Author Topic: Of Tyrants, Oil, and Peace  (Read 2374 times)

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Offline Dan Lauffer

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Of Tyrants, Oil, and Peace
« on: April 18, 2003, 10:25:26 PM »

This may seem a strange topic for this forum. It may even be inappropriate. Then again it may be a very appropriate topic.

Is there anyone unconcerned about the confluence of tyrants, oil, and peace? Does it have theological ramifications? I think the answers to these rhetorical questions are obvious (or is that statement itself redundant).

For whatever it's worth here are some ideas I've had rumbling about in my head on this Good Friday.

First, each country is responsible for its own government. I wonder how far any form of democracy will go in Iraq when the people of Iraq did not fight their own war of independence. But then, few of us know what the people did or did not do to end tyranny in their own country. Perhaps they are more ready for some form of freer society than we know.

Second, tyrants put little effort into developing their own people for fear the people will use the power of learning to develop democratic principles. Tyrants are able to exist and repress their people if they have support from the outside. The West has given that support to the tyrants of the Middle East because of our incredible dependence upon Middle Eastern Oil. Moreover, the boundaries of most of these "nations" were drawn not by the people themselves but by European Colonial powers. One wonders how different the history if that area of the world would have been if the European powers had not forced such boundaries for their own purposes.

Third, I still find it hard to believe that this war was necessary...but the milk is spilt. The theologians task, and aren't all Christian to be theologians even if they aren't "great" theologians, is not to conjecture what might have been but to reflect upon what is? We have fought and won a war. What happens now?

Here are some big "ifs" and possible scenarios that have come to mind these last few days.

1. If we have now shown that tyranny in two lands, Afghanistan and Iraq, will be fought and conqueored is it possible that we will help these lands discover more democratic principles that can be applied to their own situations.

2. If we can do that successfully will we have opened the door to the destruction of cultures? I hope not, but the record of democracy followed by unrestrained capitalism makes the prospect of a culture neutral change pretty elusive.

BUT, if that can be pulled off will that send a message to all of the countries of that region that tyrants can no longer survive and that at least a more tolerant form of Islam will arise. I know, I know, its not very promising that there are tolerant forms of Islam, but stay with me here.

3. None of these "ifs" will succeed unless the West weans itself from its dependence upon oil, or at least from Middle Eastern oil. Sadly, I see very little sign of that happening and its the only area in which the West has some control.

It does seem to me that some of the following must happen in our own country for #3 to happen.

a. We must get back to the idea of conservation. I know what kind of car I'd like to get for my next car but I don't think I will. Big cars don't get good gas mileage. (We own two small cars now.) We must also look at ways of weaning ourselves off of plastics.

b. We must push our nation to explore other forms of energy more fervently and we must be willing to use those other forms ourselves. I remember how much creativity was stirred in the mid to late seventies after the OPEC oil challenge. I haven't heard much recently. We need to get back to that.

c. We must encouraging our government to get on board with oil conservation practices and to encourage the Europeans to stop propping up Middle Eastern tyrants by buying their oil.

d. In the shorter run we must explore for oil within our own country more.

Finally, I've tried to find some good sources for just how much oil we import from the Middle East. I've found one place but I can't find up to date figures for US imports of oil from the Middle East. I've heard that the percentages are down from a decade ago to around 30% from 50% but I can't find confirmation. Does anyone have a good source?

Like I wrote, I don't know if this is an appropriate topic for this forum but aside from very techical sites which often cost money to join I haven't found another forum for this discussion.

Dan Lauffer

Offline sinjinsmythe

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Re:Of Tyrants, Oil, and Peace
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2003, 12:28:33 AM »
First of all, we have plent of oil here in the US located in ANWR and in the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, oil is bubbling up from the surface of gulf because there is so much there. America needs to rely more its self and less on other nations, including the Middle East. The Arab world views the US as a threat.

I also think the current war in America was in part related to oil, with the other part being about terrorism. For example, the Sudan has been identified as playing a role in different terrorist attacks against the US. Sudan is in the process of persecuting many Christians located in the south. Will the US liberate the Christians living in southern Sudan? No, why you may ask? Because western oil companies already do business in the Sudan.

Here is another thing about the war on terror. We cannot find Osama bin Ladin and it has been now two years since the attack. We just liberated Iraq and we don't no where Saddam is. The US has a terrible time of tracking  down people, especially its number one enemies.
Life is just one disappointment after another.

Offline Dan Lauffer

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Re:Of Tyrants, Oil, and Peace
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2003, 07:32:19 PM »
Yes.  But does any form of democracy have a chance in any of the Muslim countries?  Some suggest that Iraq could be because it has so many secular Muslims.  Sufis peace loving folk.  Are there many Sufis in Iraq?  Can the Iraqi's who fled their country make a difference toward democracy or will they be shunned?

Dan Lauffer

Offline uturn

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Re:Of Tyrants, Oil, and Peace
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2003, 08:50:17 AM »
Under the secular Baath Party, Iraq was a dictatorship.

Under the control of the majority Shia, it will be more 'democratic,'--from the pov of the Shia population, since they will have more of a participatory role in the governing of the nation--but I don't believe Iraq will ever be 'democratic' in the Jeffersonian or Western European sense.
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Offline Dan Lauffer

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Re:Of Tyrants, Oil, and Peace
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2003, 04:02:48 PM »

I suppose you are right.  But the shia don't offer much democratic hope.  It is a most discouraging prospect but most fascinating.  It is said that Iran is actually becoming a bit less barbaric than before.  Maybe the Shia's will allow for some freedom.  Maybe... :-

Dan Lauffer

Offline Dan Lauffer

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Re:Of Tyrants, Oil, and Peace
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2003, 04:27:27 PM »
We have had a very astute Shia Muslim young man in one of my classes this past semester. His observation on this subject is that: First, ever since the murder of the last true Caliph of Islam in the tenth century there has been a fear of Orthodox Muslims to stand up against the bullies in their midst. In other words, there is no one who can carry enough authority in Islam to enforce any kind of Orthodox Islam in the Ummah. Second, until the most important form of Jihad is taken seriously by Muslims there will never be any kind of peace among Muslims. The Muslim countries are dominated by self centered leaders who do not care for the people. There are four "Jihads" of which the first is the most important. That first Jihad is the interior striving to keep one submitted to Allah. Until true Godly character returns to Islam there is little hope.

And this is from a very faithful Pakistani-American Muslim.


Dan Lauffer

Offline Buzzard

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Re:Of Tyrants, Oil, and Peace
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2003, 02:17:15 AM »
The Tar Pits of Sodom

In the Later Days
And it came to pass in the days of
Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations;

2 That these made war with Bera king of Sodom,
and with Birsha king of Gomorrah,
Shinab king of Admah,
and Shemeber king of Zeboiim,
and the king of Bela, which is Zoar.

3 All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea.
4 Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer,
and in the thirteenth year they rebelled.

5 And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer,
and the kings that were with him,
and smote the Rephaims in Ashteroth Karnaim,
and the Zuzims in Ham, and the Emims in Shaveh Kiriathaim,
6 And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto Elparan, which is by the wilderness.

7 And they returned, and came to Enmishpat,
which is Kadesh, and smote all the country of the Amalekites,
and also the Amorites, that dwelt in Hazezontamar.

8 And there went out the king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah,
and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim,
and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar;)
and they joined battle with them in the vale of Siddim;

9 With Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and with Tidal king of nations,
and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with five.
10 And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits {# 875 & # 2564}
and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there;
and they that remained fled to the mountain.
11 And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way.
The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.

A “pit” may contain something other than water.
In its first biblical appearance be<er is used of tar pits:
“And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits GǪ” (Gen. 14:10).
A “pit” may contain nothing as does the “pit” which becomes one’s grave (Ps. 55:23, “pit of the grave”).
In some passages the word was to represent more than a depository for the body but a place where one exists after death (Ps. 69:15).
Since Babylonian mythology knows of such a place with gates that shut over the deceased,
it is not at all unreasonable to see such a place alluded to (minus the erroneous ideas of the pagans) in the Bible.


# 2564
2564 chemar { khay-mawr’}

from 2560; TWOT- 683b; n m

AV - slime 2, slimepit + 875 1; 3

GK - 2819 { rm;je
1)   slime, pitch, asphalt, bitumen
Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1995.

Yep a war over Oil

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