Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Kevin Phillips, the former Republican strategist who helped Richard Nixon win the presidency in 1968, is not happy with the Bush Administration's energy policy. In fact, part of his critique in his newest book, American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century, echoes the critique offered by Michael Klare in Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America's Growing Dependency on Imported Petroleum. Phillips writes (p. 78):

Old-fashioned colonialists, regal and unembarrassed, took physical control of territories, sent in ostrich-plumed governors, minted coins, and printed local postage stamps on which kings or queens gazed proudly over scenes of natives cutting cocoa pods or harvesting tea. By contrast, petro-imperialism--the key aspect of which is the U.S. military’s transformation into a global oil-protection force--puts up a democratic facade, emphasizes freedom of the seas (or pipeline routes), and seeks to secure, protect, drill, and ship oil, not administer everyday affairs. Still, the way in which the United States has begun to organize its national security and military posture around oil is hardly new in spirit, albeit unprecedented in scope.

Yesterday's radical critique has become today's conventional wisdom. Even President Bush has now acknowledged (in the State of the Union address) the dangers of being "addicted to oil."