Time Magazine's Person of the Year had a famous father who famously remarked a decade ago that 'the American way of life is not negotiable.' This remains the animating principle beneath most of America's troubles in the world.
A good many people in the United States probably still agree with this notion, but how realistic is it? How long can America base its economy on suburban land development? Realistically, that way of doing things has to end now. Unless we want to try to turn the entire Middle East (including Saudi Arabia) into an occupied colony, which would seem beyond our military capacities, to put it mildly, since we can't even enforce civil order in Iraq.
To keep the suburban expansion going indefinitely we will need to continue using one-quarter of the world's oil every day. Since this resource is about to head over the all-time peak production arc, there will be incrementally a few percentages less total oil produced every year after the peak. We'll probably have to occupy Venezuela, too, and Nigeria, to keep the suburban expansion going -- not to mention the daily operation of it, with the sixty mile commutes and the estimated average seven car trips per day per household to chauffeur kids and run errands. As we maintain our oil consumption under these conditions, other nations will have to use proportionately less. How will the Europeans and the Chinese feel about that? Will there be discontent over it? And might it affect our relations with them?"
Why is this not being talked about? Read through the news sites and the blogosphere and you'll see that the subject of oil is utterly absent from the discussion. Look for it. Go ahead. You won't find it. We have created a society that is based on oil and yet we don't talk about it? We don't discuss the issue at all. It is ridiculous and dangerous. We may not be willing to negotiate our way of life but, as Kunstler suggests, we better "get ready for reality to arbitrate it for us."