At one time, President George W. Bush envisioned a cure for America’s addiction to foreign oil. His vision was faulty, and he invited an foreign invasion of the Great Plains. In 2011, United States citizens are being forced off their land for the benefit of foreign countries and foreign based multinational corporations. The change of Presidential administrations has not brought change to the Great Plains and this invasion continues.
Addiction to Subsidised Foreign Oil
Daily, 15 to 20 ships filled with middle eastern oil go from the Persian Gulf through the strait of Hormuz, a narrow channel separating Iran from the Arabian Peninsula. Iranian land based anti-ship missiles could halt the ships carrying nearly a third of world’s oil shipments. Iran does not fire because United States citizens fund and serve in a massive military.
This subsidy of blood and treasure enables multinational energy corporations to buy oil from middle eastern dictators who, like kings of the middle ages, take whatever they want from their subjects. At the expense of their people, dictators enrich themselves, build their police forces and subdue their citizens for so long as the oil lasts.
After purchasing the oil from dictators and being escorted through the strait of Hormuz by US military might, the multinational energy companies sell to the highest bidder. They claim that the prices are set by supply and demand in the free market, but there is nothing free about the process that supplies middle eastern oil.
Like cheap food, subsidised foreign oil has made the United States fat and weak. The United States, once the breadbasket of the world, is now a net importer of food. Countries that once relied upon food from the United States, now import oil and export food. We can’t feed ourselves — as individuals or as a nation. To keep ourselves fed and secure, we depend on subsidised foreign oil.
Due to this absurd arrangement, multinational energy companies are reaping enormous profits while US citizens and US governments go broke in the world’s greatest economic crisis in generations.
Shift the Addiction: Move the Strait of Hormuz to the United States
In wake of 9-11, President Bush implemented two bold plans but without adequate consideration of the consequences. First, he envisioned noble wars of liberation in Afghanistan and Iraq that would stabilise the region and decrease the cost of getting oil peacefully through the strait of Hormuz. He was wrong. Now, to insure the flow of oil, the United States is trying to rebuilding two nations that do not want to be rebuilt by the US. The subsidy for foreign oil is greater than ever.
Second, President Bush envisioned buying fuel, called bitumen, from Canada, our friendly neighbour to the north. He pushed for approval of a bitumen pipeline to be built by TransCanada, a multinational energy corporation headquartered in Alberta. Bush’s vision was wrong again.
TransCanada wants to build the Keystone XL, a 36 inch pipeline to carry 900,000 barrels of bitumen each day from Canada through the Great Plains to the Gulf of Mexico where it can be sold to the highest bidder. Chinese government owned companies have already invested billions to acquire production facilities and pipelines in Canada. If built, the Keystone XL pipeline would be the only way to move Chinese bitumen produced in Canada to a sea port. As the US craves oil moving through the strait of Hormuz, China craves bitumen flowing through the Great Plains in the Keystone XL Pipeline. What will the Chinese do to the United States to insure the peaceful flow of bitumen through the Great Plains? The Bush vision of bitumen from our friendly neighbours to the north was wrong. The Obama administration seems unable to see.
The pipeline stretches across 1,300 miles of land, nearly all of it rural in Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. The route is easily observable on the ground and from the air. It is buried only 48 inches deep and can be reached with a manual post-hole digger in minutes. Building such a pipeline does not solve any problem, but it does make the Great Plains a vulnerable strategic target for those who would disrupt the global flow of fossil fuels. This pipeline does not cure our addiction to foreign oil; it simply moves the strait of Hormuz to the Great Plains.
The Canadian/Chinese Invasion
The bitumen pipeline will only be possible if United States governments permit force to be used against its own citizens. Landowners from Montana to Texas and all the states in between have refused to sell land to TransCanada to build this pipeline. TransCanada intimidated many citizens by threatening to invoke the power of eminent domain — the power of government to take land for public use. TransCanada has made good on its threat and has sued to take land by force from United States citizens. A multinational energy corporation from Canada is forcing U.S. citizens off their land to transport Canadian bitumen — some of it owned by the Chinese government — to the Gulf of Mexico. The Great Plains are being invaded to build an strategic industrial corridor serving foreign countries and multinational energy corporations.