Why The Neutralist? The term Isolationist implies a narrow Fortress America outlook and is used as an epithet. The term Neutralist does not indicate someone hiding out from the world. No one calls the Swiss isolationists. The Wilsonian world view is old, tired and wrong. Our interventions have been less and less successful and now the failure can no longer be covered up.
Monday, July 07, 2008
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold
Today on the news, I heard that the Persians have stated they will not change their nuclear program. Now here we are shouting and shouting to them to stop or , or well we're gonna do something.
And we do have the capacity to do something. We can do a lot. Yet they still do not alter their path.
Israel screams it may do something. They too can do something and the Iranian government does the equivalent of a yawn.
Maybe the people who are cheerleading should give it thought.
The above is a digression from the purpose of referencing the poem. If we or the Israelis engage Iran and it does not go well, the ramifications will be vast. The news reports we are all altering our behavior due to high oil prices. It is tight, but most of us can do some workarounds whether it''s carpooling or trading in a Hummer for a Yaris.
Well, what would be the result if the Mullahs get attacked and have a plan and it impedes if not actually interdicts the Straits of Hormuz? At least temporarily the price per barrel will hit astronomical levels. That may be enough to make the words of Yeats' poem real.
In a Parapundit post Randall Parker quotes a Marketwatch article about a happy little prediction
IN 2004, ARJUN N. MURTI, A TOP ENERGY ANALYST AT GOLDMAN SACHS , published a report predicting "a potentially large upward spike in crude oil, natural gas and refining margins at some point this decade." It was a controversial call, with crude around $40 a barrel at the time. But it was right on the money. Four years later, crude is trading around 139. Murti sees energy in the later stages of a "super spike," in which prices rise to a point where demand drops off. In a note last month, he wrote that "the possibility of $150-to-$200-per-barrel oil seems increasingly likely over the next six to 24 months."
Now, few would doubt the possibility. I would not argue the probability as I am not equipped. In a country that has an inflation problem and yet sends out checks to every working taxpayer, I admit to shock if it did not happen sooner or later.
In my previous post, Maybe He Needs To Be A Tad More Skeptical I react to the Skeptical CPA's idea that Israel should take on Shia Iran as defender of Sunnis. He sees good, The Neutralist sees disaster.
If the mullahs have a plan it would probably have something to do with oil. They have no force that can take us on conventionally and if we do not send in land forces that is there only possible option other than mayhem in Iraq. They don't even have to actually set mines, they just have to say they did to devastate futures markets and getting insurance could become interesting.
I waited in line in 1973 for gas. We had money for it, the supply was the problem. If nobody is at the gas station because $10 is too much per gallon, I would be worried about the center holding.
We can probably get by this to another era of seeming abundance. A gradual runup of oil so that we transfer to electric cars over time would have some pain, but is endurable. If Mr. Murti's prediction is exceeded over the weekend due to a tanker blowing up near the straits, even by accident, all bets are off.
An adventure against Iran will not end well.