Michael Klare

Since the communisation of society would begin at once and gradually involve more and more people, its inevitable violence would be different from what Marx or Rosa Luxemburg could imagine. The proletarians will be able to make the bourgeoisie and the State, i.e. the political props of capitalist economy, utterly useless and ultimately defenceless, by undermining the sources of their power. The bourgeoisie is aware of it: modern States are steeling themselves for “low-intensity operations,” which imply a lot more than police work, and include population and resource control. Of course counter-revolution has never been only military and political, but its social dimension is now a condition of the rest. In 1972, though it dealt mostly with wars in the Third World, Michael Klare’s War Without End: American Planning for the Next Vietnams provided useful insights into the strategy of the big capitalist States preparing for civil war on their own soil. If we considered the problem from a purely material point of view, the State’s superiority would be outstanding: guns against tanks. Our hope resides in a subversion so general and yet so coherent that the State will be confronted by us everywhere, and its energy source depleted.
—  Gilles Dauve, Eclipse and Re-emergence of the Communist Movement
Today, Venezuela is a nation living under an officially declared “state of emergency,” politically riven, experiencing food riots and other violence, and possibly on the brink of collapse. According to the IMF, the economy contracted by 5.7% in 2015 and is expected to diminish by another 8% this year – more, that is, than any other country on the planet. Inflation is out of control, unemployment and crime are soaring, and what little money Venezuela had in its rainy-day account has largely been spent. Only China has been willing to lend it money to pay off its debts. If Beijing chooses to hold back when the next payments come due this fall, the country could face default.
—  Michael T. Klare, ‘The Desperate Plight Of Petro-States’, TomDispatch
10 Beautiful Places We Could Destroy With Human Drilling

Most of us are familiar with the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) – a 19-million acre protected area in the northeastern corner of Alaska that is thought to harbor large reserves of oil and natural gas.

The largest wildlife refuge in the United States, ANWR is home to a vast array of natural wildlife, including caribou, polar bears, grizzly bears, muskox, wolverines, snow geese, peregrine falcons, and many others. Much of the refuge is designated as wilderness area and barred from development, but a significant slice – the 1.5 million acre “Section 1002” area – has been eyed for possible resource extraction.

Proponents of drilling in ANWR, including former President George W. Bush, say the extraction of the hydrocarbons would create jobs and diminish America’s reliance on imported petroleum; opponents, including President Obama, say the purported benefits of drilling are outweighed by the threat to wildlife and fragile ecosystems.

Although one or another house of Congress has passed legislation allowing for drilling in the Section 1002 area in recent years, no such measure has yet made its way into law. But many Republicans favor drilling in ANWR, and a Republican takeover of the White House and Congress could lead to such action.

Unlike the Venezuelans or the Nigerians, the Saudi royals socked away enough money in the country’s sovereign wealth fund to cover deficit spending for at least a couple of years. It is now, however, burning through those funds at a prodigious rate, in part to finance a brutal and futile war in Yemen. At some point, it will have to sharply curtail government spending. Given the youthfulness of the Saudi population - 70% of its citizens are under 30 - and its long dependence on government handouts, such moves could, in the view of many analysts, lead to widespread civil unrest.
—  Michael T. Klare, ‘The Desperate Plight Of Petro-States’, TomDispatch
Looking into the future, the demise of petro-states as we’ve known them could have a profound impact on the struggle to avert catastrophic climate change. Although these states are not primarily responsible for the actual combustion of fossil fuels - that’s something we in the oil-importing countries must take responsibility for - their pivotal role in fueling the global petroleum economy has made them largely resistant to international efforts to curb emissions of carbon dioxide. As they try to repair their busted business model or collapse under the weight of its failures, we can only hope that the path they follow will entail significantly less dependence on oil exports as well as a determination to speed up the conclusion of the fossil fuel era and so diminish its legacy of climate disaster.
—  Michael T. Klare, ‘The Desperate Plight Of Petro-States’, TomDispatch