Blog: Dave Leggett‘Malevolent and malignant threats’

Dave Leggett | 28 November 2007

James Woolsey seemed an interesting fellow as a guest speaker at the SMMT din-dins last night (I have to say ‘seemed’ because I had earlier inadvertently swallowed a vat of very quaffable champagne – rude not to and all that).

His remarks, bearing in mind who he is and where he has worked, couldn’t fail to make an impression. In a nutshell, he makes a connection between buying oil from the Middle East so that that region is awash with money and the international terrorism that emanates from there.

Enriching the Middle East means that we are ourselves funding fundamentalist Islamic schools that teach their students to hate the West. And that’s the ‘malevolent threat’ to the West – terrorism.

And there’s a ‘malignant threat’, which is global climate change. And both threats need to be dealt with.

The root cause of the problem is both an oil-based economy and the problem of where the oil consumed comes from.

Therefore, the consumption of fossil fuels needs to be cut. Woolsey is a big advocate of biofuels as well as electric plug-ins in the transportation sector. And he wants us to drop the nonsense of hydrogen - still a long way off, practically speaking, and hugely expensive in infrastructure terms. 

He’s coming at it from a mix of energy security and environmental concerns – but the energy security aspect seems like the bigger one in what he says.

The Middle East region is certainly a mess on many levels – no question. And the share of known world oil reserves coming from there is going up.

At least Woolsey is addressing something that many prefer not to talk about, head on. For all the fuss about Iran, just take a look at Saudi Arabia, so-called ‘friend of the West’. We have been taking the oil, paying the money and pretty much leaving them to it (bar the occasional fawning to supply the ridiculously wealthy feudal rulers with all manner of goods and military equipment).

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