How Donald Trump saved Civilization (and lost the planet)

22 10 2018

Just found this….  wow…….

 
The controversy swirling around murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been moving Congress towards sending to the White House an Act* imposing broad sanctions on Saudi Arabia, effectively scrapping billions in pending arms sales.

Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said, “The kingdom and all involved in this brutal murder must be held accountable, and if the Trump administration will not take the lead, Congress must.”

***

In internal discussions, Mr. Kushner has urged the president and his aides not to abandon Prince Mohammed. But as Turkish officials leaked details of the grisly killing of Mr. Khashoggi and of the dismemberment of his body, the White House has become increasingly isolated in its defense of Saudi Arabia.

Take a moment and picture this scenario.
Caving to his image-advisors and pollsters who fret about a Blue Tide surging into key states, POTUS inks the sanctions.
As its mercantile supply line begins to dry up, Saudi Arabia does not blink. It does precisely what it said it would do. It retaliates by hitting the world where it hurts most: the oil supply.
For decades Saudi Arabia has been OPEC’s swing vote, able to turn up or down the light sweet crude flowing to international markets. No other producers have either the reserves or production to control the volume and thereby the price of petroleum.
Suppose they tightened the spigot. It would not be enough to merely reduce the flow. If they have learned anything in their years of military alliance with the Great Satan, it is the tactic of Shock and Awe. They close the valves. All of them. Call it the Third Middle East Oil Shock.
In spite of a record production year for the cartel of 32.78 million b/d, US sanctions on Iranian oil and deteriorating output from Venezuela have already begun pushing prices towards $100/barrel. Demand might be marginally slowing in climate-minded Europe or in economically stressed Turkey, Brazil, and Argentina, but in North America and Asia, oil consumption is still on an exponential trajectory. Despite the US’s shale oil production having increased at a spectacular annualized rate of over 5 million b/d (estimated), the hole created by Saudi Arabia’s withdrawal, accompanied by withdrawal of like supplies from its Middle Eastern OPEC neighbors out of enforced loyalty, would dwarf anything POTUS might have thought he held as a hole card.
Economic ripples became waves. Waves became a tsunami. The price of oil shoots to $400/b virtually overnight. It would take some weeks for that price to pass through refineries and reach retailers but already gas stations around the US jack up the price at the pump.
Then the Seventh Fleet sails into the Straits of Hormuz, but it is too little too late. The supertankers are empty. Short of landing the Marines to take the giant oil fields and recruiting an army of production engineers to run them, military options are few, and costly. Saudi Arabia, after all, is armed with state-of-the-art US weaponry, and with its honor at stake, is entirely capable of self-inflicting scorched earth if push comes to shove.
Meanwhile, back at home, everything descends to chaos. Markets crash. The most-energy-dependent sectors scramble to come up with downscaling plans that could keep the doors open, but within weeks — a month at the most — giants like WalMart and Amazon are shuttering million-square-foot warehouses. Freighters turn back to Shenzhen with full cargoes. Bankers are unwilling to extend lines of credit.
Economic contraction would spread like a pandemic across the face of Europe. It would reach into Russia and China, who had imagined themselves immune, but were already weakened by US economic sanctions. China’s giant economy demands 9 million barrels of refined oil each and every day.
Russia, now importing only 30,000 b/d, is likely to be the least harmed by a global energy supply drop, but is helpless to fend off the knock-on effects of global economic downturn, especially when its Chinese trading partner goes belly up. It could extend credit for gas purchases both Eastward and Westward but any expectation that it would be repaid would eventually be dashed. The world economy would be as a boxer who has been struck a knockout blow, still standing, but bound for the canvas.
In Scandinavia and Germany, breadlines form. In Spain and Italy, fascist movements take to the streets and find broad support. We’ve seen all this before, but this is a different beast. The event will be enormous, and it will be fast.
Central Banks and the Fed can meet in emergency sessions but the tools they used in earlier crises are gone, spent in 2008 and the lingering QE programs. In any case, this situation is not something that can be remedied by rejiggering debt. Energy is not money.
The televised bobbleheads we see wringing their hands over the Khashoggi affair, urging POTUS to stick up for “American values” would be mute. Their communications channels would be shutting down in any event. They might busy themselves thinking how they can feed their families as grocery store shelves go empty.
Of course, the other possibility would be that Donald Trump simply refuses to sign the sanctions bill and thereby saves Civilization. That is, until rising temperatures and rising seas erase it from memory.
Donald Trump has a chance here to do the right thing. He can kill Civilization and save the Earth. He just has to stick it to Saudi Arabia.

______

* Before Congress can take action of this kind, it is required to first invoke the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and give the President 120 days to investigate and recommend sanctions. Lawmakers did that on October 18.


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5 responses

22 10 2018
rabiddoomsayer

Not the way I think it will go down, but not impossible.

Saudi Arabia is on shaky ground, an implosion from within is a much more likely scenario. Perhaps an implosion from within the House of Saud itself, MBS’s promotion was not within the accepted rules of sucession and since gaining so much power has done much to alienate other branches of the clan.

Saudi Arabia has started borrowing money, not a good sign for a country that maintains stability by distributing goodies.

22 10 2018
DON OWERS

Would the Saudi’s shut off oil and with it their income? Without food imports there would be riots and the crown prince would be toppled.

23 10 2018
Ozquoll

“Of course, the other possibility would be that Donald Trump simply refuses to sign the sanctions bill and thereby saves Civilization. That is, until rising temperatures and rising seas erase it from memory.
Donald Trump has a chance here to do the right thing. He can kill Civilization and save the Earth. He just has to stick it to Saudi Arabia.”

I’ve thought for a while now that Trump just might crash the world economy badly enough to avert the high end of the IPCC warming estimates. I wondered if the huge China tariffs would be the first domino to fall, but the implosion of the US-Saudi Barbaria alliance would do the trick even more effectively. Of course, with our pathetic 19 days of fuel reserves, I expect Australia will be very badly affected if/when the trouble starts.

23 10 2018
Alexis TK27

Saudi Arabia is dependent on the US for its defence – its armed forces, lavishly equipped as they are, are mainly for show.

It buys most of its food overseas, like already recalled by Don Owers. They may retain enough assets to buy food even with zero income, but how can the food be delivered if the US Navy blocks the ports?

Seizing the oil fields wouldn’t be a difficult task for US forces. As for the foreign engineers and workers to operate them… they are already there! Most of Gulf workers and specialists are not local, they are Americans, Europeans, Asians contractors.

The eventual outcome of Saudi power going berserk, after significant troubles, would be its eviction. In the middle term, infidel forces (Western) would control the Kingdom. In the long term, apostates (Shias, who are the majority of oil producing province) would oust the infidels. And Shias are arch-enemies in the eyes of the Wahhabis, the majority sect in Saudi Arabia.

If Mohammed Ben Salman wished to commit national suicide, he would be stopped by the rest of the Family, the mafia-like group of Saudi royals (thousands of them).

Saudi Arabia might yell, it might even tighten the spigot a little bit to demonstrate bad mood. But if America stopped to sell and most important to maintain the weapons Riyad uses in its murderous war against Yemeni population (up to 13 million people in danger of starvation), that war would rapidly grind to a stop, the Saudi crimes against humankind would be stopped, and Riyad would learn the price of insulting America by murdering a person under US protection (Khashoggi was a resident). The consequences would be entirely positive.

25 10 2018
42degreesS

Is Donald going to risk getting offside with the military industrial complex that reportedly runs the US with the cancellation of US$600 Billion of arms to Saudi Arabia followed by a backlash of oil embargoes just because the death of one man? I’d suggest the Saudis would stare down any attempt by the US to force them into doing anything against their interests. Besides the fall guys are being lined up as we speak.

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