Thursday, July 21, 2005

The 'Root Problems'

Was over at Wizbang reading this post on P.J. O'Rourke and one of his books. In the comments someone hit the usual 'we need to address the root causes of terrorism' idea, following with 'we need to stop treating the people of the region as the provider for our oil addiction. Which made some things come to mind.

The only reason most of the countries over there have the money and influence they do is oil. It's of very little intrisic value; what value it has comes because it's needed for particular uses. Motor fuels, lubricants, fertilizers, etc. So because there is a use for this stuff, the various countries in the mideast that have large deposits of it have lots of money. Which is one of the reasons I have little patience with the 'poverty' section of the root causes argument; if the upper social levels of those countries weren't looting it, there'd be lots of cash to go around there. But here's where the other thought comes in.

We have lots of people working on alternate energy sources. Some have great hope, some very little, and somebody might well fall over something that can take the place of oil and/or coal as an energy source. Sounds good, right? So what happens when the discovery is made? Whether it's super-efficient solar cells or a way to make oil for $25/barrel from trash or something someone falls over, it means the price of oil drops. A lot. Which is a good thing; less-expensive motor fuels & lubes, and so forth. A good thing. For us.

But if you truly believe that poverty causes terrorism, wait to see what happens to the countries that have lots of money and influence because they have oil. When the demand drops, and the price drops, their economies will go down the toilet. The ONLY reason they became what they are is the need for oil; without that, they go back to being(in some cases) the world's biggest litterbox. And all the people and causes that have been supported by the governments and royal families are going on a diet, and they won't like it. Can you say 'revolutions'? Lots of them? When those governments can no longer buy off their attackers and populations, it will get very ugly over there.

I'm going to have to think some more about this. For the moment, I have to get ready to take my daughter to dinner.


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