Tuesday, December 23, 2003


In Greek mythology, sirens were sea nymphs who inhabited an island surrounded by dangerous rocks and sang so enchantingly that all who heard were drawn near and shipwrecked. A fitting metaphor for the Bush administration's misadventures with iraqi oil? Development economist extraordinaire Jeffrey Sachs would argue so.

Writing in the Financial Times today, Sachs debunks the Bush administration's neo-realist thinking on American hegemony that views dominance of Middle Eastern oil resources as the keystone to continued U.S. supremacy.

Sachs: "Yet the vice-president's view of US energy security is dead wrong, in terms of both energy economics and geopolitics."

Sachs argues quite compellingly that a vast supply of economically competitive alternative fossil fuels is well within our reach...not to mention potentially vast untapped markets for sustainable energy technology that is languishing amid a dismal market failure (it doesn't help when the latest energy bill passed by the Republican Congress lavishes subsidies and tax cuts on fossil fuel extraction and dinosaur power plants).

On geopolitics, Sachs argues that the American attack on and occupation of Iraq will foment the same disaffection that toppled the U.S. imposed Shah of Iran and is threatening the U.S.-backed monarchy in Saudi Arabia. (Witness an article in today's New York Times: "Talk of Tikrit's Favorite Diner: Hatred of Hussein, Fury at U.S.


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