"There’s a lot of money to pay for this that doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people…and on a rough recollection, the oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years…We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon."
- Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, 3/27/03
Oh, Paul, has it really been four years? 'Cause there have been some problems with that line of thinking.
In honor of this anniversary, I thought I'd pair up my general paranoia and curiosity about Chavez and Ahmadinejad and Putin and dig into exactly how much of our petrol product we import, and from whom do we import it? While pretty, the USA Today graphics aren't exactly concise, and vaguely referenced numbers proliferate the news media as a whole. I wanted it from the horse's mouth, and I wanted to make sure the right numbers were being added, subtracted, multiplied, and divided.
The CIA's Factbook was horribly outdated, estimating consumption and production at 2004 and 2005 estimated respectively.
The horse's mouth:Official Energy Information Administration of the United States US Petroleum Imports
I gathered the numbers in the EIA Report (This is the December 2006 report, released February), and made calculations based on the total petroleum product import from each country.
And what is Mr. Ed saying?
Iraq is still providing us with 3.29% of our petroleum imports. Somehow. Of course, we're paying out the ass for it.
The Persian Gulf countries are supplying 16.36% of our oil imports.
What if OPEC cut us off? 41.16% of our imports are gone.
This one's fun: If we add Amanadinajad to Putin to Chavez and throw in Kim Jong Il and push some regional influence, Libya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Russia, and Vietnam provide 37.45% of our Petroleum products. Throw in Mexico, just to twist the knife, and we could conceivably lose 47.92% of our oil imports.
How could we even wage war against that? We couldn't fuel our machines of destruction. We couldn't lube the gears of Shiva.
I'm not saying this is a likely scenario. But it's nice to have the numbers at a time when war with Iran is looking imminent, King Abdullah just canceled dinner with the president (and called our occupation of Iraq illegal), our list of enemies is growing and their cry is becoming louder. How long before the Lilliputians number so many that they look at each other and say "We could take this fucker." I don't think we're waiting on numbers, just realization.
Our country is talking about alternative energy in the form of ethanol, wind power, and biomass, but it's still in the starts and giggles phase. It's exactly like Darfur: much decrying the situation, but no action to back up the supposed convictions. And without the convictions and without the change, we're the dog tethered to the tanker. It goes down? We drown.
Based on the EIA's numbers, we're a superpower pushing buttons against a world that could shut us down. We might want to pay attention to that.