FÎRST of all we saw the Bush-Blair attack on Iraq, whose strategic purpose was to expropriate Iraq’s oil in order to lower the world price to $10 a barrel so as to launch an American century.
That attempt at plunder failed, and its consequences have been a colossal inflation in oil, gas and metal prices, driving the capitalist order into a slump, with oil now at $140 a barrel and speeding towards $250 a barrel.
Now the world is facing slump, starvation, war and revolution.
There have been food riots in Egypt and Jordan, while the whole Middle East is smouldering, waiting for the expected US-Israeli attack on Iran to destroy its developing nuclear power programme to provide energy for civilian purposes.
Brown yesterday pleaded for cooperation between Opec and the West, and for the oil tap to be further opened by Opec, and for the Gulf states to provide another helping hand for crisis-ridden British imperialism. They were asked to provide £100bn in investment so that a massive nuclear power programme can be launched and implemented in Britain in the next 12 years to 2020.
In fact, Brown said that a thousand nuclear power stations would have to be built throughout the world to resolve the energy crisis.
Since US and UK imperialism are bankrupt, Brown has given the Gulf oil states the job of financing this development. He must be joking!
They are to take on this role at the same time as Iran is to be attacked for daring to begin the construction of a single nuclear power station for civilian use!
The reaction of the oil producers to these suggestions was to point out that shortly Saudi oil production will have reached 9.7 million barrels a day, and that the worsening of the capitalist crisis is being caused by the widespread speculation in oil that is taking place all over the capitalist world, as well as the vast fortune that governments such as the British government make out of taxing oil.
The message from the Kings and Emirs was: end the speculation in oil, and slash the taxes on oil and there will be no oil crisis. However, capitalism would no longer be capitalism!
Brown called his plea for help an attempt to avoid the 1970s-style use of oil prices as an economic weapon.
He did not, however, warn of the prospect of new post-Iraq oil wars in the Gulf and the Middle East if Opec did not kowtow to his demands. He did admit that ‘This is a bigger oil shock than what we had in the 1970s. . .’
He envisioned a ‘new deal’ for global energy, building and ‘a greater commonality of interest between producers and consumers’, if the capitalist world is to survive what he termed ‘the third great oil shock in as many decades’, which is having a ‘severe impact’ on standards of living around the globe.
He said that by 2050, the world is expected to need 1,000 new nuclear power stations, 700,000 new large wind turbines and a 600% increase in energy from solar, biomass and hydro-power sources, all presumably to be financed by the Gulf States.
The Opec president, Chakib Khelil, challenged Brown, opposing increased production to counter record oil costs, saying ‘the price is disconnected from fundamentals’ of supply and demand, and warning that ‘It is not a problem of supply.’
He warned that oil was already being sold for worthless dollars, chiding, ‘A lot of people are talking about the uncertainties about the reserves. But what about the uncertainties on the dollar?’
The US energy secretary, Samuel W Bodman, spoke up on Saturday before the start of the summit that insufficient oil production was driving the soaring crude prices. Oil production has not kept up with increasing demand from developing countries including China and India, he said.
‘In the absence of any additional crude supply, for every 1% of crude demand, we will expect a 20% increase in price in order to balance the market,’ he said.
He added: ‘There is no evidence that we can find that speculators are driving futures prices’ to the current record heights.
The United States, Germany, India, Australia and other major consumers came to the meeting appealing for greater supplies.
German Economy Minister Michael Glos said: ‘We need more oil in the world market quickly in order to stop the spiralling prices at the gas pumps.’
They were told that speculation, high Western taxes on oil and the rapidly collapsing US dollar were the problems.
Opec will not be increasing the supply, or cutting its prices, and the Gulf States will not be putting their cash reserves at the disposal of the bankrupt British government to construct its massively expensive nuclear power stations.
The only way out of this worsening world capitalist crisis is for the working people of the world to overthrow capitalism and imperialism, and advance to world socialism, and planned production on a world scale to satisfy people’s needs – this is the way forward.