Humble Dogs

That they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts. Matthew 13:15b

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Some History on China and Oil

Some history which may give some insight to the why and how of China, their industrial and foreign policy.

In order to evaluate the pros and cons of the Gateway Pipeline Project, we must first have an understanding of the players involved.

I am not an historian. I am a Canadian citizen deeply concerned about the ecological, environmental and economical effects the Enbridge Gateway Pipeline will have on our country. This report is taken from what I perceive to be factual information from sources I have been able to research and trust to be authentic and factual.

Since the mid ’50s, China has been developing it’s economy out from primarily an agriculture base to what is now an industrial super power. The 1960s saw rapid change as China sought foreign investment and technology in order to compete in international affairs. Many western corporations were attracted to the economic advantages of conducting business with China, a huge low cost labor pool and a huge market for consumer goods of all types. As industrialization took place, so did the need for energy. China has fairly large oil reserves both onshore and offshore which remained virtually untapped until recently. China sought energy sources mainly from nearby Iran and Russia.

Politics of course, has played a huge roll in Chinese industrial development. China and Russia, although both communist, never saw eye to eye on politics. As long as the Cold war between the US and USSR remained, Russian trade with China continued to increase. Since the end of WW2 western interests in the South Pacific played a huge role influencing the politics of the region. China also kept an eye on the South Asian countries stemming the tides of democracy. China proved it’s military interference capabilities first in North Korea in halting democracy in the peninsula and later in Viet Nam assisting the North Vietnamese communist regime to drive out the American forces.

In the late ’70s, China turned south to the Southern countries around Malaysia to further it’s energy supplies. China required more oil resources and looked to Iran. China had border disagreements though with Afghanistan. China needed to come to terms with Afghan leaders in order to ensure a secure and shorter route to it’s largest energy trade source, Iran. This upset the USSR who was experiencing loss of control and influence over it’s southern states and with it direct control over the oil resources in the area. Russia wanted to build a pipeline through Afghanistan to India. The Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979 which led to a 10 year war in which, with Chinese support and indirect US support, drove out the Russians but left a chaotic fragile regime of warlords to rule over the country. A perfect climate for anti-western culture which the Taliban took advantage of along with support from neighboring Pakistan and Iran.

When the US/USSR cold war ended in 1981, it left a huge area of the North Middle East with instability and further unrest threatening access to precious oil resources for western powers. Every country was seeking the control of oil resources and sales and especially the dollars that came with them. During the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the U.S. acted to prevent the confrontation from widening, largely in order to prevent additional disruption to world oil supplies and to honor U.S. security assurances to Saudi Arabia. As a result, the U.S. reacted to Soviet troop movements on the border of Iran by informing the Soviet Union that they would defend Iran in the event of Soviet invasion. The US supplied armaments to the then weakened Iranian Military to back up this promise.

Relying on western promises and oil revenues, the Shah pursued his goal of developing Iran as a regional power dedicated to social reform and economic development pleasing to western countries. Yet he continually refused to allow any civic and political freedom, remaining unresponsive to public opinion. The Shah’s government collapsed following widespread uprisings in 1978 -1979 and consequently an Islamic Republic was formed bound to uphold Islamic law, condemning Israel and it’s allies especially the USA.

After the Soviets were halted in any expansion of access to the Mid East oil reserves, Iran, with a strengthened military, both from US and China, took to widen control over the area by threatening a then unstable government in neighboring Iraq. In 1980, Saddam Hosien attacked Iran in an attempt to gain the upper hand in what he hoped would reunite the State of Persia under his Sunni leadership. The resulting 8 year Iran-Iraq War permanently altered the course of both Irani and Iraqi history. The USA, realizing an eastern influence and fearing loss of continuing supply from the oil reserves, aided the then befriended Saddam Hosien of Iraq, supplying weapons and technology. The Iranian Republic which formally denounced all religion but Islam, found itself cut off from western trade when a UN sanctioned embargo was introduced. With western alienation, Iran was forced to turn even further to China for trade and alliance.

Back in the late 1990s, China was desperately seeking new resources for crude oil which they could control and have dominant access to. The Canadian tar sands at that time were too costly to invest in for an industrial developing nation such as China. China was turning increasingly toward Iran especially with the US threatening a tighter embargo on Iranian exports. China was deliberating with the Taliban to build a pipeline through Afghanistan. The Bush administration disapproved of this deal outright which would give not only the Taliban a huge source of revenue, but strengthen their ability to create havoc against the USA and would also strengthen China’s ability to become the foremost industrial force in the world overtaking the US.

The Taliban out-thought themselves and fell into the trap of attacking the USA by crashing aircraft into the World Trade Center, and the Pentagon, believing that in the event of retaliation they would be aided by Chinese forces as were North Korea and Viet Nam. The US led Western Alliance struck back as planned but, the Chinese, still needing the western nations as trading partners for their growing industrial products, remained ‘supposedly’ neutral and allowed the Taliban, Pakistan and Iran to face the consequences basically on their own.

China is greatly suspected of introducing and aiding both North Korea and Iran in their efforts to gain nuclear energy and weaponry along with the delivery systems and other advanced technology. US State Dept.: “China is estimated by the Federation of American Scientists to have an arsenal of about 180 active nuclear weapon warheads and 240 total warheads as of 2009, which would make it the second smallest nuclear arsenal amongst the five major nuclear weapon states. According to some estimates, the country could “more than double” the “number of warheads on missiles that could threaten the United States by the mid-2020s”. “China has yet to define what it means by a “minimum deterrent posture”. This, together with the fact that “it is deploying four new nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, invites concern as to the scale and intention of China’s nuclear upgrade” “(US) –has concerns over possible Chinese biological weapon transfers to Iran and other nations…and have received reports regarding transfers of dual-use items from Chinese entities to the Iranian government…”

Over the next 10 years, while western nations did their ‘best’ to sort out the Afghan / Pakistan debacle and also keep Iranian interests in check, China went about their goal of securing oil resources with the huge profits they were receiving selling products to western consumers. They have recently secured a deal to build a pipeline through Afghanistan which will tap into the oil fields of Iran and south Afghanistan. They purchased several large shares of energy companies, many operating in Canada. Not only were the tar sands becoming a viable resource, Liquid Natural Gas is in abundance in Western Canada also and China is bent on securing these resources.

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Worth the Price?

Tarsands Oil Exports vs BC North Coast
Which is worth more? Tarsands oil exports to China, or securing the ecology of the BC North Coast. Is it an either or situation? Can we have both?
Enbridge’s economists have calculated that building the pipeline and shipping out Alberta crude will increase the gross domestic product of Canada by $270 billion over the three decades. What is the BC North Coast worth? Can it’s value be quantified in dollars?
Enbridge admits there will be incidents, but can be limited to less than what was spilled at Valdes. Their own analysis predicts 250 kilometers of coast line contamination in the first week after a spill. “Protection of environmental, socio-economic, and cultural sensitivities will be prioritized, and response strategies will be developed to limit potential adverse effects.” NGP-FS-03-003_Emergency Preparedness and Response
The Coast Guard reports 8 incidents in the years 1999-2010 involving bulk carriers and general cargo vessels with experienced captains and certified pilots aboard along the same routes the tankers will travel. The largest of these vessels being less than half the size of mega tankers.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada has identified 15 Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) in the newly designated Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area “… areas worthy of enhanced protection”. http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/329206.pdf
Another important question is; Can Canada trust China?
Are we allowing too much Chinese state controlled investment in our resources? Will there come a time when China is calling the shots? They refuse to ratify an agreement on investments to date. Their foreign policy and actions are abysmal at best.
Is the Pipeline Joint Review Panel just a political facade? Will it’s findings carry any weight in the final decision? PM Harper seems to have already endorsed the project and is about to ratify an agreement in principal while in Beijing this week.
Maybe we can nickname the project, the Panda Pipeline.
Where does the interested Canadian turn for a rational view on the Gateway Pipeline Project?

Fairy Tale Dollars

Once upon a time, the dollar in your pocket had positive value. Money is now only a number in a database. Even the money in your bank account is a fictitious number. Roughly, only 10% of the people could cash in their accounts, bonds, pensions or securities in any given month or even year. That is why the US banks crashed a few years back and required bailouts in order to keep pension funds and savings afloat. Too many mortgages based on fictitious values went sour.

Could it happen again? Yes! The only thing different is the shift in responsibility. Now everyone owes, instead of only the richest who had the most dollar amount to lose.

Will it happen again? Yes! The debt didn’t go away, it is still there – accumulating interest, on a graduated scale. The more the debt, the higher the interest. The deeper in debt, the greater risk of collapse.

Dollar Cycle

There is an old saying, Money is made round to go round. That is no longer the adage. A dollar spent at a locally owned and operated business using local services and selling local products where possible, will cycle in the community approximately seven times, buying more locally produced products and services, paying local wages, paying local taxes, paying for community services. Everyone in the community benefits and more community services can operate effectively and efficiently within budget. There is less unemployment and better paid employment.

Alas, in reality, people tend to spend their dollars at national or even international outlets where, the prices are less but, where the over half the dollar is skimmed off the top leaving the dollar to cycle only, on average, 3 times in the community. Generally the wages are lower, meaning less taxes are paid. The goods and services they offer are mostly imported, jobs and profits leave the country. The footage per retail is condensed leaving less local taxes collected by the community. Whenever a retail giant moves in to a community they will brag about how many people they will employ. In reality, the overall employment level drops as they force local merchants out of business. Local taxes have to increase to compensate for the losses.

Multinational and international retail giants are a lose, lose, lose reality. A loss for the community, a loss for the country and a loss for the tax payer.

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