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Also by Edwin Black
It was very distressing writing The Plan.
In recent years, I have authored books excavating the hidden history of persecution, genocide and injustice. These works include: The Transfer Agreement about the Nazi-Zionist negotiations during the Holocaust, IBM and the Holocaust revealing that companyâ€™s twelve-year Holocaust planning project for the Third Reich, War Against the Weak documenting Americaâ€™s effort to create its own master race using the pseudoscience of eugenics and unleashing its own domestic genocide, Banking on Baghdad chronicling Iraqâ€™s bloody 7,000 year history of economic oppression and mass murder, and Internal Combustion which revealed exactly how society became addicted to oil.
Each of those works was two or three years in the making. When they sprang upon the public consciousness, timely yet timeless, the result was shockwaves of abrupt understanding. Headlines and public upset generated passionate discussion and debate. There was never a good time to reveal any of that information. Sometimes I dreaded telling the awful truth. Often the public dreaded hearing it. But my commitment was to reveal a dark history to help ensure a precious future.
This time itâ€™s different. My commitment is the opposite: reveal a dark future to help ensure a precious past. The â€œpastâ€ means life as we have known it. The â€œfutureâ€ is life as it may become if our society remains addicted to oil, and if those who wish for the downfall of western society succeed in using our dependence as a weapon against us. This time the headlines and the revelations have preceded the book. My predictions became the daily punctuation of our lives. People could not wait to find a way out. Society needs a plan- -an emergency plan--in the event the oil stops. No one has one. No one is even speaking of one. I could not wait to tell them. Every day as the situation worsened, my publishers and colleagues ask why the unfinished book could not come out the very next day.
But it was not always like that. In 2007, in the wake of Internal Combustion, my editors initially did not believe our nation would enter the type of oil crisis that I and many others were predicting.
Few could believe that a barrel of oil would double from 2007 to 2008 and even approach $150. But the price broke $147 a barrel in mid-July 2008. Everywhere the experts in 2008 predicted that oil would continue soaring past $200 per barrel and in essence go into permanent price escalation. Even when the prices dipped for a few days, the prospect of diminishing supply, mushrooming global demand and threatening geopolitical and petropolitical disruptions revealed oil for what it was: an economically out of control commodity that the world required every hour of every day. Without it, modern society would collapse.
Few in 2007 could believe the world might be beset by food riots and that we would see the meteoric rise of food prices even in the capitals of industrialized cities. But that happened as basic food stuffs and the cost of transporting them escalated everywhere causing food panics from Mexico City to Minneapolis to Milan. Mexicans raised an uproar about the high cost of corn for tortillas. Italians protested the price of pasta. Americans began hording rice at Samâ€™s Club. In Third World and emerging countries, unrest over food shortages and increased prices boiled over before TV cameras. The quiet suggestions of the experts quickly became a phenomenon of the nightly news.
Few in 2007 could believe that the supply chokepoints were as narrow as they are. No one understood where our oil came from or how easy it was to disrupt. Then the media began examining this puzzle piece by piece. People began seeing just how vulnerable the modern world has become. We are very tall and can topple easily.
Yet for all the pain and predictions suffered by America and the world due to petroleum, no one has yet asked three questions: 1) How much of a stoppage would be required to throw our nation into chaos? 2) Exactly what could cause that? 3) What does society do if it really happens? Is there no plan?
Certainly, the experts have been trying to run computer models and even theoretical practice runs, such as â€œOperation Shockwaveâ€ which in 2005 brought national security and oil experts together in a Washington Hotel to simulate a protracted oil disruption. The results were panic and pain. â€œThe American people are going to pay a terrible price for not having had an energy strategy,â€ said former CIA director Robert M. Gates shortly after the exercise. Gates had assumed the character of â€œnational security adviserâ€ for the 2005 practice run. Shockwaveâ€™s results were a terrifying presage of what society could endure without warning. â€œThe scenarios portrayed were absolutely not alarmist,â€ explain Gates. â€œTheyâ€™re realistic.â€
Yet while the experts could wring their hands over how oil could disrupt and perhaps devastate society, no one could create a plan to cope with such an event. For this reason, I have written The Plan. While the book pretends to be a crisis plan, donâ€™t be fooled. This needs to be implemented immediately. Without preparedness, no plan can hope to do anything but ease the pain.
In assembling my information, I was careful to consult numerous other plans and precedents drawing on the strong points of many alternatives. In doing so, I discovered that the field of oil crisis solutions is filled not just with â€œsingle-issueâ€ pressure groups, but with â€œsingle-sentenceâ€ pressure groups. As I produced my work, so many were intent on lobbying for their specific sentence and solution: electric, more oil, ethanol of any flavor, compressed natural gas (CNG), ammonia, hydrogen, biodiesel, flex-fuel, rotted and re-used materials of all descriptions, and bacteria of many types. For this reason, I became convinced that even the experts do little more than become expert in their own expertise to the exclusion of every other idea.
In truth, there is no one truth to solve our vulnerability. There is no magic bullet. But there is a barrage of ideas and strategies that can come together, cutting across all the entrenched positions to create the plan we need. We need a plan to get off of oilâ€”and quicklyâ€”in the event of a crisis. That crisis could come the day you read this information or years later. But the day will come.
Because of the extremely volatile nature of the information and the suggestions, I wish to take this opportunity to repeat the admonishment I have inserted in the Introduction of each of my last six books. The Plan is not to be read in snatches. If you cannot read the book in its entirety, front to back, without skipping around, please donâ€™t read it at all. Context is needed. The energy crisis is filled with misinformation disseminated by paid partisans, well-meaning pundits and marginally informed mavens, only to be proliferated as expertise by a frenzied media which operates only catchphrase deep.
The reality is if you are reading this at all, the situation is not good. The Plan is not a book of entertainment. It is a crisis manual. Does the Plan have all the answers? Of course not, and does not pretend to. But it has enough answers to prompt further questions as each person and locality finds a way to survive an unexpected oil stoppage.
Can we do it? Answer: I am not sure. If we start now, how long will it take? Answer: Years. But there is no hope without a plan. Now we have one.
Copyright © 2008-2019 Edwin Black
All Rights Reserved. No part of this work covered by the copyright hereon may be used in any form or by any means--graphic, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or information storage and retrieval systems --without the written permission of the publisher.