Reproduced from the "comments" section of today's earlier post:
Again, I'm not out to contend and prove, but would like to clarify. I've lived in Taiwan since 1988, except for 5 years in Oregon, recently. I'm in Taiwan now. The Diaoyutai article does not say what Mike says it says.
Three things matter around these ridiculously tiny islands: national pride/national security (or in Oriental parlance, "face"), fish, and petroleam reserves -- in that order. If the total oil and gas reserves were efficiently harvested, they wouldn't run Shanghai for a week. Everyone knows that. But they would be commercially viable, barring accidents or international interference, so the governments involved all have to somehow answer the question: Why aren't WE harvesting this booty? But a great deal more money is being made between China, Japan and Taiwan (which, as the "Republic of China", officially claims not only the Diaoyutais, but Beijing) and loss of goodwill would more than offset the dram of petroleum available. So they talk about it, they bluster about it, and one HK guy with an ROC flag died after jumping into the sea and trying to reach the main island as the Japanese Navy did maneuvers around his boat.
Of greater practical value are the fish stocks. Fishermen from various nations, or regions, or whatever, go there, get chased off by someone's navy, protest, etc. Again, the question is posed: Aren't these OUR fish? So in order to show its testicles, each government must go through the motions of lodging a protest, etc. And again, nobody lets this get out of hand because the Sony business and the Chinese low-end tech components and the Taiwanese investment are just too important to fuck with for a few fish.
Of greater importance to China -- and presumably Japan, is security. It's hard to imagine a serious military base on even the main Diaoyutai, which is about the size of a football field, thurst out of the ocean by high, jagged cliffs. But an acknowledged (tollerated) 24/7 military "presence" there would block either Japan's southern waters, or put a serious hole in China's eastern perimeter. For this reason, permanent military presence has not been established by either. It is a demiliterized zone - although warships significantly travel there, to renew one claim or another. All parties are very careful not to actually escalate.
There is slightly more oil and gas around the Spratley Islands, south of Taiwan. Again, the total reserves are not much, but worth something. But these are claimed by Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, China ... and of course Taiwan. Taiwan has an airstrip on the biggest island, in fact. Vietnam may have a sub base in the archipelligo and Philippine troops are also stationed around some cays. China considers the whole lot to be part of the motherland, citing the continental shelf, among other things. (The same argument is also employed to demonstrate that Taiwan is an integral part of China.)
My point is that no one is "fighting over the scraps". Everyone is, on the contrary, trying very hard NOT to fight, while at the same time justifying their "sovereignty". These island groups highlight subtleties of Asian politics that differ from the Palmerston/Perry "gunboat diplomacy" of imperial Western powers. China will not take these islands -- or Taiwan -- until the value of trade and the threat of a debilitating war diminish beyond their actual value. And if fighting ever took place, it would not be primarily for the petroleum reserves... it would be for the symbolic confirmation that China was, in fact, The Boss. The PRC is obviously heading in that direction with some enthusiasm, but it's not there yet.
I don't dispute Mike's basic point that resource wars will become fiercer, for ever smaller bits (unless we can somehow, perhaps by Protocol, solve the matters peacefully -- and I'm not holding my breath). But in this case, he's wrongly interpreting a complex, ongoing situation that is not, in fact, escalating. It's important not to let skewed interpretations reinforce existing expectations, 's why I mention it.
As you read the following from the Somali pirates front, bear in mind who's doing the talking:
Pirates Capture Ukrainian Ship Bearing Arms to Kenya
Mysterious Cargo Aboard Iranian Ship Seized By Pirates Raises WMD Concerns
Iran: Pirates and Secret Wars
Last week, the UN approved a resolution allowing foreign troops to pursue pirates on land in Somalia
Africom, here we com. [sic]
This guy has it about right, though I disagree about wealth destruction. There is no wealth as we have known it when there is no energy. Wealth will be measured in completely new (old) ways: food, water, land, shelter, clothing... and gold.
Read the whole story, but this quote knocked my socks off:
"I then showed a chart of the monetary base (all paper dollars and coinage in existence). It took 200-years for the monetary base to go from $0 to $800 billion, but in just the past 3-months it has grown from around $800 billion to $1.5 trillion, and by the time you read this it will probably be surpassing $1.6 trillion. That's double the number of paper dollars in existence since last summer!"
That's one of the reasons he says that what's coming is worse than all previous financial disasters COMBINED. He includes everything from the Great Depression to Weimar Germany, to the Tulip Bubble.
The graphs in the article will look sickeningly familiar to anyone who's ever glanced at the hockey puck curve of population growth since the discovery of oil.
WHERE'S ELLIOT SPITZER WHEN YOU NEED HIM?
There's Good News and Bad News in Recent Events
Michael C. Ruppert
Dec. 18, 2008 10:00 Am PST -- Just after the debacle and demise of Elliot Spitzer last spring, Jenna sent me the below article. What I have listed below is all the reference data I have. (Maybe she can put up a link.) This was some fabulous critical analysis. (I didn't fact check it.)
DID BEAR STEARNS FALL OR WAS IT PUSHED? HOW INSIDER TRADING SAVED JPMORGAN AND LOOTED THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER
Ellen Brown, May 12, 2008
Elliot Spitzer was a serious guy and I have to agree that he was conveniently removed long before he could – as Governor of New York – put some serous people in jail behind this criminal collapse that the elites knew was coming. Sure, the collapse would have been here anyway, but it might have been mitigated much better. (It can still be mitigated much worse.) There is so much yet to come. And old Bernie Madoff, as significant as he is, would have turned out to be a smaller
fish that Spitzer might have nailed a while ago compared the real tuna that have yet to surface. They may never. Elliot Spitzer is a forgotten memory now and Madoff is rattling the world.
Spitzer was a very risky bet all along for anyone believing in white knights. I believe he had some seriously good intent. He had very big cojones for sure. But he did not have a national base and he obviously did not have the smarts or self control to avoid a self-inflicted wound. Way back in the 9-11 movement from 2003 through 2005 there was one activist who just kept insisting that a solitary state politician would crack the case. The activist kept pushing the movement to spend time, money and energy convincing Spitzer to pick up 9-11 and run with it. Petitions, donations, pleas to organize and demonstrate to make Spitzer save the world. All I could say to myself was, "You f—ing idiot." I sighed in disgust at the belligerent naiveté and all the wasted energy and attention that was flushed. At the time Spitzer was the NY Attorney General with no federal jurisdiction or standing to crack anything as big as 9-11. He would never have stood a chance. Without a broad governmental base, especially in at the federal level, Spitzer was totally vulnerable. Using a military metaphor, he had no armor, no air cover, and no heavy artillery.
That particular 9-11 activist is in my number-four spot for having done more to damage the real 9-11 movement over time than anyone else. I'll tell you who the number one and two destroyers of 9-11 were… but that's all you'll get from me: Amy Goodman and Alex Jones (in that order). I just don't have time for dead-end bs. None of us do now. For me the sex life of politicians is utterly irrelevant to anything… Vive la France! Now, some of the less-sophisticated minds who come here will say, "See, this is proof that there's a master plan."… Bullshit. All Elliot Spitzer's public assassination is, is the proof that the dinosaur elites saw the shit storm coming and they cut the legs out from under a guy who would likely – as Governor – have shown the ubiquitous corruption now just emerging in the stark light of day. Do you think Madoff was the end of that? As Bernie Madoff demonstrates, the elites are out of their league now. They are "dying" too. Even the highest rungs must be starting to sense the impending climate change and ecological/energy/economic event horizon that is upon them.
Spitzer's great failing was that he could not control or subvert his personal needs to protect his larger mission. Forget about whether his actions with an escort were right or not. (Like I said, I could care less.) They were, in our ridiculous moral climate… vulnerabilities. They demonstrated a choice of self over service, and risk taking that was not justified if his mission was that important. He handed his enemies the means for his own destruction and you can bet that they could have put him down any time before that. They have handles (leashes) like that on a great many powerful people. For as much as has been thrown at me over thirty years I have never given any reason for anyone to discredit me. That has come at a great personal price. There were risks I just never took, and life opportunities and experiences I avoided just to keep myself on the field. All that could be done to me was to manufacture a fictitious scandal and it failed. It did extract a heavy toll but I'm still here, intact, with a great new book out in a few months. (No announcement yet. Don't ask.)
So I haven't written for a while because everything that is happening is just so smack dab in the middle of the map we made in "Rubicon" and at FTW that it's heartbreaking to watch: The breakdown of the economy, the collapse of moral and ethical standards, and ever-increasing dysfunctionality. Everything is broken. I am saving the really good news for last… It is Christmas time.
DarkNetz commented that she had seen a big CEO on a videotape sounding like he was quoting from my video, "The Truth and Lies of 9-11." He was. She wondered who else read us. I can tell you that a great many powerful people read me and have for years. They are even more powerful than this one CEO. They just dare not mention my name yet. They can't acknowledge Colin Campbell, Matt Simmons, Richard Heinberg and many others either. I am getting less angry about that as time passes because I know that this will pass too. The old paradigm cannot afford to "see" us in the Peak Oil movement. They read us under the blankets with flashlights, afraid of getting caught – like Spitzer with his mistress. They know how accurate our map has been and those executives who did find us have benefitted from our accurate predictions and map making. There's a reason why "Rubicon" was at or near the number one spot in both Politics-Reference and Public Affairs-Reference for the first eight months of this year at Amazon
But, as the old paradigm dies, things will be stripped away until we who have been sounding the warnings will be the only things left to look at.
And talk about accurate predictions. Here's just a few…
CHRIS COX AND THE SEC
Everyone's asking, "How did the SEC miss Madoff? It had warnings. Go back and pick up "Rubicon" again. Look up Chris Cox in the index. You'll find him in the chapter on Russia. He chaired hearings on how the U.S. looted Russia in the late 90s under the direction of Al Gore.
You'll see that he said some honest things but that he stopped short when any political capital he might have acquired from truth-telling turned into possible collateral damage for Republican interests also backed by the now shaken elites who back both parties… But remember, all constituencies are unwinding now. Who are Republicans? Who are Democrats?
Chris Cox is not the brightest bulb on the tree and he is certainly no troublemaker. He was just the perfect guy for SEC as things started coming down.
AND SPEAKING OF RUSSIA…
Bush got his global free-fire on Somalia. But it's not all his. A new player joins the U.S. and Russia in the Global War on Piracy. (I'd call it G-Wop but I'd get sued, rightly, by Italians.)
I described this a week ago. In another recent story from a few days ago I saw that, for the first time ever, China has sent warships to patrol the Gulf of Aden against piracy. OK, let's see. It's the first time Chinese warships have ventured beyond the Pacific and Indian oceans. The US, Russia and China are moving to control the seas around the Horn of Africa and the Straits of Hormuz. It's pretty clear that parts of the die-off map are being handled by the big three powers together. They are moving to control Middle East oil, 60 percent of all the known oil on the planet. I suspect a tripartite and very secret agreement that a lot of the "who-eats-and-who-dies" decisions will be made this way.
But the scariest thing of all is that OPEC has just moved to cut more than two mbpd from production and the oil price is still falling. The elites just cannot control the economic implosion… a supernova implosion it appears.
The Bumpy Plateau, described so accurately and by so many, for so long, is looking like one steep initial crash, followed by a flattening out with maybe a flicker of recovery, then off the cliff we go. The reaction to OPEC's move tells me that we have very little time.
To read more about the Bumpy Plateau go to:
JAPAN AND CHINE FEUD OVER SCRAPS
What this story says is what we told you at FTW for years. All the major powers know there is very little oil left to find and they are fighting over relatively tiny reserves that are close by. We must have published four or five stories on the Sino-Japanese dispute but the first one started came after China tried to extend its territorial waters to the continental shelf. I mentioned it first, vis a vis Japan, in "GlobalCorp", which is proving to be one of my most enduring essays ever. We followed it closely in our section "Key Stories From Around the World" (which is no longer available from the archives but will be next year we hope).
My state is so broke it's shutting down major construction projects and laying off tens of thousands right before Christmas. How is your state doing? I see a bridge collapsed in Atlanta today… lack of maintenance I'm sure. Two nights ago Nat Geo ran a great show on collapsing infrastructure… everywhere. It showed clearly not only how expensive, but how energy intensive it is to rebuild thing like sewers, water pipes, aqueducts, and the grid.
Now the simple, logical thing to do would be to look at three problems: collapsing infrastructure, severe water shortages and near total soil depletion in urban areas and fix much of them with one simple stroke. How? Pass an immediate federal law requiring all states and localities receiving federal aid to review, rewrite, and suspend prohibitions against composting toilets in residences. They're safe. The good ones have no odor at all and are very sanitary, fine for any house… They also produce some of the best fertilizer in the world that doesn't have to be driven anywhere. The human waste not needing to be disposed of wouldn't come flowing out on the streets when there's no money left to fix sewers. The soil would be healthier to plant gardens in, and we'd have flushed that much less fresh water that would then be available to water the gardens. The disease sure to follow from massive sewer failures wouldn't happen either.
Naw! That's too simple.
THE AUTO BAILOUT
At this point, had Bush not done something, he would have made one clear statement above all else. "We know the Big Three aren't going to make it and we're not going to waste a penny on them." That would have been the right decision but we would have seen one go before Barack Obama took office. That might have been a tailspin he couldn't pull out of, even temporarily, by the time he got there. That's all this was… buying a little time.
Could be a nasty protracted cat fight here. It will be a great sideshow at the end of the universe.
MIRACLE ON PENSYLVANNIA AVENUE
OK, now for the good news…
President-elect Obama has named Colorado State Senator Ken Salazar as Secretary of the Interior. Salazar is a really good guy who gets Peak Oil. Here's a quote from Salazar that I used in my new book "A Presidential Energy Policy":
"To hear Bush touting Western oil shale as the answer to $4 per gallon gasoline, as he did again yesterday in the Rose Garden, you would think it was 1908 . . . or 1920 . . . or 1945 . . . or 1974. Every couple of decades over the past century, the immense reserves of the oily rock under Colorado and Utah reemerge as the great hope for our energy future.
"Bush and his fellow oil shale boosters claim that if only Western communities would stand aside, energy companies could begin extracting more than 500 billion barrels of recoverable oil from domestic shale deposits. If only the federal government immediately offered even more public lands for development, the technology to extract oil from rock would suddenly ripen, oil supplies would rise and gas prices would fall.
"Furthermore, energy companies are still years away -- 2015 at the earliest -- from knowing whether this technology can cost-effectively produce oil on a commercial scale…
"… It would take around one ton of rock to produce enough fuel to last the average car two weeks.
"… How is a federal agency to establish regulations, lease land and then manage oil shale development without knowing whether the technology is commercially viable, how much water the technology would need (no small question in the arid West), how much carbon would be emitted, the source of the electricity to power the projects, or what the effects would be on Western landscapes?...
"The governors of Wyoming and Colorado, communities and editorial boards across the West agree that the administration's headlong rush is a terrible idea… "
19 Salazar will stop the last-minute actions of the Bush Administration to favor preposterous oil shale development in their tracks… Again, we have more access. Salazar knows us.
It is pretty clear that Obama is following an FDR pattern in his cabinet. FDR put polar opposites in his cabinet and watched them fight. He learned that way. Like I said from the start, Barack Obama's presidency cannot and must not be judged on a few snapshots (Oh yeah, Polaroid went bankrupt today too.) You have a Neocon, energy idiot as National Security Advisor (Jones) but his portfolio isn't energy is it? What Obama is saying to all of us is, if you've got an agenda bring it forward. We'll listen. Now is the time. The Secretary of the Interior has more influence on domestic energy policy than anyone except the Secretary of Energy and the President.
We have several toes in the door I'm telling you.
DEMOCRACY AND THIS BLOG
This blog is not a democracy. This blog is also not a government. Neither I nor Jenna was elected by anybody.
We have no obligation to let disrupters, mental cases and the ill-informed occupy this space or our minds. This is a self-selected group, run by me and Jenna with the express purpose of facilitating knowledge, information, learning and experience between like-minded individuals. My job (Jenna does 95% of the work) is to make sure that this list functions as effectively as possible. It just so happens that we have chosen to share our discussions in a way that can be read frequently by anyone in the world who wishes too. We have nothing to hide.
We have no obligation to anyone to compromise the effectiveness of our list in the name of democracy because we are not a government. We are problem solvers, not problem makers. Jenna lets the growing number of talented stalwarts see just a little of the huge volume of messages intended to destroy our effectiveness. She is doing a fabulous job and I support her 100%.
We welcome and encourage new participants to comment. That they come with an open mind, a willingness to work a little, and good intent is all we ask.
There are some of you who very shortly will find all of your comments rejected without being read or posted. All I can say to that is… tough shit. We – all of us who work hard to make this blog good – are saving lives. As the skipper, my job is to help make you more productive and
eager to come here every day. That's all I care about.
I can't say how much deep affection I have for the regulars here. Soul mates. Brothers and sisters. Sons and daughters. Family. We're feeding each other health food. It's getting close to Christmas and the thought I'd like to close this long entry with is a quote I got from you guys. Its significance was recently reinforced in something that came up in a discussion between me and a new friend; a talented young writer named Emilie (write your own script). It took on special meaning as I just absorbed and meditated on the myriad ironies that adorn this year's Christmas tree.
This line -- which I got from this list -- sums up my whole life experience more succinctly than anything I have yet seen or heard.
It's not about how large you live. It's about how well you live.
Jenna Orkin adds:
Russia Plans To Test Obama, Diplomat Says
Russia, India China Cooperate On New Aircraft Carriers
Russian Arms Exports To Top $8 Billion
Moscow is also striving to sell more to the Middle East, Southeast Asian and Latin American states.
With the rise of China as a principal export destination and the visit last month by President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia to court Latin American leaders, there are more frequent reminders that the United States is becoming an ever more distant player in the affairs of the region, said Riordan Roett, the director of the Latin American Studies program at Johns Hopkins University.
Russia Blames Dawood Ibrahim For Mumbai Attacks
Russian Warship Sails Into Havana Bay
Russia To Provide Free Fighter Jets In Beirut
Did Bear Stearns Fall Or Was It Pushed?
as per MCR's hint.
EPA Could Speed Up Approval Of Coal Plants
“There are a bunch [of coal plants] that they are going to argue now don’t have to consider carbon dioxide, and which will be beyond the reach of the incoming Obama administration,” said Bruce Nilles, director of the anticoal campaign at the Sierra Club, an environmental group.
Energy Dreams: Looking Towards a Bright Future Using Much Less Energy