The front page of the NY Times this morning was the herald of incredible news about Iran – read the article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/28/world/middleeast/iran-threatens-to-block-oil-route-if-embargo-is-imposed.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha2
The American government has had Iranian sanctions in place since 1987 (details: http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/iran.pdf). These sanctions were directly related to the Iran-Contra scandal.
And now both the US and EU are preparing additional sanctions for Iran. The Iranian authorities have said that they will blockade oil shipments out of the Persian Gulf if the sanctions proceed.
A few words about language here: “Sanctions” might also be defined as “economic terrorism” – particularly if you’re an Iranian. Keep in mind that many countries in the Middle East would prefer that Iran become a nuclear capable country so that they might be the protectors of the region against the west (including Israel).
Threats of an oil blockade are sure to bring even more heat down on Iran, but I would pose the following dilemma for discussion:
The American way of life requires an addiction to oil to be sustained. While this has been the (unquestioned?) norm for all of life (and my parents’ lives for that matter); that addiction is simultaneously destroying our environment, polluting our air, and creating incredible tensions with world neighbors. So if Iran were to blockade a significant portion of our imported oil the consequences will be sky-rocketing oil prices. At the same time, there is talk of the middle eastern oil soon being priced in Euros or the Yuan. This would make the dollar even more worthless than it already is and would make energy affordable only to the 1%.
The predictable next step for the American government to take after sanctions will be war with Iran.
Unfortunately much of America will not question such a war since it will be seen as necessary to preserving our way of life. I would propose an alternative to another war in the middle east: I propose that we de-colonize America and transition into a sustainable civilization that is not dependent on fossil fuels and the subsequent destruction that is inherent in their acquisition and use.
De-colonization would be a dramatic solution, but it would also have numerous positive social and environmental consequences. That’s not to say that it would be easy…