Image credit: “Pirate Country” by LizSpikol on Flickr via Creative Commons.
The U.S. economy and national security are in “Davy’s Grip.” In pirate-speak, that means the U.S. is in “fatal danger.” Somali pirates and Middle East tensions have the potential to drag the U.S. into complete depression and unrest. We can lift the U.S. out of her current precarious state, but we need to act fast. If you are concerned about the U.S. economy, energy independence, national security and international relations, then you will want to understand Davy’s Grip.
Why is the U.S. in Davy’s Grip?
There are several reasons why the U.S. is in a dangerous place, and they stem from America’s energy policies and Middle East tensions:
The Suez Canal is one of the world’s most vital pipelines because it allows ships to avoid a 6,000 mile detour around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope. 2.4 million barrels of oil pass through this canal every day. The Suez Canal is controlled by Egypt. Somali pirates have terrorized the Suez Canal for years. But, now that Egypt is experiencing unrest, ships traveling through the Suez Canal lack sufficient military escorts from pirate attacks.
A ferry crosses the Suez Canal. Image credit: “Welcome to Egypt” by tim.md on Flickr via Creative Commons.
Pirate attacks have steadily increased in number worldwide, with Somali pirates accounting for about 94 percent of all attacks.
2011 is predicted to be the worst year yet for Somali pirate attacks, The Economist reports. Over the past five years, pirate ransoms have increased “36-fold,” reports Bloomberg.
The U.S. imports oil from human rights violators like Saudi Arabia instead of drilling for oil on its own soil. The U.S. imports about two thirds of its oil supply and Saudi Arabia is the second highest supplier, after Canada.
Notice how close Egypt is to Saudi Arabia on the map below. Oil shipments from Saudi Arabia to the U.S. and Europe need to pass through the Suez Canal/Sumed Pipeline and the Strait of Hormuz in order to bypass the Cape of Good Hope. Both the Canal and the Strait have been fraught with pirate attacks, which will only increase if Middle Eastern tensions rise.
Global oil prices could skyrocket above $110 a barrel and oil supplies that the U.S. relies on could rapidly disappear if the unrest in Egypt spreads like a virus to Saudi Arabia. Americans are already buried deep under the burdens of high unemployment, rising food prices, foreclosures, deflated investments and a crushing national debt-load. They will be unable to tolerate gas prices over $4 a gallon for long.
As I blogged here, the EPA wants the authority to bypass Congress and regulate U.S. oil companies out of business.
Political map of Egypt. Image credit: “MapsofWorld” online.
How to weaken Davy’s Grip
As I blogged here, the U.S. needs to start minding her own business and stop trying to police the world. We jeopardize our human and monetary resources while angering the militant regimes that we rely on for oil.
We need to drill for oil on our own soil in a safe and independent manner, as I’ve argued here, here and here.
The Obama Administration should start issuing drilling permits to American oil companies. It does not help to merely lift the moratorium without issuing permits. The Los Angeles Times reports:
“The Interior Department lifted the moratorium in mid-October, but because drilling permits have been issued at a far slower pace than before the disaster, the administration has faced criticism from the oil industry, Gulf Coast politicians and residents that a de facto moratorium persisted.”
“If there are no fresh initiatives to deal with pirates, then you can expect 2011 to have many more hijacks and much greater violence against crews,” Captain Pottengal Mukundan, London-based director of the Piracy Reporting Centre, told Bloomberg. It’s time to think outside the box. We can’t allow Somali Pirates to stop American progress. Argh, argh!
Image credit: “Somali pirates” by christian.schuit on Flickr via Creative Commons.
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