No Leverage In Saudi Ararbia

President Bush used all his powers of persuasion on King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to raise oil production this morning.

 Saudi Arabia‘s leaders made clear Friday they see no reason to increase oil production until customers demand it, apparently rebuffing President Bush amid soaring U.S. gasoline prices.

So much for our vaunted “special relationship.”

This entry was posted in Business, Economics, Energy Policy, Foreign Policy, Iraq War, Islam, Recession and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to No Leverage In Saudi Ararbia

  1. Rick Turner says:

    I guess the Saudis have enough money to continue using the Palestinians as pawns in their chess game of which the checkmate move is pushing the Jews into the sea. Or maybe CaddyShack George shook with the wrong hand…

  2. STS says:

    Abdullah is doing his best to avoid admitting he ain’t got any more oil. Dissing George is just an “unfortunate” side-effect.

  3. Rick Turner says:

    What will they do in 100 years when it’s all just sand again? Go back to leading caravans of camels across the desert? They’d better start putting solar panels up around their cities…

  4. Morgan Warstler says:


    Let’s asusme SA has no more oil, then it is a good thing we are in Iraq, huh? Because there’s 300B barrels there.

    In truth, that is a far too simple an analysis. There’s much more reason to believe SA is hearing us talk about cutting back demand for oil and refuses to try “flood” the market, while the dollar is being depreciated, and invest into new fields, if the ROI isn’t going to be as great as it is now.

    Again, the answer is IRAQ. In Iraq, we increase production year after year, almost 1Mbpd for the next 5-10 years, until Iraq is the greatest oil producing country.

    Rick, you shouldn’t make light of arab culture, it offends them – someone might cut off your head.

  5. Hugo says:

    And as for “leverage” and all the cash USC has taken off the Wahhabi royals over the years, I can only think to quote that august Trojan, Jess “Big Daddy” Unruh: “If you can’t take their money, drink their liquor, f~@# their women, and then come in here the next day and vote against them, you don’t belong here.”

  6. Jon Taplin says:

    Hugo- On commencement day at USC–I’m speechless. :)

  7. STS says:


    Yes Iraq has important oil reserves. Link between our ongoing occupation and access to said reserves: slim to none. If anything, I’d say the invasion and occupation has made the long term cost of Iraqi oil higher.

  8. Morgan Warstler says:

    STS, I mean this in a good way, but WTF? Are you nuts? Do your remember Saddam? Oil for food? ALL the UN folks being bribed?

    Oil production in Iraq is growing by LEAPS AND BOUNDS – seriously! The deals in Iraq are being done left and right – by US companies OWNED by the California Public Employees (CALPERS).

    I’m asking this honestly, so please really answer. Do you realize we are about to watch a country as poor as Haiti become richer than Saudi Arabia? And LIKE us for making it happen? Do you even consider that possibility? At least like us more than other Arabs have?

    Do you really not believe (think these are lies and propaganda), that we are appreciated for our efforts by many Iraqis? Do you think that they all view us as invaders? And if that’s what you think, what does it take for you to stop thinking that way?

  9. Rick Turner says:

    Morgan, when I think of you, the term “Fool’s Paradise” comes to mind. Do you really think we’re going to go in and get oil in Iraq for any kind of reasonable…say below $120.00 a bbl price? The pipe lines get blown as soon as they’re up and running. The oil gets tapped off before it gets to a port. The oil gets sold to finance liquid copper explosives that rip through a Bradley or Hummer like they were made of rice paper. You’re out of your fucking mind if you think cheap oil is going to flow to us from Iraq. It just ain’t about to happen.

    As for Haiti…you were warned not to take the brown acid…and now you’re hallucinating worse than Alice down the bunny hole. Yeah, Saudi Arabia will have no contemporary income a hundred years from now, but there probably won’t be anyone living there, either, as the sand dunes drift up to the fifth floor of whatever skyscrapers they are now building. The Arab royalty will all be living in London…or Spain or Portugal in a kind of poetic revenge, and their poor will be hoeing land in Palestine a soft breeze away from a nearby Club Med.

    The idea that Iraq oil is going to save our collective asses is just…assinine…

  10. Morgan Warstler says:

    Rick, I don’t think you are admitting the value of $75,000,000,000,000.00. Which is what you get if you multiply 300B x $250… that’s $75T baby.

    $250 being a nice low number for a 30 year average between now and 2038, assuming we drew out 10B barrels a year, which is a hypothetical limit of 28M barrels a day – which means the ability to FIGURE OUT HOW TO SURVIVE without oil.

    That’s something we all have to do. The hippies and the evil capitalists and everyone in between, we are the change we have been looking for – our lives, our children’s lives, and on and on – depend on technologies – many of which have barely been developed. And the only people we can trust to do it is ourselves. Between Silicon Valley and NYC lies the solution that will determine how many people get to live on this planet when there isn’t any more oil.

    Because the alternative is:

    $1000 a barrel, with basically a massive wealth transfer happening between the U.S. (the good guys) and other countries – many of whom want to kill us. That’s KILL us. And make our women wear Burkhas and pray to their god at the point of a sword. Imagine the worst zombie movie. Now imagine it on the brown acid. That’s the alternative you aren’t admitting lies down your path.

    I also don’t think you really watch and follow casualty reports on a trend line.

    If that trend lines continues, the “war” is over. Look, I’m not in the bag for McCain, precisely because I don’t think for a second Obama will change anything about the basic policy of protecting the U.S. non-weaponized supply of oil.

    You say I’m saying crazy shit, but do you notice the 5 MASSIVE “non-permanent” bases the U.S military has been building to protect the oil? You should read up on the Iraqi armies protection of the oil supply. And please admit, PLEASE admit, Sam Powers and John McCain have the same basic idea: US military in Iraq for the next 10 years.

  11. Jon Taplin says:

    Morgan-Rick Turner is more eloquent than usual today. I couldn’t top it if I tried. I will say that the bases in Iraq are not as permanent as you imagine. We had “permanent” bases in Saudi Arabia for years and we quit them in three months. All that is left is a concrete runway covered by blowing sand.

  12. Rick Turner says:

    Morgan, you write as though it was all about us and them…the US and the Arab world. It’s not. It’s much more complex than that. It’s about us and us and us and us and them and them and them and them. Just as a for instance…the Indians and the Chinese are as desperate for energy as we are. Are you going to go to war with India and China when they outbid us for oil on the open market? Or is the idea to prevent any kind of open market? Aren’t open markets the foundation of your libertarian ideals?

    And remember, this is not about OIL it’s about ENERGY. There are a hell of a lot of ways to get a barrel of oil’s worth of BTUs that are cheaper than even $200.00 a barrel oil. So you’re idea that oil will go to $1,000.00 is just a paranoid fantasy. The more oil costs, the better all the alternatives look…even some of the dirty and dangerous ones like coal and nuclear. When those sources are competing with $200.00 a bbl oil, it should be possible to do a clean and safer version of either, and we have plenty of coal and uranium here in the US.

    The nuke option does bother me on three accounts: long term storage of waste, safety given that humans are involved, and the obvious problem with terrorist acquisition of dirty materials. Clean coal with carbon storage may work and be competitive.

    Of course all this means a move to electric cars down the road…hybrids now, all electric later for as many uses as possible.

    Energy costs are going to level out at some point in the future. It will never be cheap again until and unless there are breakthroughs in batteries, super capacitors, or some other (please not hydrogen…) storage media coupled with breakthroughs (right around the corner) with thin film solar panels that can be printed with ink-jet-like equipment.

    When every South-facing roof in America is a power plant, we’ll be able to tell all the oil producers to just go drink the stuff, and we won’t need a military to make this happen.

    Your ideas of using our military might to secure oil in foreign lands is just so pre-21st century as to be both laughable and abhorrent. You’d have gotten along well with King Leopold II.

    The way out of war in the Middle East is by simply not needing anything they have. We’re paying them to promote the destruction of Israel; we’re paying them to kill us; we’re paying them to spread the most radical and backward forms of Islam; we’re paying them to hold their own brothers and sisters down.

    I love that Bush got snubbed by his long term family pals…the guys he goes falconing with. Maybe he’ll start to realize that he, his dad, and all their Texan oiligarch pals made a deal with the devil, so to speak.

  13. Morgan Warstler says:

    Rick, I get it – your world view. And as I say, I’ve spent an awful lot of time studying alt.fuels. So, there’s no reason for us to go over this again.

    I only think what I think, because I understand the high cost of OIL in creating If it was possible to use solar to build solar, I’d be all for it – it isn’t. Concrete, smelting, computers, industry all of it is BUILT on cheap oil.

    In future history, we are ultimately talking about what life is sustainable without oil. And beyond that, we are talking about which country is best able to lead the way in converting limited resources into infrastructure during a very short period of time. And beyond that, we are talking about, me not trusting other countries, and you seeming to love to trust other countries.

    So, rather than just beat the dead horse, let me ask you a question, and we’ll see what happens.

    Let’s assume for discussion’s sake, either Obama or McCain will inherit as situation that is “as stable” or “more-stable” than it currently is in Iraq. For this discussion, just make that once assumption.

    If McCain were to win, and we stayed, I assume you’ll continue to yell we should leave Iraq.

    But if Obama wins, and HE DECIDES that things are actually different than he imagined, or that things REALLY HAVE gotten better – Iraqi parliament has elections in October. They are asking us to stay, they have cut favorable deals with Western Oil companies.

    If in this world, Obama says, “we’re staying” – 50-80K troops will be there for the foreseeable future, will you then:

    1. Keep screaming we have to leave.
    2. Trust Obama’s opinion on the matter.

    Sure, yes, if that all happens AND you pick #2, I’ll get to dance around and have been right.

    But, also, knowing that makes me and others much like me, more willing to support Obama – we figure he’s smart enough to do the right thing, to listen to his chosen advisers, and we’re pretty sure about things on the ground being able to get better.

    I’m interested in fleshing out your purposes. And who you rely on for credibility. Jon you too, please. I’d love to know.

  14. Rick Turner says:

    Morgan, you do not “get my world view” at all. I do not trust those in the Arab world as far as I could spit. Strip away all the oil junk and they still do not like us; they are pining for a return to an Islamic past that came and went…and that they wouldn’t want anyway because it was a much more tolerant and inclusive world than the militant Islamists could possibly handle anyway. Call me an isolationist on this. I propose withdrawing from needing to deal with any of the Arab countries until they can be good neighbors and deal honorably with their fellow world citizens. I also don’t have a particular problem of backing up our insistence that Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, etc. be good world citizens with the nuke option. If Iran, for instance, dropped the big one on Tel Aviv, I’d support there being a very hot crater where Tehran currently sits. And extend that around the map there. I think if the Israeli’s really understood that as policy, they’d back off on settlements, etc., and there would be the possibility of a Palestinian state. Of course the big issue is that the oil rich Arabs don’t really want a Palestinian state other than obtained by killing every Jew in Israel and taking over all of Israel. And these are Bush’s friends…

    There is enough money in the Arab world to make every Palestinian wealthier than the average American…and none of the sheiks would even feel it. There is enough money in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, the Emirates, etc. to turn any Palestinian state into the Garden of Eden.

    The way I see to get from here to there is to a) not need Arab oil, and b) make damned sure that all Arab countries know that there is an assured destruction policy in place for any nuclear attacks on Israel or “the west”. We’re in a new Cold War there which is masked by the hot wars, but it’s just as real. Try this: A nuke on anywhere in Israel will be met with Mecca and Medina being vaporized. Doesn’t matter where said nuke came from… It’s all symbolic anyway.

    I’m also having trouble understanding why, in this age of Google Earth, cheap surveillance drone aircraft, geosynchronous spy sattelites, etc. we don’t know where the hell Osama is. Ditto on how come the Israelis don’t know exactly which rooftop the incoming rockets and missiles were launched from.

    So that’s a bit of my world view.

  15. Morgan Warstler says:

    Yeah, you didn’t answer my question. What you said is good stuff, but I’ll respond when you do.

    I want a record of it.

  16. dc says:

    Y’know, the one thing I keep wondering, after hearing that Bush was asking the Saudis to pump more oil… Do we know that he actually said that? Seriously, I don’t see any reason to believe he didn’t say thanks for keeping production where it is.

  17. STS says:


    Yes we still need oil, even for My point wasn’t that military intervention has no place at all in securing access. It was that the invasion was massive overkill — both literally and figuratively — and will complicate future access in many ways starting with some obvious ones like: a) a nearly broken Army, b) substantial ongoing costs which we are unwilling or unable to fund out of tax revenues, c) ongoing civil war in Iraq, d) lots more recruits for the bad guys.

    Your most credible argument is the idea of “weaponization” — that a pan-Arab New Sultanate under a Saddam would simply stop shipping the black gold. But this is absurd for both economic and military reasons.

    Economic: they can’t point the oil weapon only at the Great Satan in the US. To raise our price of oil, they would effectively have to withhold it from everyone — starving themselves in the process.

    Military: nothing was preventing us from dropping the 82d & 101st Airborne 72 hours after a credible attempt to cut off all sales of oil. Our military “bark” in some ways would have been worse than our “bite” — the invasion has amply demonstrated our imperial ineptitude. (It did demonstrate our massive superiority over Saddam’s comic-opera class military. For a nation that does over half of all world-wide military spending that rates a “meets expectations”.)

    Meanwhile, Osama is still at large, thumbing his nose at us. That can o’ whoop-ass? Seems like it mostly kills innocent bystanders.

    As for the whole Haiti-to-Kingdom of Saudi “Arabian Nights” story, you’re playing a desperate game. Mmmm, maybe in a few decades something will turn up that makes some part of that story sound true? Heh, it’s worth a shot! Let’s just claim credit in advance and skip the whole cost/benefit justification.

    Good luck with that.

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