In 2000, about half of the oil consumed in the US is produced from domestic sources. another quarter or so comes from Canada, Mexico, and South America (principally Venezuela). Venezuala is in the midst of a crisis, and as a result, oil prices and gasoline prices have spiked. Saudi Arabia has increased production to offset some of this difficulty. About a sixth of usage in the USA comes from the Middle East, principally from Saudi Arabia. Therefore, even big fluctuations in Middle Eastern supply only have but a minor impact on the total picture. If anything, I believe economics would suggest that keeping Middle Eastern prices low would only foster our own dependence of Middle Eastern supply, which is not what Americans want.
From 1980 to 2000, usage of oil from domestic sources has dropped from about three quarters to under a half of total use. It is reasonable to conclude that most of that change has been picked up by other countries in the american continents, not the middle east, because we do not currently get even a quarter of our oil from there. Prices may be influenced worldwide by middle eastern supplies, but we are certainly not locked into sourcing from there.
In 2000, less than half the oil consumed in Europe and over a third of the oil consumed in Asia was produced domestically. it is reasonable to assert he balance is largely derived from sources in the mideast.
From 1980 to 2000, Europe consumes about a fifth of worldwide oil production and the US consumes about a quarter of worldwide oil production. However, in the intervening time, Asian conumption of worldwide production has gone from under a fifth to well over a quarter of total production, and total production has increased about 20%.
I'm not arguing that a war in Iraq is just. I don't know what is right or wrong, good or evil, and I think such concepts are delusional, anyway. However, I see it argued all too often that the US is motivated largely by getting cheap oil from the mideast. This argument is unreasonable. If anything, the opposition of european leaders to war in Iraq is easily argued to be motivated not for wanting peace, but avoiding the disruption of their own sources of oil. I think the cries for peace are a poorly masked greed- to keep prices low, they leave oppressive dictators in power. The US really doesn't stand to gain anything except casualties from a war in Iraq- be it wrongheaded or not, I think the leaders in the US are genuinely seeking more freedom and economic security for people worldwide. Our largest export is our own wealth- we create opportunity and export in in the form of a multibillion ($450 billion?) trade deficit. The USA has always tried to prevent severe currency fluctuation, which benefits foreigners who hold or link to dollars. We are genuinely concerned about the extent to which we export our own wealth, worried that we might destabilize our own economy by exporting so much of it. But we do so knowing full well it only depletes our own wealth in exchange for silly material things, and enriches the rest of the world in the process. We don't need more televisions, more SUV's more toys- we want them, at the cost of our own wealth. We destroy our own wealth at the cost of things- you cannot save and spend simultaneously, and anyone who has ever kept a checkbook knows that this is true. You cannot spend all your life in excess of how hard you work without eventually becoming poor.
Say whatever you want about the USA- that we're greedy, consumptive, overbearing, nosy, whatever. Isolationism would be far more disruptive. Europe is not some haven of peace and rationality- the seventeenth through the twentieth centuries are marred permanently by the imperialistic greed of europe's leaders and their warmongering. The USA does not have clean hands, nor does it go through the pretense of such. We are human. We make mistakes. but we live with the reality that Asia is expanding at an enormous rate, gaining in wealth and population far in excess of so-called western countries. We are the steward of the world, waiting for the day when Asian wealth and living conditions equal and perhaps exceed our own, but we do not want to see such growth at the expense of our own people, either. The reality is, that middle eastern oil is the most plausible key energy source which will drive the factories of Asia and bring western style comfort and wealth to its people, somehow, someday. America will likely never become dependent on middle eastern oil to the level that Asia or Europe will, and in reality, already are.
George Bush is neither the idiot nor the hero people believe him to be. He's an average american, in many ways, a wealthy one at that. I hate his politics but I am free to do so- it is one of my inalienable rights as an american. I do not defend him at the cost of my own freedom nor the freedoms of anyone else. He's a flawed human like all others. It was once the burden of kings to have to look down from horseback at the people he ruled, and just as easily as a spear could bring him low, America stands looking down from the pile of its own wealth and can be so easily struck down and laid low. We know this ans suffer this continually. If you do not like how we manage our wealth, then strive to take it away from us, but don't expect us to kowtow to the bleating of sheep. The weak have only one resource against the strong, and that is intelligence. Make intelligent arguments, then, if America is so wrongheaded.
Did we create the wealth on the backs of native american people and african slaves- yes, to a limited extent. We have also created great wealth from wisely using the brains and strength of people from all nations. Strangely, the vast majority of American wealth is likely derived from the ingenuity of Scotsmen. If we owe any debt, it is to Scotland. Indeed, what national holiday do we celebrate to honor their efforts?
I digress. the point is whether or not oil and american oil companies are driving the politics of the mideast. To some extent, yes, probably. What of Royal Dutch then? or the European oil interests? If you believe the USA to be a bullheaded hawk, then fine, we don't mind the taunts. But we do implore the people of the world to think carefully. You envy our wealth as much as you hate it, and it clouds everything. Should we give it all up in an atavistic apocalypse? what would you have us do? Has socialism really benefitted anyone long-term? Yes, I'm a Republican American, a proud one, one willing to debate and argue even in opposition to other Republicans. I didn't vote Bush into office, but I accept his leadership as much as I challenge it. Be there war, or be there peace, I cannot say. Be it just, or be it evil, it doesn't matter to me. I only wish to live, and breathe, and enjoy the fruits of my labor.
There are no right answers, only the cards you are dealt. All other arguments are vanity.
data from http://www.eia.doe.gov/ - do your own research, and tell me what you find. I reserve the right to be wrong.