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Monday, November 24, 2008

FAR Future, Episode 61: It’s All Over, Rover

The war’s over, not the story. Just to make that clear. Anyway…

Wednesday, January 5, 2022
It’s All Over, Rover

I guess everyone will be coming home… as soon as they can get them out of there, anyway. For all intents and purposes, the war’s over, the Foxaganda has that much right. Anyone who knows what’s going on there are much less confident that we won, though. Truth be told, I think everybody lost.

Rene’s in a kind of awkward position; I don’t want to ask him for any info that will jeopardize his service record, even though he’d have to really spill some beans before they’d whack a decorated soldier who was all over the media just a couple months ago. But Rene isn’t the only soldier who isn’t fond of the junta — especially right now — and some of the others don’t have to worry about their citizenship. So, as always, Sammy has pieced a likely story together out of various reports, accidental true statements blurted by junta spokesdroids, and the like.

Rene didn’t even get to finish his mini-vacation in Dubai before things started going pear-shaped. The junta had repeatedly warned Russia and China that Iran couldn’t continue an offensive and expect the fight wouldn’t be taken to them, and the Saudis finally took matters into their own hands. They have their own jets, of course, and they started raiding Bushehr and other ports on the Iranian side of the gulf, and any oil installations they could reach. Meanwhile, our guys were busy hunting down all the Iranians that slipped across Iraq and were wreaking havoc all over the place, both in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

If anything, the war of words was even hotter — both sides accused the other of being allied with Israel, being enemies of Islam, all that happy crap. (Israel issued a statement along the lines of “a plague on both your houses” and offered to transport any Palestinians that wanted to take sides to Egypt or Jordan — one way, of course.)

Over the next few months, the land war bogged down along the Euphrates, and the Saudis and Iranians lost enough jets to redeploy what was left in a defensive posture (leaving the junta in control of the sky). Everyone’s navies were bottled up, and the Iranians made attempts to unplug the straits impossible.

Then the missiles started flying. The junta insists that Iran launched first, and Sammy hasn’t found any evidence to the contrary. The junta’s navy, stuck in Dubai, was a flock of sitting ducks. The junta pretty much had to respond, and began a bombing campaign designed to cripple both Iran’s military and oil production. So way back when, Bush-league was accusing Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons, while Iran insisted they were interested only in electricity. And both were half-right: why make a nuke when you can buy one? Where it came from — Pakistan, North Korea, Russia during the collapse years — Iran wasn’t telling, and it really doesn’t matter now.

Thankfully, Rene had gone back to some nowhere in the desert — because last week, Iran nuked the big Ghawar oilfield. Even in advanced decline, it was producing a significant percentage of the world’s oil supply… but not anymore. The Saudis didn’t have their own nukes, and we weren’t about to give them any, but they did have a handful of dirty bombs. Take a big bomb, wrap radioactive material around it, set it off. All the fallout without the crater. There had been rumors since the Bush-league days that they planned to use dirty bombs to scorch their own oil fields if they were invaded or some internal group were to overthrow the Sauds, but they may well have converted them to offensive use. Turns out the Israelis weren’t the only country to have a working Masada Option… they ruined what was left of Iran’s oil fields and those in southern Iraq to boot. Iran had a second nuke, and they used it on the straits, making the UAE an unhealthy place to be.

And that must have been it. Kuwait and the rest of Iraq weren’t bombed, but they have fallout issues to worry about. Anything that’s not contaminated, or probably just a little contaminated, will have to be pipelined through Turkey or Syria from now on. The war’s over: Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Iran have collapsed, Oman is tottering, any news coming out of Bahrain or Qatar is not exactly good, and the junta is retreating to the Red Sea to ship everyone out.

Rene was allowed to contact us with a brief message to my Gadget: I’m OK, not sure when I’ll ship out yet. Hope to see you soon.

You know the rest of the story: with a third of the world’s oil supply either turned radioactive or still burning, pretty much everything is shutting down. Russia may have won the war without firing a shot; they’re now the world’s largest producer and they have no problem throwing their weight around. For all the junta tough talk about “we’ll walk before we kowtow to Moscow,” we’re not going to be able to defend Europe very well if an invader has oil and we don’t. I suppose if Europe can string them along for a few years, Russia will run out of export capacity and they can all go back to fighting on horseback. What we’re going to do here is anyone’s guess. I certainly hope the junta grows a brain cell and realizes that a critical resource can’t depend on the market to allocate it properly.



  1. Here Far! Check this out, this is a graph depicting Iceland's market http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cf/OMXI15.jpg

    I'll come back later and comment on your story..

  2. Ouch, Yooper. Just ouch. Talk about falling off a cliff…

  3. My friend, that is the reality over at Iceland....

  4. Hiya FAR and Yooper.

    Pretty stark future there FAR.

    Yopper I agree with FAR. That's not just falling off a cliff, but going many feet below ground.

  5. Hey Far! Great addition to the series! Ok, you've got the Ghawar oil field glassed over... The war is over...

    Is it all that unreasonable to think that shortly after we peak, that what may be left(fossil fuels) for another civilization will be a little less than half?

    Aren't we really strecthing the imagine to "assume" that all nonrenewable resource will be consumed?

    It's something to think about...

  6. Hey Far and FM! Yup, what's happening in Iceland is a crying shame. I'm getting reports from three individuals there. Protests against the goverment, etc.. Of course, Iceland is an isolated island (pop. 304,000) and only recently went on line of being idustrialized. None the less, it's the dynamics of it's fall AND the implactions it has on it's trading (importing and exporting)partners, that I'm interested in. There's that little ripple, Far.......


  7. FM, I think "augering in" might be the right term?

    Sure, Yooper, the question is how much? I suspect we'll use up somewhere around 75% — after that, the EROEI will get too low to make it worthwhile to keep burning the stuff (although the chemical properties will continue to be useful).

    As for Iceland, I think once they reset their economy they'll be OK. They have enough geothermal power on tap to keep the lights on & their houses warm for the duration; I think Aruba or Trinidad (some island in the Caribbean anyway) was talking about building a refinery in Iceland last year. The question is whether they can trade their exports (fish, ferrosilicon) for other food or fuel as needed.

  8. You see Far, I was taught to never make assumptions.. Going beyond this, is were most mistakes are made, agree?

    Gee, I hope Iceland can somehow turn their finacial situation around, but I have my doubts. Their market may be too far away and the EROEI, might not make it economically feasible any longer..(No wonder, I know of this first hand, eh? How can we support industry here? We're simply to far from the market). You bet, their potential energy factor makes the island very attractive, however that takes money to maintain (and X amount of people). I'll likely continue my interest in Iceland, as this is where my interest lies, population, isolation, etc...

  9. The up side, if there is one, is that the war is finally over. Pitty the cost.

  10. Hey all!

    Yooper, I have hope for Iceland simply because they *can* heat their homes and keep the lights on without any outside help. Whether refinery projects would be worthwhile in the current economy is questionable, no doubt, but they were a poor (but still viable) country not that long ago. Cancel the funny money, trade what they need for what they can supply, and they shouldn't do any worse than 1970. Better, actually, since they've tapped their huge geothermal resources since then.

    I know what you mean about the UP, but ironically fuel shortages might spell better times at least for Marquette or Houghton. I remember hearing stories at Da Tech about students sneaking into abandoned mines where they could just pull huge pieces of nearly pure copper off the walls. If it gets too expensive to ship copper ore from Africa or Asia, or iron ore from West Bumblefuzz, where is North America going to get ore? Will recycling be more economical than smelting high-grade ore?

    Boran, exactly. I've noticed that in upcoming episodes I don't talk much about what's going on in the Wide World. But the world just got much larger, even with instant communication.


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