What a fubar, eh?
James Surowiecki aptly captures the idiocy of our belligerence toward Iran:
When buying and selling oil, traders don’t just look at today’s supply and demand. They also try to forecast the future. And if buyers think there’s a chance that supply is going to be lower down the line — because, say, Iranian oil fields will be shut down — they will be willing to pay a higher price today in order to guarantee that they will have the oil they need. That’s why, in the run-up to the Iraq war, oil prices jumped more than fifty per cent. In the current confrontation between the U.S. and Iran, these same concerns create a perverse set of incentives: whenever the U.S. says things that make a military conflict with Iran seem more likely, the price of oil rises, strengthening Iran’s regime rather than weakening it. The more we talk about curbing Iranian power, the more difficult it gets.
There is no way out of this perverse, morally corrosive dynamic other than dethroning oil as the king of the world economy.
Here’s an idea: we could take the money we spent on just one of those carrier groups steaming toward the Persian Gulf and increase our total R&D spending on renewable energy several dozen fold.