On now to Libya where the beat goes on. Another day, another despot, another billion barrels of crude. Our foreign policy since World War II has become so narrow and predictable it’s laughable. The whole world is onto us and has been for years but our national myopia allows our politicians to repackage decades-old malarkey and sell it to Americans with a bright, yellow starburst that says, “New and Improved!”
The idea that some sort of twisted moral imperative prompted the Obama administration to act forcefully against Libyan forces is tough to swallow. You can almost detect in his speeches and mannerisms how uncomfortable the Nobel Peace Prize-winning president is in authorizing force and intervening in a foreign civil war. That’s not to say Obama can’t sell. Of course, he can sell. He’s the president.
But selling hope ain’t selling war. If this was still the Bush administration, old Muammar el-Qaddafi would already be locked up in Guantanamo and his nation renamed Halibyarton. Hell, Obama is so non-committal compared to Bush that even the French beat us into Libya! And the French haven’t beaten us into a conflict since Vietnam.
It has to be understood by now that we only quarrel with nations in which we have either a current or potential vested interest in oil. Following through with these interventions and selling it with purpose and pizzazz is a lot easier when you control the timetable like we did in Iraq. But when the world is in freefall, our decision to only aid protestors in oil-rich countries exposes our hypocrisy in the worst way. The contrast is too stark for our public line of promoting democracy to be credible any longer.
Let’s go back to the French and dissect their actions for a moment. For years I’ve assumed French foreign policy consisted of doing the exact opposite of America because, well, they’re French. That’s what they do. It turns out their motivations might be more similar to our own than I thought. They have routinely criticized our military actions abroad for being examples of disingenuous imperialism. America being America. Then, before you know it, they’re bombing Libya first and asking questions later.
Makes you wonder who’s in charge over there. Consider the following: Total S.A., the largest company in France, is a $150 billion oil company with massive holdings in Libya and considered one of the “Big Six” in private, non-state-controlled oil companies globally. Now consider that Qaddafi declared that he would ban Total S.A. and all “western” petroleum companies from Libya if the insurrection continued. Sacre bleu! Them’s fighting words, even for the French. Hence the military action. Remember, though. They’re fancier than we are. They like their hypocrisy with a side of arrogance and a glass of disdain.
That still doesn’t answer why the Obama administration would choose this “humanitarian” mission over involvement in other nations whose citizens are being abused by dictators. As Americans we would like to think we are there to stand behind and beside anyone in the world being oppressed and abused. But we’re simply not. We are intervening in Libya because it poses an interesting financial proposition to the oil barons who truly run this country. Make no mistake, the world is experiencing Peak Oil. It’s a natural and unavoidable phenomenon that is beyond theory. It’s real. More to the point we are experiencing Peak ‘Cheap’ Oil. We have discovered new, incredible ways of obtaining fossil fuels but they are expensive to acquire and often difficult to refine. The type of crude oil that Libya offers is the stuff dreams are made of. With China fast acquiring African contracts and (get this) ignoring human rights in places like Sudan (shocking for China, no?) the race is on to tap into the last remaining pure crude on the planet.
The United States already imports almost two million barrels of oil per day from the African nations of Nigeria, Angola, Algeria and Gabon. Getting rid of the Qaddafi dilemma and adding Libya to the mix would be a huge win for the Big Six oil companies in the world. Crude like this is hard to come by, and so is a straight answer from politicians controlled by oil companies. C’est la vie.