Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Oil and imperialism

My latest post at Gristmill is up, dealing with the Empire of Oil. Read the whole thing here.
Angell proposed the remarkable heresy that it didn't really matter who "owned" India so long as British merchants could trade with Indian ones. Meanwhile, efforts to keep India, South Africa, and other colonies within the imperial fold were a substantial net cost for Great Britain. Rather than being a source of national greatness, Empire made Britain less Great with every passing year....

Whether we acknowledge it or not, oil imperialism costs us mightily, as it cost Empires back in the day. You can point to the hundreds of billions (perhaps trillions) for the war, you can point to climate change, you can point to any number of costs -- and the alternatives would be cheaper. (Ask Gar Lipow about that part.) Like the British of the early 1900s, the only thing that stands in our way is making the choice: give up the Grand Illusion that colonies/oil are vital to our national greatness, and decide that it isn't worth fighting a war over.

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