Michael Snyder writes about "Wars, Rumors Of Wars, Skyrocketing Oil Prices And Global Economic Chaos." He argues that, if we're not running on empty already (though we probably are), we will be if the price of oil continues rising. Ilene
Courtesy of Michael Snyder at Economic Collapse
Did anyone out there anticipate that 2011 would be such a wild year? The year is barely over two months old and we have already seen multiple civil wars erupt, rumors of more wars all over the mainstream media (potentially even including the United States), riots and revolutions breaking out all over the globe, oil prices soaring into the stratosphere and chaos on global financial markets.
So why is all of this happening? Is all of this one big coincidence or is there a reason why we are witnessing such global chaos right now? Is it just coincidence that revolutions have broken out in over a dozen countries in the Middle East all at the same time? Is it just a coincidence that global prices for oil, food and precious metals are all skyrocketing? Is it just a coincidence that world financial markets suddenly seem more vulnerable than at any time since 2008? Looking at what is going on in the world right now, it is very tempting to use the phrase "a perfect storm" to describe it. Unfortunately, this "perfect storm" is very likely to plunge the global economy into yet another financial collapse if it continues to get even worse.
After decades of relative stability, the Middle East has erupted in chaos in 2011. In the post-World War 2 era, we have never seen a time when there have been so many major internal revolutions all at once. All of these simultaneous revolutions are driving the price of oil rapidly upwards.
The price of West Texas crude is now over $102 a barrel and the price of Brent crude is now over $116 a barrel and if the chaos in the Middle East continues those numbers are likely to go a lot higher.
Meanwhile, gold has set a new all-time record this week and the price of silver is absolutely exploding.
In fact, just about every kind of "hard asset" that you can possibly name is going up in price. Investors don't like all of this instability and they are looking for safe places to put their money.
Unfortunately, the global situation looks like it may become even more heated.
The calls for military action against Libya are rapidly reaching a crescendo.
The U.S. Senate has unanimously passed a resolution calling for the UN Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, and many members of Congress are openly declaring that the U.S. and NATO should take unilateral action no matter what the UN ultimately decides.
But implementing a no-fly zone is not a simple thing. It is not just a matter of telling Libya not to fly their planes. Rather, imposing a no-fly zone over Libya would constitute a major military operation.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is even admitting that enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya would begin with a huge military strike.....
"Let's just call a spade a spade. A no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya to destroy the air defenses ... and then you can fly planes around the country and not worry about our guys being shot down."
U.S. commander General James Mattis made a similar comment on Tuesday....
You would have to remove the air defense capability in order to establish the no-fly zone so it - no illusions here, it would be a military operation.
Essentially, imposing a no-fly zone over Libya would be an act of war.
Most of our representatives in Washington D.C. seem to be quite ready to go to war in Libya, but it is another story entirely when it comes to the American people. A recent Rasmussen poll found that a whopping 67 percent of Americans do not want the U.S. to get more involved in the unrest going on in Arab countries and only 17 percent of Americans do want the U.S. to get more directly involved.
But the American people don't get to decide whether we go to war or not. Our leaders in Washington D.C. do. The USS Enterprise and other major warships are on their way to Libya, and U.S. forces throughout the Mediterranean are on high alert.
So could the U.S. really get involved in another war in the Middle East?
Well, if the U.S. and NATO choose to get involved they will do it without the approval of the rest of the world.
On Wednesday, the Arab League issued a statement which specifically rejected "any foreign interference within Libya on behalf of the opposition".
Not only that, but any military action by the UN will most likely be blocked by both China and Russia.
Russia's ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, says that any military action against Libya without UN approval would be a violation of international law....
"If someone in Washington is seeking a blitzkrieg in Libya, it is a serious mistake because any use of military force outside the NATO responsibility zone will be considered a violation of international law."
But Libya is far from the only crisis point in the Middle East.
In fact, a much larger problem may be brewing in Saudi Arabia.
On Facebook, a "Day of Rage" is being hyped for March 11th. Other dates being promoted for "revolution" in Saudi Arabia include March 20th and March 21st.
But if Saudi Arabia sees the same kind of chaos that we have seen in other countries in the Middle East there is no telling how high the price of oil could go.
Could we see $125 oil?
Could we see $150 oil?
Could we see $200 oil?
Saudi Arabia exports more oil than anyone else in the world, so if their oil production gets interrupted it is going to have a dramatic impact on the global economy.
For example, are you ready to pay 5 dollars for a gallon of gasoline in the United States?
For decades, the entire globe has been blessed with very cheap oil and this has resulted in a massive economic boom.
But times are changing.
The economic situation over in Europe is already deteriorating and any additional bad news could plunge that entire continent into a major crisis. A recently released report from Ernst & Young is warning that if oil goes up to 150 dollars a barrel and it stays there, "at least" one eurozone country will default and the entire eurozone will be plunged back into recession.
A much higher price for oil would obviously not be good for the U.S. economy either. Do you remember what happened back in 2008? The price of oil hit a record high in June and then the entire financial system came unglued just a few months later.
But if we see a repeat of 2008 it may be a lot worse this time because the global financial system is now more unstable than ever.
The truth is that the entire world is still trying to recover from the last financial crisis. The Federal Reserve is pumping massive quantities of dollars into the U.S. economy in an attempt to stimulate it back to life, but so far it is not working too well.
The rest of the world does not appreciate all of this "money printing" and the inflation that this is causing is beginning to create massive imbalances on global financial markets.
The world is starting to lose faith in the U.S. dollar. Right now, approximately 85% of all foreign-exchange transactions in the world involve the U.S. dollar. Not only that, 60% of all the currency reserves in the world are in U.S. dollars. With the U.S. dollar rapidly becoming less stable, many are now wondering if it should continue to be used as the reserve currency of the world.
The truth is that if the U.S. dollar falls, it is going to create a tremendous amount of financial chaos in almost every nation on the globe.
Unfortunately, as I have written about so many times previously, the U.S. economy is dying. The U.S. government is absolutely drowning in debt, and leaders all over the planet are calling for the establishment of a new global reserve currency.
The days of the United States being the "economic engine of the planet" are rapidly coming to an end.
The U.S. economy is not ever going to fully "recover". In fact, the U.S. economy is basically "running on empty" at this point as Gerald Celente recently noted during an interview on RT television....
The entire U.S. economy was designed to operate on massive amounts of very cheap oil. Americans do more driving than anyone else in the world. Many of us are so lazy that we won't even walk to a store if it is on the other side of the parking lot.
If oil hits record levels in 2011, it is going to be a massive shock to the U.S. economic system. Any hopes for an "economic recovery" will be completely dashed.
In fact, if one wanted to "take down" the U.S. economy, driving up the price of oil would be a perfect way to do it.
And if one wanted to drive up the price of oil, a perfect way to do that would be to create all kinds of chaos in the Middle East.
So is all of this craziness that we are seeing in 2011 just a big coincidence or is there a reason why all of this is happening?
Please feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the matter below....