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Garrisoning the Global Gas Station

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Michael Klare writes on  the losses to American national security produced by a militarized approach to energy security at Tomdispatch.  In addition to Middle East oil politics, Klare describes the creation of AFRICOM:

This year, the Pentagon will activate the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), its first new overseas combat command since Reagan created CENTCOM a quarter century ago. Although Department of Defense officials are loathe to publicly acknowledge any direct relationship between AFRICOM’s formation and a growing U.S. reliance on that continent’s oil, they are less inhibited in private briefings. At a February 19th meeting at the National Defense University, for example, AFRICOM Deputy Commander Vice-Admiral Robert Moeller indicated that “oil disruption” in Nigeria and West Africa would constitute one of the primary challenges facing the new organization.

AFRICOM and similar extensions of the Carter Doctrine into new oil-producing regions are only likely to provoke fresh outbreaks of blowback, while bundling tens of billions of extra dollars every year into an already bloated Pentagon budget. Sooner or later, if U.S. policy doesn’t change, this price will be certain to include as well the loss of American lives, as more and more soldiers are exposed to hostile fire or explosives while protecting vulnerable oil installations in areas torn by ethnic, religious, and sectarian strife.

Why pay such a price? Given the all-but-unavoidable evidence of just how ineffective military force has been when it comes to protecting oil supplies, isn’t it time to rethink Washington’s reigning assumptions regarding the relationship between energy security and national security? After all, other than George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, who would claim that, more than five years after the invasion of Iraq, either the United States or its supply of oil is actually safer?

Irancove @ June 12, 2008

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