Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Oil embargo on the horizon?

Could it be déjà vu all over again? It very well could. The big deal right now in the United Nations is the idea of recognizing Palestine as a new member of the UN. This is fast becoming a Big Deal, and it could become a big deal gone bad if the UN votes to admit them and the US vetoes that vote. (Somehow, the US apparently has that power.) The brown and squishy would hit the revolving blades right quick like after that. Be ready to duck.

One entirely possible scenario would be a repeat of the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973/74. For those of you a bit foggy on your 70s history (and honestly, who isn’t?), Saudi Arabia, in the fall of 1973, took exception to the US and western Europe backing Israel and stopped shipping oil to one and all. That they withheld five percent of the world’s available oil resulted in a quadrupling of the price of oil. Geez-o-Pete, did we have fun.

If you read my short story, “60 Days Next Year”, posted on the New Colonist web site, much of what I put in that story actually happened all over the US in the winter of 1973/74 as we all scrambled to keep on keeping on. It got ugly blindingly fast. And it could again. All we have to do is be a booger when the time comes.

Twenty-eight years ago, America went to voluntary gas rationing. We used an even/odd system, based on your license plate’s last digit. If your plate ended in an even number, or A through M, you got to buy gas on an even numbered day. If your plate ended in an odd number or N through Z, you bought gas on an odd numbered day. It was a simple system, and it drove us nuts. Sure, you could buy gas every other day, but then again, you also couldn’t buy gas every other day. We went crazy.

People were stealing plates so they’d have one of each. Gas stations were limiting how much you could buy, and if you weren’t a regular customer, you couldn’t buy from them at all. Lines for gas stretched around the block. People followed the gas tanker trucks to see where they were going. It was loopy. And we could go right back to that if we press our luck here real soon.

I am not going to get into a political discussion here about whether or not I think the UN should admit Palestine. I’m pretty sure they’ve admitted worse. I am, and will freely admit to being, a big fan of Israel. Still, I think the US can both back Israel and allow Palestine to be a part of one of the most ineffective organizations on earth. Why not? What does misery love?

But do keep an eye on this one, as a veto by the US will most definitely kick US/Arab relations right in the ol’ camel saddle.

Keep your bike tires pumped.  


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