Friday, July 29, 2005

When Geopolitics Isn't

The terms "geopolitics", like the word "issue", is being misused by people who haven't the slightest idea of what it means. This is particularly true of the "No Blood for Oil!" crowd who probably know very little about blood and nothing at all about how the international oil market functions and the ways in which the U.S. government attempts to insure uninterrupted supplies of oil at affordable prices.

Wikepedia provides a very thorough discussion of the origin and meaning of the term "geopolitics". It can be found here: Geopolitics defined. For the last 100 years the word has had a very specific and generally accepted meaning. Nevertheless, there are those who yearn for an impressive way of talking about energy security policy and have hijacked the word and put it to a different use.

A very good example is an excellent article describing American energy security policy. While it is incorrectly entitled "The New Geopolitics of Oil" it does give an overview of how our government tries to insure that we have an uninterrupted supply of oil at affordable prices. You can find it here: Petropolitics. Two elements of energy security policy it fails to address are pipeline and sea lane security.

When Saddam Hussein was ruling the roost the U.S. got about 3% of its imported oil from Iraq. This is petro chump change. If Hussein had found some way to insure that Iraqi oil didn't get to our refiners alternate suppliers would have made up the difference. In short, Iraq has never been a threat to our energy security nor is it likely to ever be an asset. It will, like any other oil producing nation, sell its oil to the highest bidder via a free market distribution system over which the U.S. has absolutely no control. In the end, "No Blood for Oil" leftists can do little more than darkly refer to "geopolitics" although they have no idea of what that word may mean.

Finally, the accepted primary definition of the noun "issue" has for the last 200 years been a dispute between two or more parties. An acknowledged software bug is not an issue. A concern, reservation, suspicion, problem, defective product or unsatisfactory service is not an issue unless it entails a dispute between two or more parties. Diarrhea is not a gastrointestinal issue. You don't have issues about anything. If you are not involved in a dispute with one or more other parties your life is issue free. Please, never use that word again.

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