Will oil be with us forever?
photo: US Coast Guard/Getty
I mean in the gulf, and the currents of the world's oceans. They say the slick is bigger than the states of Maryland and Delaware combined, so I don't think it's an idle question. A commenter recently asked me why I reference Xymphora, objecting because of his views on Israel. While I am inclined to partly agree with her, I note that he also is a valuable resource in other respects, and gets a lot of things right, like in his discussion of the oil spill crisis.
from "Who's in Charge of the Oil Leak?":
"The Environmental Protection Agency ordered BP to stop using the toxic dispersant Corexit to break up their oil mess in the Gulf of Mexico. BP decided to keep on using it. And why not? They're basically in charge down there.
That is essentially what Mother Jones reporter Mac McClelland discovered when she took a trip down to Grand Isle, Louisiana, in the hopes of getting to Elmer's Island Wildlife Refuge. Except that every time she tried to get to Elmer's Island, a funny thing happened: The cops stopped her. Why?
...BP is now regulating access to a state-owned and operated wildlife refuge. Why? "It's BP's oil." That is a quote, from BP flack Barbara Martin. BP now can prevent journalists from going to Elmer's Island unattended, because they own the oil that is ruining it. "
So BP has usurped the state and federal government's functions, with little to no official reaction against them. I was reminded of this 2008 essay, "From the New Middle Ages to a New Dark Age" [pdf link] from the Army's Strategic Studies Institute, in which author Phil Williams argues that in this new century the primacy of the state will be reduced and powerful forces including international terrorism and organized crime will create a new dark age. I don't remember where I first came across this essay, but it sounds a little like a rehash of Robert Kaplan's The Coming Anarchy, which he quotes.
Also, I note that neither Williams nor Kaplan seem willing to consider the possibility that some US policies such as empowering contractor armies or reckless oil companies might actually cause disorder, even if only inadvertently. They're both smart guys, surely they have a capacity to at least wonder about stuff like that, right? And they both take it as a given that the US must take an active interventionist role beyond our borders. (Of course they're talking military, not ecological interventionism.)