When we went into Iraq there was heated talk about “blood for oil.” A look past the politics, military strategy and marketing spin shows a cause for true concern: It’s China that’s getting the oil, not us.
A brilliant article, “When China Ruled the World,” by Thomas P. Barnett in the January 2011 Esquire, observes how the U.S provides the “Military muscle and China cleans up on the post-conflict resource extraction.”
He continues: “In Iraq, our ‘shock and awe’ has resulted in China being the only state with oil contracts both north (Kurds) and south (Arabs). In Afghanistan, our counterinsurgency efforts continue while China plans a $3 billion investment in the Aynak copper mine. As for the People’s Liberation Army casualties in both theaters: Zero.”
How is this happening? The reasons are complex. One reason is that U.S. green spin is helping us get out-competed by the Chinese, who use fossil fuels (undaunted by environmental concerns and free of restrictive legislation) to fuel their powerful economic engine. That’s not good for U.S. interests, environmental or otherwise. Misguided marketing that helps advance the unscrupulous fringe of the green agenda is shifting the U.S. environmental focus away from where it should be: Buying and extracting all the oil we can while burning U.S. coal — free from green attacks — while dusting off the construction manuals for (truly-green) nuclear power plants that could put millions of Americans back to work at high-paying “green” jobs.
So blood for oil was a legitimate concern after all. Too bad it’s our blood for Chinese oil. We should have bought those oil contracts while the getting was good. Any chance we can move past where we are stuck today? The key to moving toward sustainability will be marketing communications programs that are based on sound science and economics, rather than spin spawned by ideologies that obstruct sustainability and economic growth.