Alwaleed bin Talal, a Saudi Prince who CNN’s Fareed Zakaria referred to as “the central banker of oil,” made a startling and revealing admission during an interview on Zakaria’s CNN show last week.
As it turns out, the Saudis who control an enormous amount of the world’s oil supply are only interested in lowering oil prices in order to avoid the West moving toward alternative energy sources, thus moving away from oil:
“The stiff position of Saudi Arabia, we want the price to be between $70 and $80 -not only to help the West, but also to help ourselves. We don’t want the West to go and find alternatives, because, clearly, the higher the price oil goes, the more you have incentive to go and find alternatives. So, really, our interest coincides with American interest, to have the price for around $70, $80, which is a price good for consumers and producers.”
One should note that this is the same principle used by drug dealers who offer cut-rate narcotics to keep their customers’ addictions sustainable. Furthermore, the notion that these institutions that produce the world’s most valuable supply of energy should have the ability to set these prices without regard for the environment or humanitarian concerns comes with a pretense. This is, namely, that these institutions and their investors, such as bin Talal, ought to have any rights to make decisions over energy at all.
Very little is being done, or (arguably) can be done, about the rising prices of oil legislatively. However, there is a growing consensus among both scientists and foreign policy experts that the West’s dependence on oil is a national security concern. Major General Paul Eaton said last month, “Bringing down consumption of imported oil is very much in the interest of national security.”
The U.S military has also recognized the growing national security threat, putting out the following statement:
“After a decade of waging wars in remote corners of the globe where fuel is not readily available, senior commanders have come to see overdependence on fossil fuel as a big liability, and renewable technologies – which have become more reliable and less expensive over the past few years – as providing a potential answer.”
Of course, the Saudis have enormous geopolical interests at stake in the West staying addicted to the oil supply, as do many U.S-based oil producing corporations. Interestingly, the voices that support these interests in the U.S are generally found working for Fox News Channel, a company in which bin Talal holds a plurality of shares. Amidst FNC commentators’ rants of the need to ‘drill baby drill’ for more oil, Sarah Palin said this week, “I love that smell of emissions.”
To pretend that only Fox News Channel and bin Talal are supporting the efforts to remain steadily addicted to petroleum consumption is misleading. On March 31st, President Obama called for an expansion of oil drilling on US shores, despite most experts admitting that the offshore drilling will yield little amounts of oil. He stated, “Producing more oil in America can help lower oil prices, can help create jobs and can enhance our energy security.” The immediate consequence of this was the merciless bombing of Libya, an oil rich nation, which cost us over $1 billion and cost them the lives of hundreds of civilian casualties.
Perhaps the recent comments made by bin Talal have exposed intentions that should’ve been visible without the disheartening admission. In the meantime, we can hope that the west furthers its investments in clean, renewable and sustainable energy sources instead of investing in “the stiff position of Saudi Arabia.”