While looking for patriotic images to use for reference for my blasphemous paintings I ran across some old American Heritage Magazines. I stumbled upon an article that I found fascinating ‘The Tyranny of Oil’ by Carl Solberg. What really fascinated me about the article was that it seemed straight forward. It was written before the embassy attacks in 79 so it seemed to be summing up the situation and villainy of the U.S. before the situation became politically charged here in the United States.
The United States involvement in the middle east was born out of the need for oil to wage war. It was Churchill who first realized that petroleum was vital in waging modern warfare. In response to this a handful of companies with the might of the United States empire undertook the task of controlling the flow of oil in the middle east. This began our current cycle. Must have oil for war, must wage war for oil.
In 1943 Secretary of State Edward R. Stenninius said “I hereby find that the defense of Saudi Arabia is vital to the defense of the United States.” Keeping tight control of these resources became the priority of the U.S. Empire. This included stationing troops to protect the oil we were taking as well as filtering enough money to the more wealthy and powerful both in business as well as heads of state.
I wonder how Americans would feel if a foreign country were to establish military presence and claim control of natural resources and businesses here on U.S. soil. I’d imagine a great deal of people would find this upsetting.
The conflict over oil was one the citizens of the U.S. were mostly blind to. It wasn’t really until the embassy attack in 79 that most people would really hear anything. Our deeds over the last hundred hears are often ignored.
Oil As Property
What I find fascinating about the article ‘Tyranny of Oil’ is that it exposes the nerve of property. The article never directly addressed property as a concept, but if one reads the article they can begin to see my opposition to property in it’s purest form. Here we see property as right to resources based on military might and the aggression of the state. We can also look and see how this claim to property has escalated in today’s world.
Even Lew Rockwell can see and admit that there is an issue with military might and their involvement with laying oil pipeline in Afghanistan. The Lew Rockwell article “Is an Oil Pipeline Behind the War in Afghanistan?” points out how ‘human rights for women’ as well as Osama Bin Laden was used to justify the war for pipeline.
This battle is nothing new, it is just one of the many aggressions in the middle east that occurred in an age of which those in power have been under more scrutiny in the Middle East. Here where a handful of corporations were given the power and role of states using the might and military of states we see property as theft. We see that this form of property can not exist without either a state to flex it’s muscle or a privatized aggressive force to take the role of the state.
Our initial interest in oil from the middle a hundred years ago was driven by the desire to fuel armies. Resources for warfare perpetuated warfare. By the late 40′s The united states made a shift from coal to Oil as the major source of power had been established. When countries like Iran attempted to gain control of oil production we simply overthrew regimes to claim ownership of resources. Countries that played by the rules were aloud to continue to hold power and the wealthy and powerful were paid well.
OPEC was established as a response to a drop in price of oil. The rich and powerful ruling classes would not allow their profits to drop.
Lifestyle of Oil
As the United States left WWII wealth seemed to flow like honey. Growing up I knew other countries always had to pay more for oil. I was told it was because ‘America was prosperous.’ This was somehow the benefit of capitalism. While in reality it was the benefit of capitalism, just not in the way I was lead to believe. This was capitalism as force and aggression. This was the U.S. using military might to support large corporations in their takeover of other countries while I was being driven around in cars fueled by oil we claimed as our property through might of the state.
The highway acts and shift towards suburban living and 60mph architecture vs. 3mph architecture was fueled by military might that supported corporate interests overseas. Public transportation was fading as we built a society on oil in ignorance of the reality of what it was taking to create this society as well as blindness to the violence on the horizon.
The catch really is now, how does one survive in a world where to meet your needs you feel trapped to continue driving and using the fuel that was brought to us by blood. Getting to work, seeing your family, going shopping all brought by the convenience of oil, endless cars and communities designed around the speed and convenience of cars, the 60mph architecture. We all pay into the pockets of the rich and powerful who will stop at nothing to perpetuate their wealth just as they have done here in the middle east for the last hundred years.