There was always going to be an end to oil. That is, there was always going to be a time, perhaps a century away, when it was going to be economically impractical to retrieve the oil that remained. The people of the world were going to have to figure out how to replace it. I doubt that many people thought that oil would become just another plentiful commodity long before it ran out. But here we are, with the development of renewables, the need to replace fossil fuel burning, and the plentitude of oil and natural gas, driving the price of a barrel of oil to levels far below what is needed by economies dependent on oil extraction and sales.
Venezuela, Nigeria, and a raft of Mid-eastern nations, have economies that are built on the sale of easily extracted oil. To a lesser extent, Canada and Russia have the same problem, though their economies have had a much wider base. The fully dependent nations have not bothered to diversify. In the Mideast, notably in Saudi Arabia, the ruling class has run the show and allowed necessities to dribble down to the lower classes. The Mid-eastern regional culture is often cruel and brutal. What will happen in the future?
Right now, the Mid-east is a mess. People are leaving and demanding shelter before their countrymen and/or other groups can steal all they own and/or kill them. Essentially, many entities are fighting for control of land, people and wealth that is rapidly diminishing. We in the West bear much responsibility for this situation. We are still involved, yet we don’t even have a clear goal. We are happy to charge in and bomb, or arm various groups, and the arms often end in the hands of their/our opposition. Even when we try to supply humanitarian aid it often is taken by entrepreneurs to line their own pockets.
I know we have arms suppliers and manufacturers that love this. They can make fortunes by trade in weapons, and they certainly don’t care about the consequences. They are inanimate corporations trying to maximize profits. It is what corporations do. You can’t blame a table for being a table. But the corporations are doing their destruction in our name. It is up to us to stop it. We need to get our soldiers, drones, diplomats and corporations out of the Mid-east and let the people of that area take over their own destiny.
I’m not naive enough to believe this will result in a happy, healthy and prosperous region. It will still be a mess, but not our mess. The Mid-east must evolve. There is no other way. The history of the past century has shown that trying to force these people into national forms of our design doesn’t work. We have said we are freeing them, but we have never let them be free to design their own future. I know that if we leave, others won’t leave. Other nations will attempt to use the situation to their advantage. But at least, it won’t be us. We can still respond to requests for aid by people. And we can cautiously provide it. But we won’t be spending huge resources of lives and weapons and funds to continue the destruction of those we claim to be helping.