If there is any single price of any commodity that determines the growth or slowdown of our economy, it is the price of crude oil. Too many things don’t calculate today in regard to the dramatic fall in the world oil price. In June 2014 major oil traded at $103 a barrel. With some experience following the geopolitics of oil and oil markets, I smell a big skunk. Let me share some things that for me don’t add up.
For the last few decades in the Middle East, the policy of western powers — led by the United States — has been to ensure the flow of oil; maintain stable and secure allies like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the Gulf States, Egypt, and Israel; and maintain military and economic influence when needed. Usually these ends were met through economic or military-to-military partnerships.
There may be a responsible way to fight the Islamic State, but the U.S. will have to leave its boots in the closet and the drones in the hangar.
The atrocities of ISIS become more shocking every day. In June, the Iraqis exhumed nearly 600 bodies of Shia recruits in Tikrit, an important Sunni Triangle city north of Baghdad. ISIS appears to have executed as many as 1,700 Iraqis and buried them in mass graves.
The future is no longer in plastics, as the businessman in the 1967 film The Graduateinsisted. Rather, the future is in China. If a multinational corporation doesn’t shoehorn China into its business plan, it courts the ridicule of its peers and the outrage of its shareholders. The language of choice for ambitious undergraduates is Mandarin. Apocalyptic futurologists are fixated on an eventual global war between China and the United States. China even occupies valuable real estate in the imaginations of our fabulists. Much of the action of Neal Stephenson’s novel The Diamond Age, for example, takes place in a future neo-Confucian China, while the crew members of the space ship on the cult TV show Firefly mix Chinese curse words into their dialogue.