Monday, January 21, 2008

The Story of Oil, Greed, Religion, and Blood

The story of oil, greed, religion, and blood is as old as the discovery of oil. This story is brought to life in the recent Hollywood movie "There Will Be Blood", starring Daniel Day Lewis as the greedy oilman drilling for oil in California over 100 years ago. Loosely based on Upton Sinclair's novel "Oil", the movie shows oil discovery in San Fernando Valley in Southern California in early 1900s. I must say the performance by Lewis is masterful. The story establishes the link between greed and blood, exploitation and religion, and just base human instincts and its horrible consequences for the people. While the players have changed more recently, this story of oil has continued to play itself out in various ways in the international arena. As the economic dependence of the industrialized world on oil has grown, so have the power and the profits of the oil industry. And the industry has used its power and profits to influence government policies around the world, particularly in the United States. Whether it is the installation of the Shah of Iran, the two recent wars in the Persian Gulf, the US presence in Saudi Arabia or Iraq, or the US Mid-east policy, you can see access to oil as the underlying reason. The manifestations of the resulting conflicts are many. Sometimes it appears as Israel versus Arab conflict, or as Islam versus the West, or Democracies versus Dictatorships, the civilized world versus the terrorists, there is no denying that the fundamental issue has to do with oil in each case. The US anti-war protesters have it right when they say: "Hell No, We won't go, We won't fight for Texaco."
As the world searches for alternative sources of energy, this story may eventually end. However, humans being humans, we are probably going to find another reason to fight. It could be water, or some other essential commodity in great demand and limited supply. Let's just hope the consequences of these new fights are not as deadly as we have seen.

Here's a video clip from this movie:

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