Topic: "Adjusting Policies"
The news, according to Frodo, is always a story behind a story. "If a dog bites a man, it is a story," he said, "but what happened that led up to the attack is generally more important, just not as spectacular." To Frodo, the Ring is often the source of much of the evil in the world, but it is rarely mentioned.
Diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the People's Republic of China were established in 1990. King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz arrived in Beijing today for the first visit by a Saudi ruler ever. The purpose of the visit was for a series of meetings with President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao. The subject to be discussed was identified as "mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of energy."
Frodo notes that Saudi Arabia is the single largest provider of crude petroleum to the world market, responsible for 13% of all that is consumed. The United States is the largest consumer of crude petroleum in the world, and is certainly the largest customer of the Saudis. The People's Republic of China is the second largest consumer of crude petroleum in the world.
"What was that?," asked Frodo. "I could've sworn I just heard the 'cha-ching' of a cash register."
Ten years ago, China imported no petroleum products whatsoever. During the same period, the cost of producing a barrel of oil has more than doubled. Saudi Arabia is "adjusting its' policies" because, as prudent businessmen, they know it is not a good idea to put "all of your eggs in one basket," according to Frodo. "The Saudis," say Brookings Institution scholars Flynt Leverett and Jeffrey Bader, "are disturbed by the anti-Saudi backlash in the US after September 11th, and by what they perceived to be the less-than-vigorous defense of his old friends by President Bush."
Frodo keeps a list of eight countries on his bulletin board. When asked why, he replied "Because Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Russia, Venezuela, Nigeria, Libya, and Kazakhstan produce more than half of all the world's crude petroleum today, and within another 10 years, they will produce more than 70%. Let me ask you," he queried, "which of those do you think America can depend upon?"
James Brock, a consultant working on behalf of the Chinese was recently quoted as saying that by 2015, "the world's oil is going to be controlled by people who think it should go where they want it to go because they need tanks or other (military weapons)."
Frodo feels a little like "Brer Rabbit," peering toward the summit of Mount Doom, where the evil of the Ring is concentrated. George W. Bush, to quote Joel Chandler Harris, "he say nuttin'."
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