Wars and oil dependency

By Mark Horler, Simpol supporter and networking officer.

There are those who say that the war in Libya is a strategic ploy by the west for oil. There are others, who claim we are doing it to spread our values of freedom and democracy. This article in the Guardian does a decent job of setting outr the opposing sides.

It is hard to say which, if either of these perspectives is correct – or whether, as is perhaps more likely, it is some combination of the two.

What we can say with certainty is two things:

1) Democracy and freedom are values worth sharing. The Arab spring overwhelmingly proved that beyond a doubt.

2) Resources are dwindling and their current usage is unsustainable.


The question we need to ask ourselves is this: is war the solution?

Another question we might ask ourselves is what follows war? Even if we remove a regime that is clearly harming its people, how are we then to ensure that what follows is not the same or worse? How are we to be certain that the values we cherish – democracy, freedom, transparency, honesty, intergrity and so on – are put into place and inform the future of any given nation?

One interesting idea was put forth in this article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/aug/26/libyan-oil-minister-transparency

Is such an idea plausible? Can one national government – particularly in its infancy – go it alone in changing the way governments do business?

Further, we might ask whether there are not non-violent means available that might work to the same ends.

Perhaps most of all, we should be asking ourselves; if this is a war for oil, should we not be looking to reduce our dependence on the black gold? Even the most abundant supplies will not last us long at current rates of consumption.

I neither pretend nor presume to have definitive answers to all the questions I have asked in this piece, but they are most certainly questions that we cannot afford not to ask.


2 thoughts on “Wars and oil dependency

  1. I actually think this war was primarily opportunistic to depose Gadaffi, it was not “pro-democracy” and, anyway, there is no legal or moral way in which such action could be taken. Neither was it particularly for oil because “we” got that anyway. It’ll be no cheaper now, just the money is channelled to different recipients. Who will smile sweetly as they pocket it!

    As for “protecting the Libyan people from their dictator’s malice” well any government takes strong action against riot and rebellion. Witness the UK government recently and its handling of its own riotous assemblies. The Libyan Government had not massacred but threatened the rebels to get them to draw back from their rebellion. In rather lurid language, maybe, but it was only a threat, a thought crime. Standards of living were high as the oil revenues were not “confined to the dictators strongrooms”, as is so often the case. This was more like Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.

    Rebellion and war were wholly wrong and yet, as usual, our pugilistic behaviour gets lauded in the media and there follows large amounts of mutual back slapping bonhomie. Cameron becomes yet another British “War Prime Minister” by hounding out the leader of a small population (7 million or so) with overwhelming and cowardly delivered air power and covert ground troops assisting a pack of chancers and miscreants.

    There’s little doubt that many more have died as a result of our intervention and the country is now deeply scarred whereas, if we had instead continued to work with and support the Libyan status quo there would have been continued opening up of that county’s political outlooks. I guess that would have been the Simpol solution, too.

  2. Hi Greencentre,

    Thank you for your interesting comments. Speaking purely for myself (Mark) I’m inclined to agree with you regarding the opportunism aspect of your post.

    However I must disagree with your analysis of Ghaddafi as a kind of underdog. Ghaddafi was a tyrant, no doubt in my ind and I am not in the least sad to see him go.

    Personally I think the best outcome would have been a non-violent ‘Arab spring revolt’ type response. Such an uprising ensures maintaining moral integrity and – if the evidence from Egypt and Tunisia is anything to go by – the best result as well.

    Simpol itself takes no position on what the best course for Libya should be, purely because Simpol does not involve itself in national matters.

    It is the global implications of the conflict (and others like it) that are pertinent to Simpol.

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