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Michael T. Klare on Energy Fascism

Or as Tom Engelhardt puts it, ‘The Pentagon as an Energy-Protection Racket’. Also see Its Oil About Oil

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Is Energo-fascism in Your Future?
The Global Energy Race and Its Consequences (Part 1)
By Michael T. Klare | TomDispatch | 14 January

Excerpt – read full article here

Energo-fascism will, in time, affect nearly every person on the planet. Either we will be compelled to participate in or finance foreign wars to secure vital supplies of energy, such as the current conflict in Iraq; or we will be at the mercy of those who control the energy spigot, like the customers of the Russian energy juggernaut Gazprom in Ukraine, Belarus, and Georgia; or sooner or later we may find ourselves under constant state surveillance, lest we consume more than our allotted share of fuel or engage in illicit energy transactions. This is not simply some future dystopian nightmare, but a potentially all-encompassing reality whose basic features, largely unnoticed, are developing today. These include:

* The transformation of the U.S. military into a global oil protection service whose primary mission is to defend America’s overseas sources of oil and natural gas, while patrolling the world’s major pipelines and supply routes.

* The transformation of Russia into an energy superpower with control over Eurasia’s largest supplies of oil and natural gas and the resolve to convert these assets into ever increasing political influence over neighboring states.

* A ruthless scramble among the great powers for the remaining oil, natural gas, and uranium reserves of Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia, accompanied by recurring military interventions, the constant installation and replacement of client regimes, systemic corruption and repression, and the continued impoverishment of the great majority of those who have the misfortune to inhabit such energy-rich regions.

* Increased state intrusion into, and surveillance of, public and private life as reliance on nuclear power grows, bringing with it an increased threat of sabotage, accident, and the diversion of fissionable materials into the hands of illicit nuclear proliferators.

Together, these and related phenomena constitute the basic characteristics of an emerging global Energo-fascism. Disparate as they may seem, they all share a common feature: increasing state involvement in the procurement, transportation, and allocation of energy supplies, accompanied by a greater inclination to employ force against those who resist the state’s priorities in these areas. As in classical twentieth century fascism, the state will assume ever greater control over all aspects of public and private life in pursuit of what is said to be an essential national interest: the acquisition of sufficient energy to keep the economy functioning and public services (including the military) running.

12 comments on “Michael T. Klare on Energy Fascism

  1. Amina Mire
    16 January, 2007

    Dear Ann,
    many thanks for your wonderful posts and most of all thank for your Michael T.Klare’s piece on Energy Fascism. Bush’s ordering of the Invasion and the occupation of Somalia by the Ethiopian army is also about energy oil/gas buried deep inside the hot sands of Somalia! In the mean, time since the US/Ethiopian invasion of Somalia, there has been nothing of unmitigated death and destruction for the Somalis. The latest information coming out of Somalia indicate closure of free press. We know what silence of the Press could mean for those under foreign military occupation. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6263343.stm

  2. Curtis
    16 January, 2007

    Excellent, if disturbing, post. As the conflict over resources grows broader and more intense, I wonder what will transpire in the realm of propaganda to the contrary.

  3. The Fanonite
    16 January, 2007

    While it is indeed a factor in the invasion of Iraq, I remain generally sceptical of oil as an explanation of all world’s ills, as Michael Klare and Chomsky frequently suggest. Big Oil prefers authoritarian, stable governments and secure supplies, that is why they were keen to have sanctions dropped. Just because Big Oil could benefit in the future from Iraq war does not mean it instigated it, just as Iran gaining the upper hand in the wake of the invasion doesn’t mean Bush fought the war for Iran. It is a war for oil, by not by oil.

    The neocon plan, on the other hand, is to secure oil reserves, so they can flood the market with cheap oil and break OPEC’s monopoly. This is contrary to the interests of big oil.

  4. servant
    16 January, 2007

    Some type of totalitarian mechanism may be necessary if people cannot manage voluntary systems. No one knows what a rational energy plan looks like for the entire planet because no one has discussed it intelligently in open forums. We have plenty of history to point to but very little vision of future alternatives.

    How we visualize the future is important on many levels. For the visionaries among us, I highly recommend Joseph Jaworski’s book Synchronicity. The son of Watergate prosecutor Leon Jawarski who was preparing for the impeachment of Richard Nixon when he resigned – Joseph Jaworski provides a wide range of deep psychology and cultural studies background on his way to positing that how we think about the future is even more important than how we think about the past.

    Jowarski and a group of futurists, philosophers, educators and humanitarians sponsored employeed by Shell Oil company to study how visualization impacts the creation of the future on a planetary scale. He relates that it is very difficult to keep your chin up when contemplating scenarios where the haves use military and economic power to ensure their own security at the expense of the have nots of the world. But he demonstrated time and time again that people begin to see the future differently when they begin to realize that their own hopes and dreams have a real impact on how the future will develop.

    It’s related to the old saying – be careful what you wish for – you might get it.

    But now, because our social structures operate at scales never before imagined, it is even more important for people to discuss what they want the future to look at.

    The most incidious thing about fascism is not it’s totalitarian properties – but the prospect that millions of people would concede their responsibility to define the future to someone else – and say the heck with it – it’s just too complicated. Let someone else figure it out.

    But when we do that – when we concede to governments what we are responsible for – we welcome fascism into our lives.

  5. Amina Mire
    16 January, 2007

    The problem is, however, since the material effects of the energy fascism is not equally existentially felt- as with earlier fascist regimes, fear becomes a powerful instrument so that freedom to think is willing abnegated in exchange for material comfort and security. Thus, Somalis, who are currrently fighting against the Might American military machine- by refusing to give their guns, and who are currently murdered in mass by the US/Ethiopian armies- because they are sitting on some of these dwindling energy resources- do understand ,first hand, what the coming fascist/ racist energy war has in store for them. To see the racist ethos behind the Bush’s energy war, I do recommend a work of fiction but a secret bible of the right wing thinkers and policymakers- “Camp of the Saints.” Like live boat ethnics— allegorical camp can house only finite number of people; so that one must decide who can be allowed enter this “safe: camp.
    “ Michael T. Klare is spot on by identifying Bush’s war against the Muslim world with ideological fascism.
    http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Printable.asp?ID=2135
    http://www.stiftungleostrauss.com/bunker.php?itemid=199
    http://www.vdare.com/roberts/hijacking.htm

  6. servant
    16 January, 2007

    When your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

    We have to ask ourselves, what tool is best for this situation. Maybe the tools we have are not the right ones.

  7. Amina Mire
    16 January, 2007

    “While it is indeed a factor in the invasion of Iraq, I remain generally sceptical of oil as an explanation of all world’s ills, as Michael Klare and Chomsky frequently suggest. Big Oil prefers authoritarian, stable governments and secure supplies, that is why they were keen to have sanctions dropped. Just because Big Oil could benefit in the future from Iraq war does not mean it instigated it, just as Iran gaining the upper hand in the wake of the invasion doesn’t mean Bush fought the war for Iran. It is a war for oil, by not by oil. The neocon plan, on the other hand, is to secure oil reserves, so they can flood the market with cheap oil and break OPEC’s monopoly. This is contrary to the interests of big oil.”

    Whether working with the paradigm of the “tragedy of the commons” M Klare’s brilliant thesis, Energy fascism- what is at issue here is these are finite commodities. That means who can have them will not be decided by “invisible hand of the market” forces; the invisible hand of the market is often guided by the visible hand military might.-
    And is arguing that Bush’ and neocons are interested in the “stability” of the conquered societies? In fact, their stated strategy has been one of deliberate escalation of instability and fragmentation of the institutions of the nation state of theses nations.

    Second, the tacit recuperation of the language of clanism, tribalism is often used so that, in the case of Iraqi, through systematic targeted assassination and by mass displacements, urban professional classes are eleminted or marginalized so that- today- media representations of the Iraq war often use orientalists racist discourse of “sectarian violence”! As result , nationalist struggle against the colonial imposition is discursively erased!
    Third, instigating civil wars which can lead to the break up of these countries—by weakening these nations culturally, militarily and politically it is possible to make bilateral deals with little entities. The Bush administration and neocons have, almost, achieve that in Iraq and they have the same formula in mind for Somalia, etc. I know racist nature of the coming energy fascism is ugly, but we have been here before—less we forget the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and Conquest of the America, Africa and Asia!
    There is nothing particularly controversial Michael Klare’s thesis!

  8. Amina Mire
    16 January, 2007

    Hello Ann et al.
    I just came across this interesting piece by an Iraqi academic based in the UK. it will be nice to see how his views support M Klare’sthesis on E Fascism.

    here is the link
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,,329686488-103677,00.html

  9. homeyra
    16 January, 2007

    Is this really far-fetched?

    While he is at it, Mr. Bush would mess around the area, and implement enough disorder.
    Then he will be impeached or resign and whatever. A new president will arrive. Everybody will loath Mr. B. The new president will have the highest possible polls.
    In the meanwhile the whole Middle East will be weak enough for decades. The oil strategy would be a success, and the popularity of the next president guarantied.

  10. Amina Mire
    16 January, 2007

    Homeyra,
    Spot on! That was always their plan– they are not crazy- these are militasitic capitalists!

  11. peoplesgeography
    16 January, 2007

    Thanks very much indeed for the thoughtful comments and valuable links, greatly appreciated and response forthcoming shortly

  12. peoplesgeography
    17 January, 2007

    Crazy hectic sleep-deprived period at present, but will come back to this.

    Meantime: this one’s for Amina (you may already have seen it, it was in The Toronto Star) re. black-out of media:

    Somalia Shuts Down Four Broadcasters

    and one from The Black Commentator

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