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Hot & Windy Days

I was scheduled to record an interview with Dmitry Orlov today, and we did speak for a bit, but Dmitry lives on a sailboat, and while he was below deck, the wind was still blowing against his cell phone mic. I'm sure you've had the experience of talking to someone who was outside in the wind. It's very distracting.

Dmitry closed the hatch on his boat, and that stopped the wind noise, but then it got unpleasantly hot inside the boat. Hardly ideal conditions for an interview, so we've re-scheduled. In the time we were talking, Dmitry did mention that an essay by Michael T. Klare called Portrait of an Oil-Addicted Former Superpower has just been published in the Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel.

Here's a sample:
From the end of World War II through the height of the Cold War, the U.S. claim to superpower status rested on a vast sea of oil. As long as most of our oil came from domestic sources and the price remained reasonably low, the American economy thrived and the annual cost of deploying vast armies abroad was relatively manageable. But that sea has been shrinking since the 1950s. Domestic oil production reached a peak in 1970 and has been in decline ever since -- with a growing dependency on imported oil as the result. When it came to reliance on imports, the United States crossed the 50% threshold in 1998 and now has passed 65%.

Though few fully realized it, this represented a significant erosion of sovereign independence even before the price of a barrel of crude soared above $110. By now, we are transferring such staggering sums yearly to foreign oil producers, who are using it to gobble up valuable American assets, that, whether we know it or not, we have essentially abandoned our claim to superpowerdom.

(...)

The managers of these (sovereign wealth) funds naturally insist that they have no intention of using their ownership of prime American properties to influence U.S. policy. In time, however, a transfer of economic power of this magnitude cannot help but translate into a transfer of political power as well.

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