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Subtle Parenti

by on April 29, 2013

Subtle Parenti


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  1. If America were able to become less dependent on foreign oil, I feel that it would be an over success for our country. It would drive oil prices down for the American consumers and “the nation’s security is no longer beholden to unstable but oil-rich regions halfway around the world”. However, putting more power into the oil companies that would be in control of extracting the oil on our soil, might be a problem. Currently, the regulations on the oil companies is not strict enough and all of the “normal accidents” may become even more frequent. But, because gas prices will be lower, people will sacrifice the environment and the media will downplay the accidents like they always have been doing.

  2. I agree with tomkohlhauf because if we become an energy independent country it will be a success for the US, but other countries will have to pay the price. The price being catastrophic convergence which is “the collision of political, economic and environmental disasters(Parenti 7).” If America is able to pull this off, then the global price of oil will go down and this can further destabilize countries, such as Bahrain. Benjamin Alter and Edward Fishman state: “the small island monarchy has undergone deeply destabilizing protests since the start of the Arab Spring. A drop in global energy prices would hurt the already weak government, breathing new life into opposition forces.” This can start a revolution within the country and create more problems for America.

  3. I further agree with both the above comments made that it would be a success for America to become less dependent on foreign oil. But I do feel in giving more power to the oil companies does pose as a problem. That as we have already seen in learning about problems will oil, since the industries will have more power and control over it they will further be able to infiltrate the government and media. That accidents will continue to be be down played and this could further decrease regulations and monitoring of all the process that come along with drilling and shipping oil. That these changes although economically succesful for the United States will still environemntally bring about more problems and possibly greater destruction to the environment instead of improving our actions towards it. So although this change would bring about some positives it also comes along with more negatives. Showing how the issue of oil is complex and a problem that will not be easily solved.

  4. Chapin Evans permalink

    “Many will argue that an energy-independent America could simply retreat into isolationism during such a period of turbulence. But American engagement abroad has never been purely about securing access to energy. The United States has benefited as much as any other country from the free exchange of goods, the safety of global sea lanes, the spread of democracy and the great-power stability that have characterized the entire post-World War II era. None of this could exist without the steadying hand of American power. Washington must make abundantly clear that it will continue to uphold this world order — irrespective of its own energy fortunes.”

    This paragraph near the end made me think about power rather than oil. It is an article on oil… but in another sociological sense, the United States’ influence is based on upholding a certain “world order”, based on their view of how the world should work (i.e. the free exchange of goods, spread of democracy and great-power stability) The dependence of oil from the Middle East takes away from this power, and creates troublesome unrest for the citizens and the governing officials.
    The methods in which the US are extracting oil and gas from shale rock formations are, as we have seen, hurting us environmentally. However, the US has ignored this fact because they believe that energy independence and maintaining power is more important. This makes me think that environmental health and changes, even in industrialized nations like the US, are always going to take the back burner to selfishness.

  5. ginner35 permalink

    I agree that the United States not having to depend on foreign oil would be a success for many reasons. However, it is difficult to wrap my head around the idea of making the oil companies more powerful. They have caused many disasters and have the portrait of being dishonest and primarily focused on profit with little regard to safety and health. If the United States were not dependent on other countries’ oil these countries would suffer. Countries like India, Saudi Arabia, Iraq that are poor countries would lose the income they receive from selling their oil. As Parenti states, this would cause a spiral of violence within these countries. He uses the example of suicide rates in India as a result of impossible debt. A similar effect would be felt in these countries if the United States were able to “pull out” and not rely on their oil.

    • I disagree with this article in many ways. First is that the global price of oil would drop significantly… oil is traded gloablly no matter where it comes from, also the demand for oil and gas is growing exponentially from china, India, and Brazil and maybe soon Africa. So the demand will outstrip the now more expensive (to extract) oil making prices at the very least stay the same.
      Another contestation I have is that the United States must remain in these areas to be the worlds police. Russia is not a threat, and why is it the United States job to protect countries like Georgia from the Russians? If we are not invested in Oil then we do not need to protect the saudi’s (they can handle themselves) Why should we bother with Bahrain? all these countries give us now is oil and headaches if we detach ourselves of both won’t we be better off. This interverntionist approach has never led to good things for America (Somalia, Bosnia, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan). Are we so worried about Iran that we cannot dare have less of a presence in the region, even though Israel is our military puppet.
      Energy Independence based on Oil has a dark side but it is none of the things the author wrote about. The world will not be thrown into chaos or poverty. The problem will be that we cannot hope to save our planet if we solely rely on gas and oil to energy. If we can create a partnership with countries in our hemisphere like Brazil, Mexico and Canada (doesnt northern canada get enourmous amounts of sun? Solar panels anyone?) then we can create an energy independant stable hemisphere that is also invested in sustainability. Instead this author worries about how we will keep our military oppression of a region that hates us because we are there.
      One final note on this rant- lets not pretend the United States does things altruistically ever, every foreign action taken by the U.S. has a strtegic purpose and almost never has the only purpose been to set up a demicracy.

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