Are you ready to pay four, five or possibly even six dollars for a gallon of gasoline? War has consequences, and a conflict with Syria has the potential to escalate wildly out of control very rapidly. The Obama administration is pledging that the upcoming attack on Syria will be “brief and limited” and that the steady flow of oil out of the Middle East will not be interrupted. But what happens if Syria strikes back? What happens if Syrian missiles start raining down on Tel Aviv? What happens if Hezbollah or Iran starts attacking U.S. or Israeli targets? Unless Syria, Hezbollah and Iran all stand down and refuse to fight back, we could very easily be looking at a major regional war in the Middle East, and that could cause the price of oil to explode higher. Syria is not a major oil producer, but approximately a third of all of the crude oil in the world is produced in the Middle East. If the Suez Canal or the Persian Gulf (or both) get shut down for an extended period of time, the consequences would be dramatic. The price of oil has already risen about 15% so far this summer, and war in the Middle East could potentially send it soaring into record territory.
We can always hope that cooler heads prevail and that a conflict is avoided, but at this point it does not look like that is going to happen. In fact, according to Richard Engel of NBC News, a senior U.S. official has admitted that “we’re past the point of return” and that a strike on Syria can be expected within days.
Obama is promising that the U.S. will “take limited, tailored approaches”, and that we will not be “getting drawn into a long conflict, not a repetition of, you know, Iraq, which I know a lot of people are worried about”, but how in the world can he guarantee that?
If missiles start raining down on Israeli cities, the Israelis are not just going to sit there and take it like they did during the first Gulf War. In fact, according to the Los Angeles Times, “Israeli leaders are making it clear that they have no intention of standing down this time if attacked”.
If Israel is attacked, their military response will be absolutely massive.
And then we will have the major regional war in the Middle East that so many people have been warning about for so many years. Hundreds of thousands of people will die and the global economy will be paralyzed.
So what will Obama do in such a situation?
Will he pack up and go home?
Of course not. We would be committed to fighting a brutal, horrific war that there was absolutely no reason to start in the first place.
And we are already starting to feel the effect of rising tensions in the Middle East. This week, the price of oil rose to a 10-month high…
U.S. oil prices soared to an 18-month high as traders worried that a potential military strike against Syria could disrupt the region’s oil supplies.
October crude futures surged 2.9%, to $109.01 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, their highest close since February 2012. Brent futures ended up 3.2% at $114.28 a barrel, a six-month high.
Posted below is a chart that shows how the price of oil has moved over the past several decades. Could we soon break the all-time record of $147 a barrel that was set back in 2008?…