Andrew Nenow is a wine and viticulture sophomore and Mustang Daily conservative columnist.
For the second time in a row, I went into this week’s column looking for a domestic issue to write about to get away from the Middle East. But the more I researched, the more I could not ignore what is going on halfway across the world.
There is no doubt in my mind that however the dominoes fall in the Middle East, it will have a significant effect worldwide as these countries search for democracy. This is not meant to cause alarm but simply to prepare you for the worst. The reason I say that we must be prepared is because there are some serious theories on how this may unfold.
I will present the two scenarios thus far presented to us by the media and give you my take on what is most likely to happen. First, it is probably a good idea to bring you up to speed on what is happening.
As Egyptian turmoil calmed, the chaos spread elsewhere. At this point, a majority of northern African and Middle Eastern countries are either in full-blown revolution or on the brink of it. These countries include Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan, Iraq and Syria. The amount of countries on the list should itself be alarming.
The left-wing has a positive outlook on the situation. They see it as a number of oppressive governments being trampled as citizens search for democracy. So this is a pretty good deal, right? News outlets such as CNN see this as an opportunity to bring us closer to a region known for U.S. hatred.
The right-wing, on the other hand, see it as the Middle East pushing away from the U.S. Now I must preface the right-wing’s opinion by saying that it comes from the very distant right-wing mind of Glenn Beck. Beck sees the move toward democracy as a step toward the dismantling of the U.S.
My personal opinion stands somewhere in the middle with a slight lean to the right. I agree with CNN that democracy in the Middle East is a great achievement, but believe there are some consequences from who gains control. I disagree with Beck that there may be consequences but none to the point of the destruction of the U.S.
What we should be concerned about is the direction that these revolutions are headed. A group called the Muslim Brotherhood has made an appearance in Egypt and Libya already, and it would not be far off to say they will appear wherever else they are needed. The kicker is this “brotherhood” is anything but a moderate Islamic group.
They know that revolution is contagious, that the Middle East will soon be cascaded with a blanket of chaos and that someone will need to pick up the pieces and give them direction. So what direction can we expect them to go?
In front of hundreds of thousands of people in Cairo, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaradawi said, “Throughout history Allah has imposed upon the Jews people who punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by Hitler.” Is he really calling for the genocide of the Jewish race? Qaradawi’s threat to Israel should be very important to our government.
The biggest issue for the U.S. directly, however, is the spread of revolution to our last standing ally in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is surrounded by chaos and turmoil in Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan and Iraq. So if riots erupt in Saudi Arabia, and someone purposefully disrupts the oil fields, how severe will the effect be for us?
As a comparison, think of the effect the BP oil spill in the Gulf Coast had on domestic gas prices. A total of 185 million gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf Coast in the 70 days it took to cap the spill. When Saddam Hussein purposefully lit the Kuwait oil fields on fire during the First Gulf War the loss of oil totaled 36 billion gallons. That’s more than 194 times the amount spilled by BP.
Those 36 billion gallons were just from the little country of Kuwait. The loss of Saudi Arabia’s oil would have an effect that is somewhat unfathomable. Some experts said the U.S. could see oil prices soar as high as $10 a gallon.
Without a doubt, this is the time to start preparing for the worst. The most recent loss of Libya to upheaval will have a direct effect on Europe’s oil supply but due to worldwide trade, expect to see rising gas prices already here in the U.S.