How Does the Strain on Natural Resources Affect U.S. Foreign Policy?

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
June 13, 2008
Wind Turbines in France

Officials representing the Group of Eight (G-8) countries, along with China, India, and South Korea, met last week to develop a strategy in response to volitility in oil, gas, and coal markets. They issued a joint statement calling for oil producers to increase output and examined means by which wealthier nations could decrease consumption, improve energy efficiency, and reduce carbon emissions.

How Does the Strain on Natural Resources Affect U.S. Foreign Policy?



Syrian P.
June 13, 2008

SNP in Syria writes:

You mean the G8 is calling for the same-O-same O. At $5 per gallon, average price in the G8 States, anyone that can cut use of gasoline has already done so. It is simply not possible to run a modern economy using any less oil/gas resources. You would have to drastically curtail these economies or dramatically change people habits, these solutions can not be relied upon to solve the energy problem because they are far fetched. Additionally, the fossil energy resources are finite and it is proven that we are heading downhill the curve on the supply line that is why the prices are so high, demand is high, supply is limited and quickly being exhausted. The solution is alternative energy and more of it to reduce demand, lower prices and extend the reserves at least to the end of the Century when the alternative energy technologies are matured and incorporated into daily life, industries and manufacturing uses.

Short of handing cash out for the alternative energy developers, the G8 States are heading into speedy Economic Bankruptcy with all its effects on society. Since people don't care, the sheeplet will pay $12 per gallon and not whisper a complaint, no one care on the other side as well.

California, USA
June 16, 2008

Michael in California writes:

Excavating more carbon from what should be it's final resting spot so we can chew it up and spew it to the atmosphere where it will wreak havoc for decades to come IS NOT a policy responsible governments should be pursuing. Given that your question is targeting foreign policy, it seems to me the best foreign policy for energy hogs like the US would be to expand aid, technology transfer, and policy know-how to developing economies. These programs should be focused on energy efficiency, effective urban planning (including mass transit), and wind/solar energy resource development. By keeping developing economies 'off oil' so they never get hooked, the U.S. can help keep global energy prices down over what they otherwise would be if those economies do get 'addicted to oil'. This will certainly benefit the U.S. consumer in the long-run. Additionally, there might be markets for U.S. renewable energy companies (in areas where the market might be already saturated here at home) -- that is if we weren't so pathetically behind Europe in renewable energy equipment design/manufacturing. I suppose that sort of integrated domestic and foreign policy for growth would require cooperation we aren't likely to see from you over there in the swamp.

District Of Columbia, USA
June 16, 2008

Ralph in Washington, DC writes:

It would be nice if Democratic countries had fanatical elements which would walk into an OPEC meeting and the major Speculators who are intentionally driving up the price with a FALSE consumption marketing ploy and blow themselves up....

Everyone wants to live. Elimenate the problem. ...LOL!

Honestly, here in America:
In America when I take a shower, I have to use a gallon of water to simply get hot water ...another words, a gallon of water goes into the sewer before I even shower. So, I waste on two utilities: water and the energy to make the hot water. We over consume and have never made adjustments.

It is obvious there is much going on in which information is not being presented to the public that concerns the entire economy worldwide ...but, us as citizens do need to take some responsibility for it all. While we can blame our Representation to a great degree, on an individual basis in America we have over consumed since WWII.

Personally, I honestly believe this has all happened here because Economic Freedom is like any other Freedom; it does not exist unless there are limitations. That was the responsibility of Government. These responsibilities should include: Subsidies for alternate energy, windfall taxes, not bailing out failed Corporations which lay off the citizens anyway-let a viable new Corporation emerge, non outsourcing of Military hardware and Intelligence networks to non U.S. firms, limitation of tax evasion techniques as offshore corporation, regulation/price control of all energy industries as is the case with Power production in the U.S.A... I mean something is wrong when you can go to the democratic country of Mexico and get diesel fuel for less than two dollars and it's over four in the U.S.A.

Little things like just parking and using public transit where it exist, car pooling, newer appliances, recycling ...all of that is on the citizen and we should have made a lot of concessions long ago, before it became Hip or a necessity.

World wide, it seems we are heading for a One World Government to continue exisitence ...but, greed will prevent that. One evil will stop another ...interesting actually when you view it that way ...but the UN has to have the power to implement change collectively with all Nations as it is the only established platform to work from. That would mean including everyone and having the power to dispose those who do not comply with a democratic vote of all Nations ...just like in comic books.

New Mexico, USA
June 17, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

When the price of crude jumps a record $10 per barrel shortly after the Israeli Defense Minister indicates sanctions against Iran are not working and that military action is seen as inevitable....this is a symtom of the political volatility in the global energy market in extremis.

Traditionally traders know when war is imminent long before governments ever admit to the public that diplomacy has been exhausted.

President Bush, Sec. Rice and DoS are to be commended for having lead the way in creating a multilateral framework and understanding on a coercive aproach to ending security threats in a peaceful manner, first and formost through diplomacy. Secondly via sanction, and third through political and economic isolation (or the modern updated concept of "containment" )

It is only civilized to offer ethical infants a choice, but it may be heard in the near future, now that Iran has once again rejected the common sense "demands of the free world" for peaceful coexistance, some sudden realization uttered , "Why did we bother thinking a state sponsor of terror would listen to reason?" when the Iranian government will soon anounce itself as a nuclear weapons state. As a "gift" to the next president of the U.S. I suspect.

Energy markets are the canary in the coal mine where it concerns conflict impending. Speculation runs rampant, and the global consumer is stuck in the middle.

What everyone does know is that this status quo with Iran is not stable nor viable. That the solution ultimately will not be pretty failing a diplomatic miracle, and that it will potentially get a lot worse before the Iranian question gets solved once and for all.

Whereas no "behavior change" begets military confrontation, not just isolation.

When the fourth largest oil exporter happens to be the world's leading state sponsor of terror, it becomes all too apparent where the long term solution to energy supply is concerned. That it is time for the regime in Tehran to be encoraged by one and all (and by all means) to go back to their mosques, preach peace so they may live in peace and live more correct lives outside of politics.

I think that suggestion would be the last gasp for diplomacy, short of war.

Personally, I don't think we as a nation should be afraid to do what we must, election or no. Unpleasent as war is to contemplate, let alone engage in.

Israel will do what they will do, and it won't come as a suprise.

I would offer a thought to the "powers that be" that any military action contemplated that leaves the current Iranian regime and system of government in power afterwards, is foolhardy at best, and insanely dangerous.

If the action levels the playing field for the Iranian people to see and end to their repressive leadership at their own hands, then more power to them. They deserve our support, and that's 70 million who would otherwise have no voice in the matter at all.

One will hear inevitable cries of "blood for oil", but what is more accurate is that it will be blood for blood, wheras Iranian activities in Iraq have targeted coalition troops, killing Americans.

30 years of this..."Death to America" is time to end this dirge.

Tennessee, USA
June 18, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

Who said there is an actual STRAIN?

Other than water and food, the energy crisis is a perpetrated event caused by deliberate speculation. There is ample oil available world wide which is still untapped.

The fact we let it happen shows that external elements not associated with the Governments of the world have taken precedence in power over the general welfare of civilization.

Another words: Money rules, not democratic governments at this period in history. It only seems that certain governments have control because they have oil; or maybe that was the plan. Who knows...and we do have ships going to the artic circle. We found the N. Pole..thats an American Flag what is going to happen when Russia plants one on the Floor under the caps?

Good article in Conservative Politics about the change of control elements in Government.

Coalition D.
June 20, 2008

CID in France writes:

@ Eric in New Mexico -- Responding to Mr. Eric in New Mexico, he stated:

"...30 years of this..."Death to America" is time to end this dirge..."

Syrians living impovrished and threatened by Israeli-American backed Baath Party security and military apparatus for more than 45 years under this slogan " Baathye, Baathye, Baathye, Ahdafuna, One Arab Nation with one Arab Eternal Messege). If Americans and Israeli thinks Syrians should, must and can live for 40 more years hearing this, then you should accept Americans living the same hearing Death to America for as long.

Should Israel or United States attack Iran, it will not be just Islamists from Arab Countries fighting you in Iraq and Israel on all fronts, but few million Syrians and Lebanese as well shall come to Iran defense. So please, do not make the same miscalculation you did during teh Iraq invasion planning, plan right this time will you.

United States
June 19, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

How does US foreign policy increase the strain on natural resources? In as many was as humanly possible, it seems.

A foreign policy promoting global prosperity is one reason why less developed countries increase oil consumption; another reason is continual war. The last two US wars have used up huge quantities of fuel.

Our oil wells are dry and despite our Kuwait rescue, nobody in the middle east offers free oil to replace what we used in wars to protect them. This incredible lack of gratitude alone is astonishing, and even more amazing is that the current administration demands little from our middle eastern "oil friends" who sell us oil at the highest possible price so our soldiers can die for their freedom, or whatever passes for liberty in that region.

There is no reason to believe that the next administration will be any better at foreign policy. Our middle eastern foreign policy has been an ongoing disaster for America and it only gets worse. OPEC is now discussing dumping the dollar, a nice "thank you" for saving their oil fields.

Nation-building is bankrupting America. Maybe we should stop and rethink this idea?

New Mexico, USA
June 19, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

I'm begining to think that maybe DoS should offer Zharkov a position with the policy planning Dept. And whatever he suggests, DoS needs only to do the exact opposite to have a foreign policy that will long endure his isolationist ramblings from the "Utopia of Soviet America"....and remain highly successful in solving problems globally. (chuckle)

The strain exists on supply and demand because demand has just about reached maximum global supply levels. Even though Saudi Arabia has increased its pumping capacity over half a million barrels and will increase it again by about the same in the near future, the capacity to refine crude is one of the bottlenecks creating the global strain on the supply side.

We haven't built a new refinery in America for almost 30 years. That's not a foreign policy issue per se, that's a result of a long ongoing debate within America Congress as to the environmental impact of drilling in pristine areas, and off the continental shelf. It has now become a national security issue of critical proportion, which is exactly what proponents of drilling warned Congress about decades ago.

I believe it is possible to protect the environment and extract the crude. We've got the tech to do it properly now 30 years later.

Even if we had done so already, and in better position to absorb shocks to the market...this situation would still be excacerbated by the factors both Joe and I pointed to in regards to speculation and the threat of war driving the increased prices.

Yeah, war wastes a lot of resources, especially human resource, not just energy.

I think it would be interesting though to do a comparison with how much gasoline was used over the last eight years freeing 55 million folks from tryrany, as compared to how much gasoline was wasted by the rest of America while waiting at fast food drive ups for their lunch over the same period of time.

Anyone care to wager on the results?

I would also suggest to Joe that to plant a flag on the sea floor at the North pole is akin to the difficulty of placing a flag on the moon, and in that sense it may be the only place left on Earth "undiscovered" and unexplored.

So I don't see it so much as a bogus claim of Russian soverign rights in internationasl waters, but more as the continuing human saga go where no man has gone before.... And you actually might have an easier time extracting fossile fuel from the moon of Titan than from beneath the polar ice cap. In any case, if it is not economicly viable to extract, the resources will remain in place.

Perhaps "Dipnote Bloggers" will opine on this interesting development of the opening up of the Arctic due to global warming, and the opportunities it presents.

Be a good topic for discussion I think.

Tennessee, USA
June 20, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

OIL: I don't actually believe there is a STRAIN. There are no figures to support that issue.

The real problem we face is the Power struggle that is occurring behind the scenes. The real problem is not the lack of oil, nor getting it out of the ground at all.

1. Read the history of speculation:

2. Oddly, the Senate information on ICE has been taken off the Internet availability. It shows the major US companies responsible for over speculation and control outside. While the majore investors in ICE are American Companies, they set up OUTSIDE US legal authority.

3. The market is tied to many Pension funds through a loop hole. To offset their cost, banks as Goldman Sacks use speculation and help promote over cost.

4. Mexico has laws which prevent private investments from negatively influencing oil prices.

It is the accountability factor which is the problem right now, nothing more, nothing less.

If Fraud, greed, poor ethics and corporate special interest are the problem, the only resource problem is lack of better leaders.

Food: With the abundance of unused land through out the world; especially the US, there is no real excuse beyond the Futures market and capital investments. While it is difficult to alter money flow when established, the Humanity Issue needs to be re addressed. This includes subsidy redirection for growth, not non growth.

Water: We are consuming more water than we have in natural form. Why do you think depleting billions of gallons of Salt water will have no effect on the earths homeostasis? Funny how this figure is lacking from the rest of the Global Green Earths policies and Water may well become the next Oil. Why are large investors purchasing land in America and even Romania (largest number of natural springs in Europe)?

It is self evident that the largest natural resource being wasted in this world is its people:

This has come about simply because the idea of self sufficiency has been superseded by inter dependence. Many of the worst areas of starvation simply should not exist and the only reason they have no infrastructure is because they do not have PEACE due to poor leadership or outside influence. We seem to be the only country that actually does care from the governmental standpoint, not corporate. Our Government arms as the DOS. Our objective is never war, we always have an olive branch to work with first and foremost.

I am afraid I actually thought this blog was limited to a college function and did not mean to misrepresent my standings on our Great Nation or Societies. I have been simply trying to provoke legitimate responses by taking, in some cases, adversarial views. I called someone in AZ last night at a personal residence attached to a secure server and found it to be a legitimate blog.

My apologies for any misrepresentation of the Greatest Nation on earth, but we do have some internal problems which make us look hypocritical and they need addressing.

United States
June 19, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

Propaganda, Eric, propaganda - and you will find your same thoughts repeated endlessly in the news media - tune in and see how much of what you believe was what you were told rather than what you researched yourself. Most of what you will write next was already written elsewhere because everything you know came through the media. I am as guilty of this as you. I believed as well until the lies were exposed. Now that they are exposed, we owe ourselves a duty to become informed of the truth, however ugly it is.

If you care to research the subject on your own, you might conclude that we are in the middle east to liberate the oil because that is about the only thing in the middle east worth anything. Sand has a very low resale value and flies are not in demand. Anything other than oil is just not credible to justify sending US soldiers into the area where most of the people who live there do not want us there. Iraqi people who like America have already left Iraq to come here. The rest prefer Iraq without checkpoints and green zones, according to soldiers who were there.

Freedom is being free from government interference. The people "freed from tyranny" are the dead ones. Those remaining alive still have to deal with increasing oil prices and governments which cannot keep auditable, balanced books, including our own.

Whether foreign policy strains resources, or resources strain foreign policy, is a chicken and egg question - which came first? Does foreign policy matter when you buy fuel for your automobile? Which came first, the Iraqi invasion or the OPEC oil extortion?

Who has more than enough money to manipulate the oil market other than OPEC members?

New Mexico, USA
June 20, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Zharkov in U.S.A. -- Zharkov, you wish you could pass off my words as "propaganda," but when you consider the lack of oil in Afghanistan, and the following... your entire premis falls to pieces.

If you have doubt, ask a Kuwaiti if we liberated them in 91 for their oil.

I guess you forgot that the U.S. is in Iraq today at the invitation of the Iraqi gov.

Google "Michael Yon" and read some of his on the ground reporting. It's a little out of the mainstream, but accurate.

As I said, one must be careful of what one accepts as the truth.

I wonder how the fellow in his cubical in Langley feels now about having said I was "making it up" in 2005 now that a lot of what I told him has become public knowledge regarding Iranian activities. Constituency services is a beautiful thing. His superiors found out rather quickly I was for real. Frankly, I wish I didn't know what I know about Iran. Disturbing to say the least.

Folks at Cabinet level and beyond know what I'm talking about, even if you don't. So don't sweat it, it's been taken very seriously. If it was "propaganda", I wouldn't be blogging, I'd be in jail for delivering falsified info to my gov in a time of war. "It" being classified, I must leave it at that.

So read this and do your own research, things might look a bit different after.



With the support of the United States and international partners, the Afghan National Army is now almost 60,000 strong.

Focused District Development is currently underway in 32 districts throughout Afghanistan. Since November 2007, more than 1,400 members of the Afghan National Police have been trained through the program.

Through alternative development programs, the U.S. paid over $25 million in salaries to more than 270,000 Afghans and helped more than 1 million farmers produce and market high-value vegetable crops.

Governance, Rule of Law, and Human Rights

Provided voter registration, education, and logistical assistance in support of the successful 2004 presidential and 2005 parliamentary elections.

Built or rehabilitated 40 courthouses and justice facilities in 18 projects.

Compiled and published Afghanistan's entire body of law.

Trained over 950 judges and virtually all members of Parliament, legislative drafters, provincial counselors, and journalists.

Established or upgraded 37 independent community radio stations whose broadcasts reach 60 percent of the Afghan population.

Helped establish the Independent Electoral Commission and the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.
Economic and Social Development

Built or rehabilitated approximately 2,700 kilometers of roads, including 715 kilometers of the Ring road, as well as national highways, and provincial and rural roads.

Disbursed over 28,000 micro-finance loans.

Constructed or refurbished more than 680 schools.

Printed and distributed more than 60 million textbooks nationwide.

Trained over 65,000 teachers through radio broadcasts and 10,500 teachers through accelerated learning programs.

More than 170,000 students (55% girls) have completed accelerated learning programs to recover years of education lost under the Taliban.

Built or rehabilitated over 670 health facilities and trained over 11,400 health workers.


Released on June 12, 2008


Latest Stories