Skip to main content

Blood and oil

The murderous regime of the sinister and highly irrational Muammar Gaddafi has turned the full force of its military upon its own people. The horrific attacks on civilians have escalated the death toll into the tens of thousands. Indiscriminate brutality is the order of the day from the despot. This is a regime that has not one shred of legitimacy- it has forfited any right to govern. Yet the Libyan people apparently lack the strength to removed the hated and reviled regime.

Now Gaddafi is bombing his own oil installations, and the impact on the future of his own country is now creating a global challenge. The unrest across the Arab world is damaging the orderly market for oil and gas in a way that could undermine the prosperity not only of the Western world, but the entire world- rich and poor. If the threat of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction turned out to be a chimera, the threat of Gaddafi's oil destruction is all too real.

In the name of the Libyan people and in the interests of humanity, it must surely now be imperative that the Gaddafi regime is removed- by force if need be.

The fact is that the oil industry- upon which we still insist on placing so much reliance for our global energy needs-is not only under pressure in the Arab world. Russia- currently producing more oil than Saudi Arabia- is also highly unstable. In the past two months the country has exported over $12 billion of capital- and this capital flight, if anything, seems set to accelerate as uncertainty continues over the future political environment. Despite being the world's energy and commodity storehouse, and despite the country now, apparently, being showing the fastest growth in the number of billionaires, according to Forbes, Russia now has a truly shocking gap between the rich and the poor.

Meanwhile the definition of what the Putin regime considers to be "strategic assets" has become so wide that few if any industries remain immune to confiscation - outright theft- by the backers of the Putin regime. The latest asset grab has been in Vodka production, and even the retail sector. There is no defence against the arbitrary actions of a government not subject to the rule of law.

This is not a recipe for success, especially when we recognize how fast the poorest in Russia are dying off. All across Europe there are anecdotes of thousands of Russians seeking new homes in the West in order to escape the pressure from armed goons in the service of the Mafia-state. If anything, the situation is worse than ever before. Russia is already in a crisis.

Elsewhere, in the face of the pressure against the Saudi Royal House, the open unrest across much of the rest of the Arab world, and the civil war in Libya, it is clear that the West faces some truly dramatic and unexpected challenges. However, there is a point in the moral compass that we must not forget, and that is the initial challenge of Gaddafi to all the norms of civilisation.

If we duck the challenge he has set us, then the negative impact in the Arab world may be severe- and all the time, the clock is ticking in Russia. The 2010 oil shock may proven more severe and more long lasting than that of 1973.


Popular posts from this blog

Concert and Blues

Tallinn is full tonight... Big concerts on at the Song field The Weeknd and Bonnie Tyler (!). The place is buzzing and some sixty thousand concert goers have booked every bed for thirty miles around Tallinn. It should be a busy high summer, but it isn´t. Tourism is down sharply overall. Only 70 cruise ships calling this season, versus over 300 before Ukraine. Since no one goes to St Pete, demand has fallen, and of course people think that Estonia is not safe. We are tired. The economy is still under big pressure, and the fall of tourism is a significant part of that. The credit rating for Estonia has been downgraded as the government struggles with spending. The summer has been a little gloomy, and soon the long and slow autumn will drift into the dark of the year. Yesterday I met with more refugees: the usual horrible stories, the usual tears. I try to make myself immune, but I can´t. These people are wounded in spirit, carrying their grief in a terrible cradling. I try to project hop

Media misdirection

In the small print of the UK budget we find that the Chancellor of the Exchequer (the British Finance Minister) has allocated a further 15 billion Pounds to the funding for the UK track and trace system. This means that the cost of the UK´s track and trace system is now 37 billion Pounds.  That is approximately €43 billion or US$51 billion, which is to say that it is amount of money greater than the national GDP of over 110 countries, or if you prefer, it is roughly the same number as the combined GDP of the 34 smallest economies of the planet.  As at December 2020, 70% of the contracts for the track and trace system were awarded by the Conservative government without a competitive tender being made . The program is overseen by Dido Harding , who is not only a Conservative Life Peer, but the wife of a Conservative MP, John Penrose, and a contemporary of David Cameron and Boris Johnson at Oxford. Many of these untendered contracts have been given to companies that seem to have no notewo

Bournemouth absence

Although I had hoped to get down to the Liberal Democrat conference in Bournemouth this year, simple pressure of work has now made that impossible. I must admit to great disappointment. The last conference before the General Election was always likely to show a few fireworks, and indeed the conference has attracted more headlines than any other over the past three years. Some of these headlines show a significant change of course in terms of economic policy. Scepticism about the size of government expenditure has given way to concern and now it is clear that reducing government expenditure will need to be the most urgent priority of the next government. So far it has been the Liberal Democrats that have made the running, and although the Conservatives are now belatedly recognising that cuts will be required they continue to fail to provide even the slightest detail as to what they think should guide their decisions in this area. This political cowardice means that we are expected to ch