- the prize in modern wars
Sep 21 (RIA Novosti) Many analysts tend to view most 20th
century wars as wars for energy. The role and significance
of energy resources and the part energy plays in wars is worth
industrial society forges ahead, energy and energy resources
play an increasingly significant role in the affairs of nations.
Eventually, a nation reaches a point where accessible energy
resources become vital to its existence, and any shortage
in these resources may result in serious consequences for
over energy production was not the ultimate goal for Germany,
Italy or Japan - the aggressors in World War II - but it was
one of their overriding objectives.
significance of that can be understood from the objectives
set by the armed forces of the three countries. For Germany
and Italy, one of the aims of the 1942 campaign was to capture
the oil resources in the Caucasus (on the Soviet-German front)
and on the Arabian Peninsula (on the African front).
was the result of a severe fuel shortage experienced by both,
which could not be met either by oil fields at Ploesti in
Romania or synthetic gasoline plants in Germany.
Japan, the embargo placed on oil in South East Asia triggered
a war for vital resources.
the war, oil fields, coal mines, ocean going oil tankers,
oil storage facilities, fuel-filled freight trains, and power
plants were regarded as targets of utmost importance.
the submarines of all warring nations, tankers, for example,
ranked after aircraft carriers and battleships, while oil
refineries, synthetic fuel factories and power plants in Hitler's
Germany were prime targets for Allied bombers.
situation did not change much after the war. Oil-bearing regions
have become the scene of rivalry between leading nations of
the world which rushed to seek allies with the holders of
the black stuff.
attractiveness of oil among other energy resources is easy
to explain: it is a very calorie-rich fuel which means a small
amount yields a large volume of energy, its production, transportation
and storage are simpler than that of other resources, and
it is these advantages that have ultimately led oil and petroleum
products to become the main resource of our machine-based
natural gas joined oil to become a near ideal source of energy
for thermal power plants.
history of the Middle East conflicts bears testimony to the
role of oil. The interests of the great powers have turned
the region into a theatre of conflicts, with "the oil
barrel of the planet" being the main prize.
used to be an equally sharp debate about Vietnam, whose economic
zone (in the sea) includes large stocks of hydrocarbon reserves.
The debate still continues - leading South East Asian countries
are hotly vying for oil-rich parts of the shelf but have avoided
an open clash.
the next few years, the Arctic is likely to become another
area of conflict in the drive for energy.
warming, which is opening up long-term access to the Arctic
shelf, combined with large proven hydrocarbon resources, is
bound to make the leading world powers challenge neighbours'
rights to some parts of the shelf.
energy resources have turned from an end into the means to
an end. If before World War II, restricted access to oil meant
no more than slow development (coal, peat and wood were more
important), now such a restriction spells an economic collapse
for a large state, involving stoppage of transportation, outage
of industry and, especially during wintertime, a heavy toll
of life and the evacuation of mega cities.
of these factors lends to one's understanding of why the European
countries worry over fuel supplies from Russia. The hydrocarbons
from the North Sea, the Persian Gulf and elsewhere are running
out and cannot meet the needs of the European economy.
interdependence of the sides works well in bringing them closer
together and softening their stance over disputes - regardless
of the fine words in which politicians and diplomats couch
the description of the process.
is not only a great divider, it is also a gap bridger.
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