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Peak oil is a concept that connotes the maximum amount of oil that can be produced from any given region or area considering that oil is a limited resource which can be exhausted. When talking about security in matters concerning peak oil, it basically means energy security. Energy security therefore means having enough oil to fulfil energy needs of a country, region, or the globe. Peak oil as well as the rate of dependence on oil in the world both affects energy security. Currently, 40 per cent of the world’s energy needs are dependent on oil. This figure is even higher in the transportation sector where the world’s energy needs rises to 70 percent as far as the use of oil products such as diesel, petrol, and natural gas are concerned. As the world’s oil needs remain high, various surveys show a decline in energy reserves. For instance, according to a 2010 geological survey done in Alaska, there is a drop of 90% in this national reserve of unexploited oil. Currently, there are 896 million barrels which is drop from the 10.6 billion barrels reported in 2002. This scenario paints a gloomy picture of U.S’s peak oil situation hence emphasizing for the needs for policy makers to come up with strategies of catering for energy needs in situations of peak oil and after peak oil. There is need to look at ways of conservational use of oil energy and reduction the world’s rate of dependence on oil energy. This is important so as to avoid a scenario where the world is caught unawares by declined oil reserves in the near future.
Peak oil is a very precarious situation and although it is still not clear whether it will occur in the coming future, there is no doubt that it will pose serious security threats in case it occurs. To further complicate matters, although the International Energy Agency (IEA) has been mandated with the role of control world energy, it has been accused of being apparently helpless to carry out this mandate. In case of occurrence of peak oil, there is little confidence that this energy body can help cushion the world from the pangs of such a crisis or much better, prevent such a crisis from occurring. Peak oil can affect energy security through various threats. It can lead to a rise in oil prices as a result of limited supply and increasing demand. With various emerging economies such as China, India, and Brazil which are consuming increasing amounts of oil energy, oil prices could get out of control. China and the U.S for instance are the largest consumer of oil products and their increasing dependency on oil products can a spell a disaster for developing economies in the event of peak oil as they consume the little oil reserves that are available.
Another security threat that can occur in cases of peak oil is that as the prices of oil increases due to limited supply, increased insecurity is likely to occur especially in the oil producing countries. Criminal gangs, rebels groups, and terrorist groups, will be fighting to get control of the oil fields and this can culminate into unending insecurity and political instability in these countries. This means that mining of the oil will be a dangerous affair which will further aggravate the limited supply that is already in place. As oil becomes scarce, terrorist groups could use it as sabotage tool as well as a tool to push their own agendas. They could do this by targeting oil transportation infrastructures knowing that cutting supply can make people listen to their demands. Oil producing states can also turn into rogue states where they arm twist other economies by threatening to cut supply until their selfish demands are met. Those likely to suffer the most are developing economies that lack the political muscle to protect their own interests. The uneven distribution of oil due to limited demand could mean that developing economies would only barely get their hands on the commodity.
To sum it all, peak oil can serious put at risk world peace. It is therefore an issue that requires attention from the policy makers who should put strategies in place prevent it from occurring. There should be more emphasis on making machines energy efficient, investing in renewable energy technologies, and looking for alternative sources of energy other than oil.
International Economic Organizations
Economic organizations were formed in order to provide a globalized platform on understanding and promoting trade, social rights, and stabilization of polices. They were created with the idea of unprofitably helping countries worst affected in the area of international trade, social rights, and poor policies. The goal was to enable marginalized countries to participate equally in globalization.
Mandate of International Economic Organizations
International economic organizations are preoccupied with various roles and their influence has grown to be very strong in carrying out these roles. They are involved in maintaining international peace and security. The main organization mandated with this role is the United Nations which not only deals with conflict resolution and peace maintenance but also promotes human rights, improved livelihoods, social development, and environmental conservation. It is not however a guarantee that the UN carries out these mandates comprehensively and effectively. A good example is the 1994 Rwanda genocide where close to 800,000 people were killed with no intervention from the UN.
International economic organizations are also tasked with the promotion of international trade. The World Trade organization is the main world body that carries out this mandate as it is involved in harmonizing trade between various countries to in order to promote equality and fairness among member states. Despite this, the WTO has been accused of unfairly promoting the interests of developed countries while back tracking on promoting the participation of third world countries in international trade.
Another mandate of international economic organizations is to provide humanitarian aid to countries that are undergoing various calamities such as war, floods, drought, and earth quakes among others. They also provide funding for various projects in various countries through provision of loans. A good example is the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund which provide economic stimulus loans and funding for projects in various countries.
International Economic Organizations and role played by American in their Formation
The US played a crucial role in determining the role, structure, and location of international economic organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Although these organizations are designed to be independent, the US has a big influence over them given that they had a third of the votes leading to their formation. These institutions were somewhat created to enforce the US foreign policy although it can also be argued that they have some independence given their global appeal, influence, and legitimacy compared any other US state agencies. Although the US has some influence over these institutions, there are other key and powerful member states that helped design the rules these institutions abide by and as such, the US is sometimes forced to play along with the decisions of these institutions whether or not they serve their own interests.
Liberal Approach to Development
Liberal approach to development is a concept that advocates for free trade and open markets as well as the growth of the private sector. The concept realizes and emphasizes the potential of private sector in maximizing the economic and development of countries. It underscores the need to privatize and contract government services to the private sector without any interference from the government. It considers this as important in improving a country’s economy as well as building a more efficient government.
Policy of Liberal Approach To Development
This policy is carried through by transnational corporations and international financial institutions such as the United Nations, World Trade Organization, World Bank, and the International Monetary fund. Governments whose economies are crisis can greatly benefit from aid from these institutions. With this kind of provision, governments can greatly cater from deficits in the education, health or infrastructure sectors. The application of facial policy is geared to play a very effective role development of nations. It is advisable that governments should acquire deficits that can only be paid back comfortably and that cannot lead to longer term consequences on the economy. This is because, high deficits exerts a heavy burden on the economy leading to higher inflation and low production. They should only be used when it is absolutely necessary and as a last resort for stabilization of the economy. With tax reform, it is expected that higher efficiency and innovation will arise and as such, governments are advised to lower taxes on goods imported from other countries that they are not in trade agreements with.
Currently there is a major influence by western countries on the way developing countries perceive development and power. This should change with the developing countries also being given an opportunity to define and identify their own goals leading to their own understanding of development.
The rise in population has been cited as one of the major causes of depletion of the environment and the natural resources as the world consumption and production increases. However, there is an advantage in the fact that there is liberalization of trade, facilitation of foreign investment, and abolishment of controls in imports and exports. Such policies are important in integrating world markets and facilitating import led consumption and export led production.
Liberal trade emphasizes on limited interference of the state in the market and maximum influence of market forces. Since the market is a platform for social mobility as well as wealth distribution, there is need to develop mechanism which can regulate market forces and ensure that even those that are the most disadvantaged and deprived also benefit from the market. Transparency and accountability as well as equal participation should be promoted in the market for effective results.
Power should be bestowed on the people to champion for their own common interests. Development should be exercised democratically through social capital generated from civic networks that are based on reciprocity and that enable institutions to deliver more efficiently.
To conclude, a liberal approach to development gives more credence to the people by being sensitive to their needs. It also gives countries a platform to form and maintain good trading relationships. Since it is a new approach to development, there are many challenges to this development approach in the market and as such, determination and discipline are important for success.
Religion and its Relation to Nationalism
Religion is basically a set of culturally accepted belief structures that are practised by various factions or groups of people in accordance with their spiritual faith or spiritual orientation. Nationalism on the other hand refers to a feeling of belonging that people have toward a given country in which reside by virtue of choice or birth. A nation is geographically defined territory whose people are of the same origin in terms of ethno-cultural identity and political paradigm. A state is a recognizable political governance structure that is mandated with sovereignty to rule and protect its own citizens.
The interconnection between religion and nationalism is not a new concept and has led to the development of the concept of religious nationalism. It is a concept which shows the relationship between a people’s way of belief manifested in their religion and their nationalism. Religious nationalism is best demonstrated in Middle East states which are predominantly Islamic such as Iran and Pakistan. In these countries, Islamic doctrines influence major decisions when it comes to operations of these states. The culture of brotherhood is promoted by Islam hence leading to promotion of Islamic nationalism in these countries. The Islamic nationalism has dampened the war on terror as the terrorist cite this as a war on Islam. The terrorists use Islam concept such as ‘Jihadism’ to evoke retaliation and war on perceived enemies which are mostly western imperialists. Due to the Islamic nationalism, they easily garner support from other Islamic extremists. This is just an example of the negative effects of religious nationalism. It can have both negative and positive effects in states that ascribe to this concept. On the positive side, religious nationalism forges unity in a state where various internal influences like economic disparities would have led to conflict. Legislation in western states as well as matters to do with the law are largely influenced by Christian values although it suffices to say that secularism also plays a bigger role especially in recent times. Religious doctrines such as neighbour love, do not steal, among others are important in maintaining of peace and order in these countries.
Religious nationalism was much at play in the wars of the Catholics verses the Protestant which took place in the 16th and 17th century. In recent times, the end of colonialism in Middle East led to the rise of religious sentiment which saw the Middle East perceive the Christian colonialists as undermining Islam and to blame for social and economic problems affecting them. Since the colonial days, the rise of religious extremism in the Middle East has been phenomenal with its followers killing in Allah’s name. Islamic religious extremism have hijacked religious nationalism and used it for negative purposes. Because of religious nationalism, Pakistan and India separated and are occasionally embroiled in conflict.
Major difference between western countries and the Middle East is that in former, the church is separated from the state while in the former, the church influences the operations of the state. While these has led to independence of the state and economic growth in the western countries, it has led to lacklustre economic development of the Islam states as various barriers are exercised such as denial of women from working or from other types of work and contributing to the development of the economy.
Green Policies on Contemporary Ecological Thought
Ecological crisis is one of the major problems in the world with various types of pollution and depletion of the environment causes the death or extinction of ecologies. In capitalist nations, the problem is even worse as the focus is fixated on profit rather than the ecological conservation. For instance, a producer of a very profitable product may continue with operations and greatly benefit the government which in turn belittles and turns a blind eye to toxins the producer is releasing into water bodies hence posing a danger to life forms that depend on these ecologies. Personally, I believe that in the long term such mistakes will costs us more and it therefore very important to emphasize on appropriate disposal or treatment of industrial wastes. There is a need for massive campaigns on the importance of environment conservation so that people can become more sensitive to this subject. Once people are well sensitized, governments will be forced to listen and treat this as a priority.
It is encouraging to note that the concept of ecological awareness is taking root in capitalist nations. There is rising emphasis on clean energy with things like solar housing as well as organic markets being embraced. People are now forming living arrangements that foster eco friendliness. There seems to be an obsession by corporations in promoting and observing conservation of the environment. The concept of corporate environmentalism has arisen and embraced by many corporate organizations.
According to Wallis, a major connect that ecosocialist have not internalised in the perception of nature as a commodity. Ideas have been floated that the best way to conserve the environment is to preserve it untouched. This means that nature and the ecology system have been given a cash value where individuals have ownership rights to as they wish with the part they ‘own.’ This creates a scenario where the survival of species is at the mercy of those who have the financial capability to carry out activities that are not eco friendly. The problem is even worse when the ecosystem is something so many people dependent on such as water.
In this respect, Wallis outlines three requirements for a green economy and they include an end to militarism and imperialism, cultural convictions and transformations about what economic and social activities make up a good life, and lastly high tech solutions to toxic trash. The need to contain toxic industrial wastes should be the number one priority of a producer as well as the need to protect and conserve vital resources. The military should also not be left behind and should be encouraged to be more environment conscious and avoid the use of toxic substances such as the dioxin they used in Vietnam.
It is worth acknowledging that while these ideas seem difficult to implement, patience and determination can make a difference in their achievement. A god example of a country that took determined steps in this direction is Cuba which in 1990’s suffered a short fall in supply of oil and chemical fertilizer but acted on this by massively importing bicycles for transportation and organic manure for farming. Its reforestation program is today held as an environmental model.