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February 15, 2009

9780805075595Chalmers Johnson’s Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire is about 8 years old (it was reissued in 2004 but only updated with a new preface), so the statistic is probably 10 years old, but it is still thought provoking:

Interestingly enough, maintaining access to Persian Gulf oil requires about $50 billion of hte annual U.S. defense budget, including maintenance of one or more carrier task forces there, protecting sea lanes, and keeping large air forces in readiness in the area. But the oil we import from the Persian Gulf costs only a fifth of that amount, about $11 billion per annum. (2004, 87)

We know the costs to the U.S. for maintaining a military presence since the book was first published has only gone up, probably exponentially. In any case, the poll question is the following.

Who benefits from this relationship the most?

  1. Citizens in nations in the Persian Gulf?
  2. U.S. taxpayers and gas buyers?
  3. People in the defense business?
  4. People in the oil business?
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