Thursday 24 August 2017

Praveen Swami: The West must wean itself off its oil addiction

A woman walks past the Azzawiya oil refinery in Zawiyah, Libya
A woman walks past the Azzawiya oil refinery in Zawiyah, Libya

Praveen Swami

BACK in 1976, the man who founded OPEC, the oil cartel that was threatening to bring the world economy to its knees, held out a grim warning to its members: "We are drowning in the Devil's excrement."

Now, as panicked oil corporations lobby world leaders for military action to stamp out the spreading flames in the Middle East and north Africa, both oil-producing petro-states, the West need to consider carefully the words of the late Juan Pablo Perez Alfonzo.

If the West is to ensure that it doesn't become mired in conflicts across the Middle East, it will need to reduce its dependence on the region's oil. Ending the flow of cash from our wallets to the Middle East will also help build the foundations for a stable, democratic order.

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