NC Media Watch

A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Peak Oil Update: Canada oil imports in jeopardy

While we are fiddling over developing our oil shale, China is moving to capture Canada's oil sands. Check out this on Tom Barnett's blog. China is investing in Canada's oil sands and building a pipe line to the coast. Think about the price of oil, when Canada stops oil imports to the US.

Click here for a private e-mail comment. For public comment select comments below.

10 Comments:

Blogger Frederic Christie said...

China's investments are of course blatantly imperial. Their foreign aid to Latin America is largely imperial in ends, as well. However, if they replace us in the world sphere, it is likely the world would be a lot safer.

Sat Oct 15, 02:11:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bo Salisbury said...

Frederic -- What makes you think we would be much safer if they replace us? How about the people of Japan... how safe do you think they would be if China were even to be the dominant force in their region?

Sat Oct 15, 03:23:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Frederic Christie said...

Bo:

Japan invaded China. China has never been expansionist. Even during the Mongol era, they barely attempted to attack Japan (once defeated by the "kamikaze" they left well enough alone), and had a fantastic opportunity to run the planet when founding their trade empires. They didn't. Europe did. America began its empire through incredible violence: the Native American, the Filipinos... China is beginning it with cash. The remaining stickler is Taiwan, of course, but if China were to democratize (as it looks like they may be), Taiwan would probably allow itself to be integrated. Notice that they'd have to be pretty bad to beat us out (want a list of US overthrowing of democratically elected regimes, bombing, etc.?)

Sat Oct 15, 04:10:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bo Salisbury said...

Wow! China is utopia, after all. How can I help to expand their glorious reign of peace?

Sat Oct 15, 05:33:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Frederic Christie said...

"Wow! China is utopia, after all. How can I help to expand their glorious reign of peace?"

I never implied they are utopian. Indeed, I implied that they are currently non-democratic internally. I said nothing about their domestic policies, obviously horrible. But their foreign policy is utopian compared to the US', yes. There is no necessary connection between domestic and foreign policy. Athens and Rome, among the most democratic societies of their time, were also among the most vicious empires of all time.

Sat Oct 15, 06:27:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Frederic Christie said...

I should declare, for the record, that I am for a world with no empires, indeed no nation-states, and will resist China's empire as stringently as I resist American empire. But if our choice is between ours and theirs, I'd pick theirs, in terms of the human impact.

Sun Oct 16, 02:45:00 AM PDT  
Blogger steve frisch said...

I agree that China's investment strategy is blantantly imperial, but then whose investment strategy is not?

China is seeking to secure for itself natural resources which it does not possess at home in an effort to secure its economic well being in the future.

China is using maufacturing and opening new markets to manufactured goods as a means to achieve the end of a modern industrialized society.

That is essentially the strategy that every other imperial power has ever adopted.

But one can engage in economic imperialism without engaging in empire. And a careful read of Chinese history would indicate that territorial empire is not a measure of sucess for the Chinese.

There is no doubt that the excesses of the communist revolution, 60 years of totalitarianism, the cultural revolution, and Tianamen Square are unconscionable.

Consider the gains in Chinese society in realtionship to the starting point.

When Mao wrested control of China from Chiang, the nation was devestated by civil war and the war with the Japanese, still a feudal power, with no economy to speak of, no health care, no state system of education, no major infrastructure, 65% illiterate and completing a 300 year epoch of domination by western powers.

Today China is a modern nation with health care, education, economy, and more individual rights than ever existed under the war lord or western domination model.

And they are poised to give us a run for our money for control of the global economy and markets.

What would we have prefered? War? Empire? Hydrogen bombs?

We should count ourselves lucky that China is emerging more stable than the most critical of historians could have imagined.

They have emerged with a strategy particularly suited to the modern world.

After all is it not the mantra of the west that competition will make us all stronger in the long run? Are we afraid of having to compete with the very social darwinist strategy that the west pursued for 300 years?

Perhaps we better get off our duff's and stop being the end of the Roman Empire. We need to invest in new teechnologies, education, infrastructure, renewables, communications, stopping global poverty and hunger, resouce sustainability and creating the climate for a peaceful economic competition before it is too late.

Otherwise we will find ourselves in the unenviable position of fighting endless wars over resources to sustain life; like water, soil and oil.

And then we will have to choose between empires rather than find a way to prosper together.

Sun Oct 16, 12:06:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Frederic Christie said...

Steve:

I am generally in line with your comments, though remember that we never had the right to be the new Roman Empire in the first place, thereby insuring possibly hundreds of millions (if not billions) of deaths.

China's "capitalist" turn doesn't make me happy, but they're about as capitalist as we are. Their largest corporation is their army (and arguably, ours is as well). The whole economy is fairly much state run. Technically, it's fascist, as is ours and Japan's and everyone else's: state collusion with corporations to produce economic plans. "Free market" capitalism has never been tried, largely because it's a disaster when it's toyed with.

I would prefer not to choose between empires. I would prefer to have none. No gods, no masters.

Sun Oct 16, 01:04:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bo Salisbury said...

Japan had never been expansionist (in modern terms) until they invaded China and everyone else in their neighborhood to secure access to raw materials for their first, modern economic and social transformation. They turned on a dime...

You look to China's history. I look to human nature and what happens to everyone who gets a taste of the good life... as the number of people in China who taste the forbidden fruit grows, I think it would be naive to think China will not put their military to work. If nothing else, it would be crowd control. They are telling us what they intend to do and I take them at their word. Certainly, I don't expect them to invade the US or something, but they have made it clear that they intend to be *the force* in their neighborhood. Perhaps the details are different, but it sounds like the same message Japan preached as they *liberated* China, Korea, the Philippines et al.

By the way, I see no solution... no hope that any of this will change. As I say, it's human nature.

Mon Oct 17, 04:49:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Frederic Christie said...

"Japan had never been expansionist (in modern terms) until they invaded China and everyone else in their neighborhood to secure access to raw materials for their first, modern economic and social transformation. They turned on a dime..."

Largely because, without the industrial machinery they stole from the Europeans, they never had the opportunity to expand. Same with the Europeans. But both of them had violent warlords battling each other for centuries, creating incredibly vicious societies that, once they acquired the infrastructure and unity, simply took their wars to a global stage.

Meanwhile, to show the fundamental disanalogy in your argument, CHINA HAD THE OPPORTUNITY. They had the gunpowder, the population, the unified government, the fleets, etc. to conquer the planet. They didn't do so because they felt it was unprofitable. (For awhile, European colonialism was only profitable because it was pure, vicious extraction: slavery, clearcutting, genocide, etc. The Chinese preferred to establish trade routes and forts, not exterminate the natives).

"You look to China's history. I look to human nature and what happens to everyone who gets a taste of the good life... as the number of people in China who taste the forbidden fruit grows, I think it would be naive to think China will not put their military to work."

"Human nature", hmm? What does human nature tell you? Human nature tells me that people can be violent or pacifist, greedy or generous, sad or happy, etc. We have produced Hitlers and Gandhis, Jesus Christs and Charlemagnes, George W. Bushes and Nelson Mandelas. "Human nature", if we want to be accurate, is a genetic/biological fact, but I know for a FACT that you CANNOT substantiate your prejudices, as that is what they are, with any kind of intrinsic reality.

Meanwhile, I can show you how the varying institutions of culture, polity, economy, gender, etc. tell us quite a bit we need to know about societies and about the behavior with them.

America has among the highest mental illness rates on the planet, according to the DSM's standards (flawed as those may be). Are Americans genetically inferior? Or is it rather that our institutions carry incredible psychic harm? The latter makes sense.

In any respect, even if China only conquers its territory, and even commits horrific atrocities, they'd still need to be pretty bad to beat us out.

"By the way, I see no solution... no hope that any of this will change. As I say, it's human nature. "

And I think this is a great way to justify cynicism, but it has NO REALITY. I can just as easily say human nature leans towards peace and freedom, and find just as much historical evidence to substantiate it.

Mon Oct 17, 11:22:00 AM PDT  

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