest
threats to world security and peace are Iran’s nuclear
program, international Jihadist terror, and radicalization
among the Muslim populations in Europe and North America.
What is the common thread among these various threats?
All are financed by Persian Gulf petrodollars.

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Energy Independence

  1. 1. The Energy Project: INDEPENDENCE BY 2020 KUO PAO LIAN / PAVLINA ILIEVA BY TSVI BISK In the opinion of many foreign-policy experts, the greatest threats to world security and peace are Iran’s nuclear Breaking free program, international Jihadist terror, and radicalization among the Muslim populations in Europe and North America. from oil imports What is the common thread among these various threats? is critical for All are financed by Persian Gulf petrodollars. Iran could not finance its nuclear program if it did not have the revenues of two and a half million barrels of oil a day available for export. Individuals world peace. in Saudi Arabia could not spend billions of dollars a year in distributing anti-American, anti-Western, and anti-Semitic literature worldwide, nor would they be able to finance radical madrassas (Muslim schools) throughout the Islamic world if not for the revenues of 8 million barrels of Here’s how it will oil a day available for export. Hezbollah and Hamas could not have achieved such organizational vigor without the support of Iran or Wahhabi clerics and wealthy laymen from Saudi Arabia. The radicalization of growing be done. segments of European and American Muslims is also supported by Persian Gulf petrodollars. ©2007 World Future Society • 7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 450, Bethesda, MD 20814, U.S.A. • All rights reserved. THE FUTURIST January-February 2007 25
  2. 2. For the sake of our shared envi- large amounts of fossil fuel from un- federal funding for research on ronment and international stability, stable regions and unfriendly regimes. wind, solar, and hydrogen technol- the time has come for the West to ogy, and 78% would favor tax cuts to formulate a coherent energy policy energy companies researching these dedicated to downgrading oil as the WHAT MUST BE DONE? kinds of alternative energy sources. dominant international commodity. What is needed is a global effort Although opinions may differ about We will all live in a safer, freer world on the part of industrialized nations, these particular technologies, it is when oil becomes a commodity on a particularly the United States, to clear that the American public is par with coffee, sugar, and tea, transition their economies to next- ready for radical solutions and is far rather than the lifeblood of Western generation fuels and vehicles. A ahead of its leadership on this issue. economies. broad coalition of policy experts, en- In addition, because of the current Worldwide consumption of crude vironmentalists, security advocates, security and political climate, such a oil is projected to grow 40% by 2020 elected officials, and concerned movement would also enjoy support if the consumption growth rate of citizens can now be formed to push from segments of the population not the past several decades is sustained. for such a policy. For such a coalition traditionally associated with the Most of this supply increase will to have credibility, it cannot be ruled alternative fuel cause. Energy inde- come from Persian Gulf countries. by any single agenda. A consensus pendence could appeal to organized They have the largest proven re- approach to the problem of foreign labor, as it would produce hundreds serves, and these reserves are oil dependency is essential. The of thousands of well-paying domes- cheaper to develop than known and solutions that industrialized nations tic jobs. Veterans’ groups are begin- potential reserves elsewhere. Even if employ must be suited to the envi- ning to appreciate how vulnerable the real price declines slightly, the ronmental concerns of conservationists oil dependency makes their respec- predominantly nondemocratic gov- and scientists, the economic concerns tive nations. Energy is the primary ernments in the Persian Gulf will of business leaders, and the security strategic resource of the industrial still benefit financially and, thus, concerns of policy makers. One of world. Yet, more than 30% of U.S. militarily. As a consequence, we the primary goals of such a policy energy needs and 50% of petroleum may expect increasing support for would be job creation through the needs depend on unstable countries terrorist organizations as well as development of domestic, alternative such as Iraq; undemocratic countries more development of nonconven- fuel sources. such as Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, tional weapons of mass destruction. There is reason to believe that an Kuwait, and Libya; and overtly hos- We’ve long been aware of the nega- energy-independence movement tile countries such as Venezuela and tive impacts of fossil fuels on the en- would enjoy considerable support in Iran. This security lapse is a cause of vironment. But what has also the United States. More than 85% great concern. become increasingly clear over the of U.S. citizens polled believe that Jewish organizations would likely past few years are the disastrous se- the nation is “addicted to oil.” More lend their support to the endeavor, curity implications of importing importantly, 82% want increased continued on page 28 THE SEARCH IS ON: Worldwide consumption of crude oil is projected to grow 40% by 2020. RICHARD DION WILSON / ISTOCKPHOTOS.COM 26 THE FUTURIST January-February 2007
  3. 3. BY DERON LOVAAS GOING GREEN BY EMPOWERING CHOICE Over the course of the twentieth century, all ing it with gasoline doesn’t increase volatility things considered, oil has clearly been a boon to the (which can contribute to smog pollution). Another United States. It fueled the post–World War II eco- innovation being developed is algae as a feedstock nomic boom. It enabled Americans to gain greater for liquid fuel production. At an experimental facility mobility and to live in far-flung suburbs. It boosted in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Greenfuel Technolo- travel capacity for those who wanted to fly to differ- gies has attached a tank of algae to a power-plant ent corners of the globe. Now combustion of the smokestack. The algae consume on average 40% of very resource that propelled the United States CO2 emissions and yield as much as 10 times more through the twentieth century is weighing the fuel per acre than cellulosic ethanol. country down. These are intriguing alternatives, and they are First, the nation is undermining its own struggle being developed at a time when the name of the against terrorism. A 2003 seminar on “Oil and Secu- game in the market is consumer choice. Currently, rity” at Harvard University was blunt about this vehicles and fuels are a far cry from offering concern, citing “the use of the proceeds from oil consumers real choices, and odds are good that the car sales to fund terrorist organizations and the govern- you like isn’t available in a hybrid-electric version. ments who harbor them.” Then there is the oil-mar- At most retail gas stations, the only products under ket rollercoaster ride imposed on the U.S. economy the canopy are made from petroleum. In this and more profoundly on oil-intensive and brittle de- regard, car dealerships and gas stations are more veloping economies. This has been especially trying like shelves in a Soviet grocery store than a modern in the past 35 years, when the United States and American retail outlet. Consumers demand, and other nations have been subjected to steep price deserve, more choices. hikes followed by collapses. Given time, high prices drive the development of Oil combustion also contributes mightily to cli- substitutes. But prices do come down and substi- mate change. In carbon-dioxide emissions, it is sec- tutes face barriers to market entry, such as costly ond only to coal—1.5 billion and 2.5 billion tons an- fuel delivery infrastructure. And there’s no guaran- nually, respectively (in the United States). Oil’s tee that alternative fuels will be cleaner. contribution is bound to grow disproportionately as This is where public policy comes in. The United companies and countries develop higher-pollution States must invest in infrastructure that levels the substitutes such as tar sands and oil shale, which playing field for competing alternatives in a crash become viable in a high-price context. Canada is al- program akin to the Apollo moon shot or the Mar- ready the source of one million barrels per day shall Plan. Performance standards for these alterna- (mbd) of oil from its tar sands, with more to come. tives must be tied to investment to guarantee that Fortunately, the price-driven search for oil substi- taxpayer money is being put to effective use. Pro- tutes is a double-edged sword. While it is spurring grams to promote alternative fuels must guarantee renewed interest in dirtier fossil fuels, it is also big, rapid reductions in the combustion of oil- speeding along development of cleaner technolo- derived fuels, boost the fuel-efficiency of our gies. President Bush mentioned one of the most vehicle fleet, create incentives to commercialize promising in his State of the Union address: Ethanol clean alternatives, and promote rail transit and derived from the cellulose of plants such as switch- other alternatives to driving in urbanized areas. grass. This would open up a host of potential feed- stocks, reducing land, fertilizer, and transportation requirements for growing fuel, which bedevil corn ethanol. About the Author BP and DuPont also recently announced a part- Deron Lovaas is the vehicles campaign director nership to pilot the use of biobutanol. This fuel has for the Natural Resources Defense Council, several advantages over ethanol as a substitute: Its 1200 New York Avenue, N.W., Suite 400, Washington, D.C. 20005. Telephone 202-289- energy content is closer to that of gasoline, it isn’t 6868; Web site corrosive like ethanol and so can be delivered and dispensed using current infrastructure, and blend- THE FUTURIST January-February 2007 27
  4. 4. ENVISIONING ENERGY INDEPENDENCE: It might sound utopian, but according to Tsvi Bisk, it’s not far off. KUO PAO LIAN / PAVLINA ILIEVA continued from page 26 for all intents and purposes been between the two Iraq wars. as well. The biggest threats to the se- accomplished. • The loss of 828,400 jobs in the curity, safety, and well-being of The successful completion of this U.S. economy. world Jewry are Iran’s nuclear pro- objective has seriously undermined • The loss of $159.9 billion in GNP gram, international Islamic terror, the financing of international Islamic annually. and the growing radicalization of terror, reducing it to a minor tactical • The loss of $13.4 billion in federal Muslims living in the West. Each of annoyance rather than the major and state revenues annually. these threats is either financed or un- strategic threat it once was. The En- • Total annual economic penalties derwritten by petrodollars. No ergy Project also rendered impotent of $297.2–$304.9 billion. group has a more vital interest in the petroleum-funded nuclear weapons • Periodic oil shocks over the Western energy independence. programs of former rogue states course of the three decades from Finally, the extremely powerful such as Iran. 1973 had cost the American economy home construction and improvement The end of oil dependence has also $2–$2.5 trillion (unpredictability is industry would profit from the retro- been beneficial for the world econ- expensive). fitting of American homes and omy. The U.S. trade deficit has been • The Twin Towers atrocity. Osama should also be an ally in this reduced by 40%, and hundreds of Bin Laden has publicly indicated struggle. Almost one-third of home thousands of well-paying domestic that the World Trade Center attacks electricity generation and heating is jobs have been created. This was in were a response to the U.S. “occupa- wasted through inefficiency. line with the 2003 National Defense tion” of Saudi Arabia. The American The question then becomes what Council Foundation report, which military presence in Saudi Arabia the transformation to energy inde- examined the price of imported oil existed to defend the house of Saud, pendence would look like. To pro- in terms of the security costs associ- an undemocratic regime that guar- vide guidance on that question, ated with safeguarding supply. The antees the United States access to what follows is a futurist scenario. It report showed that the actual cost of Saudi Arabian oil. The September 11 imagines the future effects of the En- oil was much higher than the price attacks resulted in more than $200 ergy Project as well as stages of its consumers saw at the pump and billion in direct and indirect eco- development. included such expenses as: nomic losses. • Almost $49.1 billion in annual In 2006, the price of a barrel of oil REPORT TO THE CONGRESS defense outlays to maintain the abil- was triple that of 2003. If all these OF THE UNITED STATES ity to defend the flow of Persian Gulf costs had been internalized into the January 2020 oil—the equivalent of adding $1.17 real cost of oil, rather than absorbed The Energy Project to the price of a gallon of gasoline. by taxpayers, a gallon of gasoline re- Executive Summary This did not include the cost of the fined from Persian Gulf oil would The goal of the Energy Project was second Iraq war. In other words, have been more than $10. When to destroy the power of petroleum as policing the Persian Gulf had cost these facts were laid before the an international commodity. This has U.S. taxpayers half a trillion dollars continued on page 30 28 THE FUTURIST January-February 2007
  5. 5. BY GARY YOHE GASOLINE TAXES NEEDED TO STAVE OFF DISASTER Taxing the use of gasoline may never be politi- context, we should acknowledge that climate cally popular, particularly in the United States, even change could be dangerous and that climate risk is as part of comprehensive revenue reform designed a fundamental reason for buying some “climate to lower the burden of other taxes. Regardless, the insurance”—enacting at least a modest but persist- need for gas taxes as part of an ambitious alterna- ent policy of reducing greenhouse gas emissions tive energy initiative is, to my mind, essential. Aside immediately. from the fact that U.S. dependence on foreign A static carbon tax would not do the trick over sources of oil endangers our national security, it the long term. The charge for carbon should cannot be stated often or forcefully enough that our increase in real terms by 2% or 3% per year because consumption of fossil fuels and our emissions- it is the persistent and predictable increase in the effec- heavy activities may be endangering our very tive price of carbon that would give the policy trac- civilization. tion. Intervention beginning right now would not My work, and the work of others, has analyzed necessarily protect us from dangerous climate the economic dimensions of global warming. By change impacts, per se. It would, instead, protect us 2050, climate-related damages associated with a from dramatic increases in the economic costs of two to three degree Celsius warming, calibrated di- future adjustments in climate policy. Failing to act rectly in terms of currency but also in terms of risks now simply increases the likelihood that energy-in- associated with extreme events (such as millions at tensive projects will continue to go forward, that risk of hunger and severe losses in non-marketed new and renovated buildings will be less energy ef- ecosystems), could devastate the economies of de- ficient than they could be, and that the transporta- veloped countries. Moreover, comparable vulnera- tion fleet will be more energy-intensive than neces- bilities will be felt by the end of the century across sary. Doing nothing locks us into long-term the very developed economies that are, through investments that would dramatically increase the their emissions of greenhouse gases, currently con- cost of future policies. tributing most to the problem. If I had to pick a carbon tax for right now, I would All of this work has, of course, attracted the atten- argue that $5 per barrel of oil is not too high, given tion of the climate “contrarians.” Their view is that the real “cost” of oil to national security and to the the body of scientific evidence which indicates that climate. I could be just as comfortable with $10 per humans are changing the climate is, at best, fraught barrel. The only imperative is that a positive charge with uncertainty and, at worst, motivated by the for the carbon of oil (and coal, natural gas, and religious fervor of ardent environmentalists. other varieties of fossil fuel) be factored into invest- How should we respond to their critique? Why ment decisions beginning now and that its system- not look them squarely in the eye and say, “You’re atic, year to year increase be immune from political right! We don’t know exactly how much the planet manipulation over the long term. will warm in the future. We are not sure precisely how local climates will change. We cannot guaran- tee dangerous climate change will materialize. But About the Author you cannot guarantee that it won’t!” Gary Yohe is the Woodhouse/Sysco Professor That point made, it follows that we must look at of Economics at Wesleyan University in climate policy as a risk-management tool. We all Middletown, Connecticut. He can be contacted at buy insurance against the risk of fire, against the cost of automobile accidents, against the chance of serious health problems, and the like. In the climate THE FUTURIST January-February 2007 29
  6. 6. continued from page 28 the European Union, and Japan be- The industrial might of the United American people and driven home gan devoting 50% of their foreign States was mobilized in a manner in an unrelenting daily PR campaign aid to making Third World countries not seen since World War II. By 2010, by grassroots lobbyists, the popular energy independent and thus im- a new coal-liquefaction plant (a coal- ground swell of public opinion mune to the world energy price fluc- fired power plant that uses a carbon- against oil dependence became im- tuations. As a consequence, sub- neutral process to convert coal into a placable. The leaders of various Saharan African, Southeast Asian, liquid fuel) producing 30,000 barrels Western nations were finally com- and Latin American countries as of fuel a day (at $40 a barrel) was pelled to act. well as India have all become energy being installed every month in the Given its greater dependence on independent as of this writing. United States. This was adding oil, the European Union has bene- The United States became com- 360,000 barrels of daily production fited even more than the United pletely energy independent in 2019 every year. Thermal or catalytic de- States from the new energy initia- through a combination of conserva- polymerization units that produced tives outlined in the Energy Project. tion, alternative energy (solar, wind, a thousand barrels of liquid fuel But the developing world, especially and geothermal), gasification and from sewage and garbage were in- Africa, has realized the greatest ben- liquefaction of coal, and various stalled daily. This was adding efit. Oil price fluctuations—caused technologies that turn carbon-based 365,000 barrels of daily production by the OPEC oil boycotts of the 1970s waste (sewage, manure, garbage, a year. and subsequent instability in the plastic, rubber, agricultural, etc.) into Plug-in hybrids, flex-fuel engines, Middle East in the 1990s and early usable diesel and gas. The United household energy conservation, and twenty-first century—had a devas- States had already become relatively increased use of wind, solar and ge- tating effect on the African economy. energy independent by 2015—its othermal energy were conserving an Once energy had been identified sole oil imports then being from fel- additional 300,000 barrels of daily as the keystone of international de- low NAFTA members Canada and consumption of oil every year. velopment strategy, North America, Mexico. Ethanol production from agricul- tural waste and biodiesel from the food processing industry was BREAKING THE ADDICTION adding the equivalent of 100,000 bar- rels of daily production of fuel annu- ally. By 2010, more than 1.1 million barrels of oil (daily production) was In February 2006, the Pew Center polled the American people to being taken off the international gauge their support for conservation and alternative-fuel policies. market each year by the lower 48 These were the results: states alone. PROPOSALS TO ADDRESS U.S. ENERGY SUPPLY Favor Oppose China, employing similar tech- Require better auto fuel efficiency 86% 12% nologies and policies, has also Federal funding for alternative energy 82% 14% become energy independent. Large Give tax cuts for alternative energy 78% 18% supplies of oil were diverted from Increase funding for mass transit 68% 22% the United States and China to Give tax cuts for oil exploration 44% 52% Japan, Korea, and Taiwan (which had also drastically reduced oil con- A second poll conducted by Foreign Policy magazine and the sumption by conservation and use of Center for American Progress surveyed 100 of the United States’ various biodiesel technologies). most-esteemed policy and security experts for their opinion on how These countries now receive all their to combat terrorism, asking, “Please indicate whether each of these energy imports from Russia, Canada, actions listed below should be given a higher or lower priority in the and Mexico (not OPEC). The European war on terror.” Union’s remaining oil and gas im- PERCENTAGE OF RESPONDENTS WHO SELECTED ports also come from non-OPEC Higher Priority Lower Priority countries such as Russia, Mexico, Reduce foreign-oil use 82% 11% and Brazil, as well as western Africa. Improve intelligence 76% 1% The popular resentment against Stop loose nukes 68% 12% OPEC for its past boycotts and cartel Strengthen the United Nations 68% 12% behavior compelled European and Strengthen the U.S. Department Japanese political and business lead- of Homeland Security 65% 9% ers to procure oil from other suppli- Kill terrorist leaders 37% 16% ers when it became possible. OPEC Increase military 30% 36% had been banking on emerging mar- Sources: The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, kets such as China and India to sus- Foreign Policy magazine. tain its profits throughout the 2010s, but, as noted, these countries were continued on page 32 30 THE FUTURIST January-February 2007
  7. 7. BY JAMES STROCK THE CURE FOR OIL ADDICTION IS LEADERSHIP Perhaps the greatest obstacle to reducing U.S. Now, with the United States at war in the Middle dependence on foreign oil is the absence of a per- East, with global competition intensifying f o r ceived crisis among the general public. U.S. oil energy supplies, and with increasing recognition dependence might be compared to a long-term of the risk of climate change, the time is ripe for de- health condition that is rising steadily, like hyper- cisive action. The 2008 presidential campaign will tension. The risk of grave damage is rising, but it afford an important opportunity. can be ignored to an extent, for a time, should one choose to. It’s essential that the United States reduce its dependence on foreign oil so that the nation can About the Author remain free of the pernicious influences that result. James Strock was President George H.W. Bush’s assistant administrator for enforcement During the United Nations General Assembly (chief law enforcement officer) for the U.S. meeting in New York in September 2006, the world Environmental Protection Agency. He was also was presented the spectacle of successive, frankly California’s first secretary for environmental outrageous speeches from top officials of Venezuela protection. He can be reached at James and Iran. If not for their nations’ oil reserves, these Strock & Co., 15029 North Thompson Peak gentlemen would offer nothing more than a diver- Parkway, Suite B-111-601, Scottsdale, Arizona 85260. Web sion. As long as U.S. oil dependence—”addiction,” site as President Bush has acknowledged—continues with no end in sight, the country is creating a future that is hostage to the whims of others. The United States’ immense imports—about 12 million barrels per day—are subsidizing the coun- try’s avowed enemies in the Middle East in a time of war, as well as other nations who are working against our national interests. The overreliance on foreign oil has also enabled too much reliance on petroleum generally. U.S. consumers are wasting this precious resource in inefficient vehicles in the transportation sector, as we all see on the roads every day. In turn, the delay in reducing oil imports makes the inevitable steps toward a diversified energy portfolio harder to achieve. It’s important to note that reducing dependence on foreign oil will have beneficial economic, envi- ronmental, trade, and strategic implications. It is hard to imagine one area where so much good can be done through policy change. Given the regional interests implicated, signifi- cant reform in this area will most likely arise from presidential leadership. To be sure, U.S. presidents from Richard Nixon on have made energy security more or less of a priority. Nonetheless, the bottom line is that fundamental change has not occurred. THE FUTURIST January-February 2007 31
  8. 8. continued from page 30 2009, the projected end of U.S. en- This reflected the fact that the West no longer in need of OPEC oil. As an ergy dependence began to enable finally realized that cheap energy organization, OPEC has been se- greater geopolitical flexibility as well was expensive in terms of both the verely compromised. After pumping as greater adherence to democratic environment and security. The in- 35% of the world’s daily oil supply values on the part of the West. Also strument for guaranteeing this price in 2006, it now pumps less than 10% in 2009, after the formation of the was a sliding excise tax on oil. If oil and has to beg for customers. Nigeria Organization of Petroleum Consum- was being dumped by Saudi Arabia and post-Chavez Venezuela have left ing Countries (OPCC), industrial- at $30 a barrel, an excise tax of $50 OPEC in order to guarantee their ized nations began to lessen their oil was added at the port of entry. This markets. purchases from Saudi Arabia, stabilized the petroleum market and Advances in nanotechnology and quickly dethroning it as the biggest enabled entrepreneurs and corpora- biotechnology enabled the environ- oil exporter in the world. By 2012, tions to make long-term investments mentally friendly extraction of oil Saudi Arabia trailed Canada, Russia, based on the predictability of the from the tar sands of Canada and and Venezuela in total exports and price of oil without fear they would Venezuela. The production of each of was no longer the chief indirect be undercut at a crucial time. It also these countries now exceeds that of financier of international Islamic ter- guaranteed long-term dedication to Saudi Arabia at the peak of its pro- ror. Today, the total volume of ex- energy efficiencies and the develop- duction, and, along with Russia, ports from the Persian Gulf (Saudi ment of alternative energies. now provides the bulk of inter- Arabia, Iran, Iraq, and Kuwait) is The determination of the West to national exports. less than 6 million barrels a day and change the rules of the game became declining. apparent well before the alternative To forestall the price undercutting methods of energy production and SPREADING tactic of OPEC (designed to bank- conservation described in this report DEMOCRATIC VALUES rupt alternative energy initiatives at gained traction. In 2007, the United These developments enabled the critical phases of implementation), States, European Union, and Japan West to confront what many have OPCC agreed on an $80 a barrel were locked in disagreement with long argued is the largest single ob- benchmark price for oil consumed Iran over that country’s (suspected) stacle to the spread of democracy by member countries whether im- nuclear arms. Rather than resort to and Western values. As early as ported or domestically produced. military force, the United States, European Union, and Japan insti- tuted a reverse oil boycott on Iran in order to deprive it of the means to OIL FACTS continue to develop what many ex- perts concluded was a nuclear weapons program. • The United States consumes • Recycling one ton of plastic The International Energy Agency 25% of the world’s oil each year, saves, on average, the energy (IEA) had 4 billion barrels of oil in but possesses less than 4% of the equivalent of 197 gallons of reserves at that time. This enabled earth’s proven oil reserves. The gasoline. them to release 2.5 million barrels a Persian Gulf region sits on nearly • If the United States increased day onto the market for a period of two-thirds of the world’s known oil. mandatory fuel-efficiency stan- four years, replacing Iranian oil ex- • In 1973, the United States im- dards by 2.75 miles per gallon, ports. Thanks to the alternative en- ported 35% of the total oil it con- roughly 300 million barrels of oil ergy solutions outlined in this report, sumed in a year. Today, it imports could be saved each year. the IEA was releasing only 1 million more than 50% and is projected to barrels a day by 2009 and by 2010 • If all U.S. drivers kept the tires import 70% by 2025, if current con- began replacing reserves. At present, on their vehicles properly inflated, sumption rates remain unchanged. there is no longer any need for the 2 billion gallons of gas could be The U.S. directly spends $129 billion strategic reserves, and they are being saved each year. per year on imported oil. drawn down. • If converted, all the agricultural The oil boycott against Iran was • China is the second-largest im- waste in the United States would led by the United States as a result of porter of crude oil in the world and yield the energy equivalent of 4 bil- a ground swell of popular opinion. accounts for roughly 6% of the lion barrels of oil annually. When the extent of the strategic re- global crude import market ($34 serves of the IEA was made known, billion annually). Forecasters for Sources: The Century Foundation, the ground swell became a tsunami Deutsche Bank Research predict Scott LaFee, “Crude Numbers,” San Diego Union Tribune, of public support. A coalition of en- that China’s demand for crude will vironmental, security, Jewish, and grow in the low double digits Deutsche Bank Research, Christian lobbies joined the effort. through 2020. Iranian financing of Hezbollah (never popular among the mass of young educated Iranians) also dried 32 THE FUTURIST January-February 2007
  9. 9. PROJECTIONS FOR OIL IMPORTS According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook for 2005, U.S. gross oil imports are expected to increase from 12.3 million barrels per day in 2003 to 20.2 million by 2025. MILLIONS OF BARRELS PER DAY 25- 20- Far East, Caribbean, Europe, Other 15- North American 10- OPEC (other) 5- OPEC Persian Gulf 2000 2005 2010 2015 2020 2025 Source: The Energy Information Administration / Annual Energy Outlook 2005, up. This had a great stabilizing effect which helped engender a “modus of products and services rather than on the Israeli–Arab conflict and was vivendi” and eventually a two-state oil. In 2010, Iran cut all ties with ter- a key factor in the comprehensive peace agreement in 2011. rorist organizations, and in 2013 it peace agreement between Israel and reestablished relations with Israel. Syria and Lebanon in 2008. The war on international Jihadism The Israeli electorate was per- A SECOND IRANIAN was not won by the direct strategy of suaded to give up the Golan Heights REVOLUTION armed intervention, but rather by for peace with Syria when the In 2009, with its economy in col- the indirect strategy of destroying oil European Union, finally exercising lapse and its impoverished popula- as the major international commod- some practical political leadership, tion furious, Iran underwent a ity. This was a lesson the United agreed to finance the construction of second revolution. The army, intel- States should have learned from its a substantial number of desaliniza- lectuals, and business community victory over communism and the So- tion plants on the Israeli coast. This embraced the Turkish model of mod- viet Union. It was the soft power of not only assuaged Israel’s strategic ernization and governance. The American technology, science, eco- fears about Syria sitting on Israel’s catchphrase of this second revolu- nomic freedom, mass communica- sole water reservoir, but also used tion was “Where is the Iranian tions, and democracy, not only the Israeli technology and constituted a Ataturk?” hard power of armed containment or massive investment in the nation’s Iran has since become a constitu- arsenal strength, that brought down technological capabilities. This was tional republic. The Mullahs were the Berlin Wall. As with the fall of the key to turning Israel into a world relegated to their pulpits and communism, so it was with the vic- power in alternative water technolo- deprived of secular power. Iran was tory over international Jihadism. De- gies. It also relieved the strain on the forced by economic necessity to mocratically applied American tech- country’s coastal aquifer, which had establish close ties with the United nology and grassroots political will been on the brink of ecological dis- States and the European Union. In won the “war on terror.” aster. When leaders pointed these order to integrate into the global facts out to the Israeli electorate, economy, they were obliged to con- public opinion began to change. tribute to global political stability. In THRIVING WITHOUT OIL Very quickly, there was massive sup- order to secure overseas direct in- Somewhat paradoxically, the stan- port for peace with Syria, even at the vestment for this historic switchover, dard of living of most citizens in the expense of the Golan Heights. Peace Iran was obliged to adopt transpar- former oil powers is now higher with Lebanon was concluded six ent business practices in line with than it was at the peak of OPEC’s months later. international standards and to im- power. Juan Enriquez, author of As Israel’s establishment of diplo- plement the democratic reforms nec- the Future Catches You (Crown Pub- matic relations with Syria and essary to join the World Trade Orga- lishing Group, 2000), would have Lebanon helped weaken Hamas and nization. This spurred growth in predicted this outcome without diffi- generated a more pragmatic attitude their manufacturing and service sec- culty. In his book, he showed that among the Palestinian masses, tors, and Iran became a net exporter countries that depend on commodi- THE FUTURIST January-February 2007 33
  10. 10. FUELING THE POLICE STATE? Energy is the primary strategic resource of the industrial world. Yet more than 50% of the petroleum consumed in the U.S. comes from undemocratic or unstable regimes. LARYN PKB / ISTOCKPHOTOS.COM ties are guaranteed a future of $9,000 in 2006, despite the post-9/11 sectors created an abundance of poverty, because: oil spike. high-paying jobs that enabled the 1. Increased productivity and Former oil-producing powers have elimination of many undercapital- professional management had re- had to reform in order to be accepted ized, poorly managed industrial duced the real value of commodities into the new global order. Russia sectors dependent on minimum and natural resources in 2000 to one- had to reverse the authoritarian wage labor. These developments had fifth of what they were 150 years trends of Vladimir Putin, which a positive impact on alleviating previously. Petroleum was a minor were made possible by the post-9/11 poverty and shrinking the social gap, exception. However, the $80 per-bar- windfall oil income. Hugo Chavez of as well as improving the image and rel oil of 2006 was still not equiva- Venezuela was quickly marginalized standing of the United States around lent, in real terms, to the $48 per-bar- and faded into history as the the globe. ■ rel oil of 1979. Venezuelan middle and professional 2. When you have natural resources, classes—the only real source of de- About the Author you invest in them; when you lack velopment—reasserted themselves. Tsvi Bisk is an independent natural resources, you invest in your This was the final death knell of Israeli futurist, social re- human resources. When 70% of Peronian populism in all Latin searcher, and strategy plan- gross world product is the America. Substantial portions of the ning consultant. He is the knowledge economy, investment in Latin American population and vari- director of the Center for human resources gives a much ous economic sectors joined the Strategic Futurist Thinking greater return. knowledge economy, enabling a and can be reached at 3. Countries rich in natural resources decade of rapid growth. Most former He is the co- are more easily ruled by corrupt and Persian Gulf oil powers have also author (with Moshe Dror) of Futurizing the Jews (Praeger Press, 2003). His second incompetent thugs or religious fanat- had an attack of reform. book, The Optimistic Jew: a Positive View ics. Dependence on human creativity The environmental benefits of of the Future (, will and ability requires freedom and these developments are also note- be released by Maxanna Press in 2007. constitutional protections. In the worthy. Every country in the world He invites you to visit www.futurist-thinking global knowledge economy, democ- has more than fulfilled its Kyoto Pro- to get some practical ideas of racy is no longer just an ideal, it is an tocol obligations in terms of green- what you can do as an individual to help economic necessity. house gas emissions (which are now implement this futurist vision. The economic situation of Saudi 50% less than they were in 2008). Arabia had already proved En- The United States and other Western riquez’s thesis when the Energy countries have developed another Project was instituted. The King- thriving high-tech sector in alterna- FEEDBACK: Send your comments dom’s per capita income had de- tive-energy products, systems, and about this article to clined from $18,000 in 1982 to only consulting. Investments in these 34 THE FUTURIST January-February 2007