This is not a political blog; this is a blog about books, especially my books. But much of Shock and Awe is about terrorism and the Middle East, and much of Tomorrowville is about the future of the prison system in the US, so I think I’m within my rights to talk about those topics. And, given that we’re in the midst of a presidential campaign, it seems like my patriotic duty to give the candidates some advice about how to handle certain pressing issues—especially since I’m certain they are all avid readers of this blog. Well, except John McCain--he's such a maverick. (Hi, Barack, hi, Hillary! Why, Mister Huckabee, what an unexpected pleasure...!)
Alternative #1. The Northeast Asian Approach
Why has China been so quiet about the genocide in the Darfur Province of Sudan? Because China has become a major importer of crude oil. The China National Petroleum Corporation has invested billions in Sudanese oil, and all their share of production (plus even more bought from other partners) flows straight to China. If the Chinese oil industry has an overriding strategic plan for the next few decades, it is procuring stable, reliable supplies of overseas oil.
So, here’s a simple way to get the US out of Iraq: Let China run the place. The Americans haven’t been able to stabilize the country with 130,000 troops, and oil production, which ought to have topped 4 million barrels per day by now, fluctuates between 1 and 2 million barrels per day.
And why can the Chinese do a better job where the US has failed? Sheer numbers. The population of Iraq is 24.5 million. The population of China is 1,321.8 million.
There are almost 200 Iraqis for every US military person on the ground in Iraq. 200-to-1 is not a good ratio.
I think China can afford to go one-to-one: just send one Chinese citizen to mind every Iraqi, and stick to them like their shadows. Pulling 25 million people out of China wouldn’t even be noticeable: the errors in the Chinese census are larger than that. In fact, send 50 million Chinese, and let them work in shifts around the clock.
You can bet the Chinese would stabilize the place, and you can bet they’d have production up to 5-6 million barrels per day. But wouldn’t that oil all go to China? Yeah, maybe. So what? That would leave more oil from other sources for the rest of the world. And, for those who aren’t familiar with such matters, let me add that Iraqi crude is pretty lousy stuff—high in sulfur and metals, and sort of an environmental nightmare. It’s the kind of oil the US and Europe don’t like in the first place.
There. See how easy that was?
Oh, I'm sure there will be objections from some entrenched special interests. Well, if you don't want to invite the Chinese in, I have another innovative possibility which I'll discuss in my next post...