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The Forum > Article Comments > Bush not the only problem > Comments

Bush not the only problem : Comments

By Owen Harries, published 26/10/2007

From global hegemony at the turn of the millennium, the US and the American people are now experiencing a crisis of confidence.

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If you are looking for where future leadership lies then the simplest thing to do is to look at where the energy is and who controls it.

The power of the USA was built upon its huge resource base - especially in energy. In the early 1970's, the USA was the biggest oil producer in the world by far (double that of Saudi Arabia). Then their oil supply began to dwindle and the last four decades have, for them, been about keeping control of the oil flow - with the major world source being in the Middle East.

As we pass the world's peak of oil production (about now) we need to look where the largest sources remain - the Middle East and Russia. The USA will probably ultimately fail to maintain control in the Gulf - although in the process of trying they may mess up the area so badly that the region will not be much use to anyone else (e.g. by attacking Iran which looks increasingly likely). The future world leader will be Russia. They have some oil and the weapons to protect it. (Putin has studied the oil industry closely during his time in the KGB.) Europe is already discoving this inconvenient fact. China will be a player to the extent that they can lock in their future energy supplies and protect them but they will play second fiddle to Russia - for as long as Russia has the most secure reserves.

Leadership requires energy - the USA's time has now passed with the depletion of its internal reserves and the loss of control over other nations'.
Posted by michael_in_adelaide, Friday, 26 October 2007 10:30:00 AM
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The utilisation of 'soft' power via cultural exchange should not be ignored.

neither the Russian federation nor the PRC has the same same ability to to project their cultures like the USA.

Yes both the RF and the PRC will capitalise on their ability to act as authoritatian powers and will continue as now to act as a spoiler against the more 'liberal' west Darfur, Burma, Iran are simply precursers of what is to come with regards to these countries protecting their narrow interests agaisnt world opion (just as the US does in regards to Saudi and Isreal).

Neither the US or the EU should be discounted in the future.
Posted by Chaz, Friday, 26 October 2007 11:52:51 AM
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One possibility is to turn the UN into an actor.

This could be accomplished by replacing selected ambassadors with directly elected representatives.

These representatives would be responsible for taking over the role of global leadership and enforcing the articles of the UN Charter.

Such a reform would be remarkably easy to accomplish. It is not subject to veto, does not require majority support, and is consistent with increasing support for democratization world-wide.

Importantly, it would only take a few middle powers - Australia, Canada, Sweden - to recognise that it is in their self-interest to support elected representation and further entrench a multilateral system where they can "play above their weight".

Once a few states start, it will only be a matter of time before others begin to bandwagon - especially if the trend-setters display sound political judgment.

Simply hoping the United States recovers is not a sound foreign policy position for Australia. Entrenching a global multilateral system that is not subject to the vagaries of US domestic politics must be our first priority.
Posted by sjk, Friday, 26 October 2007 1:10:01 PM
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From a virtual layman whose first job after leaving school early in the Great Depression was driving a wagon team, the Middle East problems to myself are just a carry-on of Anglophilic colonial elitism in the shape of the US and the Blairist UK recently pursuing what the Neo-Cons aptly termed Ownership of the Twenty First Century.

All we have to do is to replace Ownership with Commandship, and we are close, although Blair seems to be now playing a more philosophical role. Not sure about John Howard, however, though his close association with the rightist Hillsong Church, as with George Dubya and his End-Days Believers keep them mentally near the Lord's right-hand.

How so right was Immanuel Kant still a great Christian, when angry with Napoleon for casting out Liberty and Equality to declare himself Emperor, Kant gave voice to which is said to have resulted in our futile attempts to do justice to the following.

A Federation of Nations to Preserve Perpetual Peace, not necessarily in love with each other, but realising a dire necessity for the future.

From this day on not one person alone, nor even one person under God must ever be trusted to rule this world - neither one nation nor one nation under God should be trusted to rule this world.

Certainly if mankind had followed Kant's reasoning, as both Bismark and Maynard Keynes have also reasoned, both WW1 and WW2 might never have been fought.

Also we would never have witnessed a maniac like Hitler, nor would we have what was left of the persecuted Jews reclaiming their former homeland Israel, but sadly with the gifted Grace of just one power, a single power, the former Jews with nuclear armanents virtually have control of the whole Middle East, and if Bush and Cheney have their way, the possible destruction of the oldest power in the Middle-East, formerly ancient Persia.

It is so interesting that our present ultra-right wing thinking is such that the above will easily be called left-wing lunacy.

In some ways looking forward to it.

Cheers - BB, WA
Posted by bushbred, Friday, 26 October 2007 1:45:30 PM
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there's nothing new about america's imperial proclivity:

the iroquois, mexicans, phillipinos, and vietnamese could all say, "so what else is new" about the iraq invasion.

'the resource wars' period we are entering will be an interesting time, and may well result in greatly reduced load of humanity on poor old planet earth, which is a good thing by itself.

but the survivors, if there are survivors, may inherit a world with a rational approach to population control and resource management, with endless supplies of cheap solar power. or they may be living in caves and chipping flint.

however it turns out, dubya will just be a minor footnote to history. it's fashionable to blame him for all that's wrong with current affairs, but he's not even the worst american president in living memory: nixon presided over much grander genocide in south east asia. poor dubya's only claim to fame is trying to match nixon with relatively fewer resources.
Posted by DEMOS, Saturday, 27 October 2007 6:45:48 AM
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Michael in Adelaide, your premise about Putin bringing on a re-rise of Russia possibiy for the good, does not fit in for the total good of the future, according to Realpolitik, but only by the fact that Putin’s persuasive power could be used to stay off idiots like Cheney and Bush from attacking Iran till the US Republicans lose power.

Certainly some sort of commonsense has to be used in the Middle East, especially as Cheney and Bush and Condy Rice could still use foolish little Israel to make the first attack as already has happened with the attack on Syria.

Already many university academics are blaming Israel for most of the problems in the Middle East, as they are just now saying how Tony Blair has only just discovered the real problems in Palestine, where wherever the Arabs move to, they’ve still got Israeli troops watching them like hawks.

With all credit to the Israelis with their ability to plan and put together, apparently they learnt too much from the way the Nazis organized them before the real anti-Jewish horrors began.

Certainly we know the Israeli Jews are not that kind of people, but apparently Blair has become concerned about the way any needed movement for the benefit of the Arabs, has to be under the mindset of the Israelis.

Anyhow, Michael, could reckon that the main thing right now is to prevent an attack on Iran, because it could eventually bring on a nuclear attack from the US, because though North Vietnamese cities suffered record amounts of non-nuclear American bombings during that war, the people never gave in, as it is believed the Iranians will never give in, as they proved during the attack by American-backed Iraq from 1981 till 1989.

Regards - BB, WA
Posted by bushbred, Saturday, 27 October 2007 1:53:08 PM
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