Sunday, May 29, 2005

Oil Flows; Democracy Goes

Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, left, and leaders from Central Asia and the Caucasus after leaving handprints during the opening in Azerbaijan of a new pipeline. --New York Times Sunday, May 29, 2005

Samuel Bodman, the new secretary of energy, led the United States delegation to Azerbaijan last week to celebrate a huge moment in America's effort to diversify its sources of oil: The opening of a pipeline that will carry Caspian oil to the West, on a route that avoids Russia and Iran.

Mr. Bodman delivered a message from President Bush: "As Azerbaijan deepens its democratic and market economic reforms, this pipeline can help generate balanced economic growth, and provide a foundation for a prosperous and just society that advances the cause of freedom."

Just a few days earlier, the Azerbaijani police beat pro-democracy demonstrators with truncheons when opposition parties, yelling "free elections," defied the government's ban on protests against President Ilham Aliyev. Mr. Aliyev is one of President Bush's allies in the war on terror, even though he won a highly suspect election to succeed his father, a former Soviet strongman.--"There's Democracy, and There's an Oil Pipeline" by David E. Sanger, New York Times

Sam Bodman, last mentioned on this blog April 16, is an apt representative from an arrogant administration bent on controlling world oil and concerned with little else regarding ethics or democracy, for that matter. As long as a year ago, the World Bank was questioned for continuing to loan money for the construction of the pipeline because of environmental concerns:

The Georgian government suspended work on BTC following BP’s decision to start construction in the ecologically vulnerable Borjomi region, despite its repeated failures to obtain the necessary environmental certification to proceed. The region contains the Borjomi national park, an area of outstanding natural beauty
and mineral water springs whose bisection by the BTC pipeline has long been the subject of fierce opposition by environmentalists.
--Bank Information Center

All of this goes hand in hand with the Bush doctrine of ignoring concerns that impede progress toward the goal—any means to the desired end. What is outrageous is how open and obvious the mode of operations is, yet we the people stand by and watch without blinking, as in this latest celebration over the opening of an oil pipeline to riches for the rich.

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