Defence White Paper on New Zealand's strategic and security interests to 2025, as Gordon Campbell points out, is long on rhetoric, and short on coherence and detail. But worse still it fails to even mention a very serious and imminent threat to our security which both the US and German military have warned about - namely the peaking of global oil production leading to dwindling world oil supplies.
In February 2010 the United States Joint Forces Command published The Joint Operating Environment 2010. (JOE 2010) This is the equivalent of our White paper, as it sets out to consider likely “future trends and disruptions” that will affect the US military over the next 25 years. And yes, one of the key identified threats to US security is a dwindling global oil supply.
"By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 million barrels a day"
The JOE 2010 states that such a shortfall would reduce the prospects for growth in both the developing and developed worlds. Such an economic slowdown would exacerbate other unresolved tensions, push fragile and failing states further down the path toward collapse, and perhaps have serious economic impact on both China and India. At best, it would lead to periods of harsh economic adjustment, at worst outright conflict for dwindling resources.
In August a German military think tank analyzed how peak oil might change the global economy. The report "Implications of Resource Scarcity on National Security" shows how carefully the German government has considered a potential energy crisis.
Probable geopolitical shifts will include a move away from democracy and human rights, and the decline or complete failure of free market mechanisms in favour of “protectionism, exchange deals, and political alliances between suppliers and customers.”
There will be an overall reduction in the standards of living across the globe, but it will be felt worse in countries “that are a) highly dependent on imports (read New Zealand) and b) are susceptible to price-increases of food products.(read New Zealand again ) "
The German military report states with peak oil....
"investment will decline and debt servicing will be challenged, leading to a crash in financial markets, accompanied by a loss of trust in currencies and a break-up of value and supply chains – because trade is no longer possible. This would in turn lead to the collapse of economies, mass unemployment, government defaults and infrastructure breakdowns, ultimately followed by famines and total system collapse."
Get the picture… ? This is very serious stuff we are talking about here, and with grave implications for our national security. Yet our esteemed PM, Minister of Defence and his boffins don't think any of this is worthy of mention other than a vague one sentence reference to "resource pressures" !
And then there is the not insignificant issue of how the large NZ Defence force vehicle fleet, and our planes and ships are to be fuelled?
Fueling the Future Force: Preparing the Department of Defense for a Post-Petroleum Environment, published September 27 2010,
It states that 77 % of the US Department of Defense’s “massive energy needs” are met by petroleum (NZ is likely to be as large?) – but
“given projected supply and demand, we cannot assume that oil will remain affordable or that supplies will be available to the United States reliably three decades hence.” To remain as an effective fighting force, the entire US military must transition from oil over the coming 30 years."
Once again this issue does not warrant any discussion in the NZ White Paper. Maybe the Defence Department has a secret plan to run its vehicle fleet, planes and ships on an vast untapped unconventional energy source ....the hot air generated from Defence HQ?