Succession Planning

ontents

Introduction

The purpose of this report is to highlight a problem faced by the CEO of a company in deciding who will be the next person as his successor to take up the role as the next CEO of the company. This is an important issue that most of the companies in not only developing economies but also in developed economies face due to lack of future planning. Many companies spend huge amount of money and investments in order to research for the market conditions in the future. They conduct market analysis; make strategic policies and plans in order to drive the company smoothly over the years to its mission and vision that was set when the business was started. These are the companies which make a time line in which the specifically define what goals do they have to achieve in the short run and what goals will they achieve in the long run and how will they achieve these goals. However, what many of these companies do not think upon is who will be the person who will make it all happen or let things go in the right direction as it was planned initially.

This is where succession planning comes in. the purpose of succession planning is not just to identify the person when the time comes for the CEO or head of the company to retire, but it takes into account a comprehensive training program in which a couple of candidates are first identified to be eligible for the post, then one of the is short listed to be the best for the organization and then that particular person is trained under the supervision of the retiring CEO for around 4 to 5 years in which he learns how decisions are being taken and what is the basis or the essence behind making several decisions.

However, it is the responsibility of the Human Resource Department that it follows a strict succession plan procedure from the very start of the business. it should keep in mind when a CEO is about to come to its age of retiring and when should the search of a new CEO should be started. This is a long process and it has to be done with great care. The reason is the fact that the best policy is to bring someone from within the organization for the organization to let the transition be smooth. However, this will mean that when one layer is upgrades, many other layers down in the hierarchy of the business will have to be upgraded as well. or, it can be the case that there is no one in the lower posts capable enough to be given the higher posts. Thus, applicant search for that post is necessary as well. Moreover, it is the responsibility of the human resource managers and teams to identify who are the people with which the new CEO is comfortable and happy to work with and take decision more easily. With this, the human resource department has planned ahead already that when the new CEO will take charge, who will be the ones filling the posts down in the hierarchy and who will be the ones working close to the new CEOs in order to let him settle and to let the transfer of authorities and the power to be successful.

Thus, in this report, we will first start with a brief description of the problem that the company faces. Then we will discuss what succession is planning in its true sense and how it must be carried out. The paper will draw a picture of the problems that this particular company will face by not chalking out a succession plan way before time and how the company will lose focus from its goals and the essence of particular decisions in case of such a management inefficiency. The paper will also chalk out a two phase framework for succession planning in which the report will recommend how it should be done and how things can work out for this particular company. A chart showing the essentials of succession planning will also prove to be helpful for the readers to better understand the major elements of succession planning.

A brief analysis of the cost that the company will incur due to inefficient succession planning will also be presented in order to quantify the losses of inefficient succession planning or the benefits in case of timely and comprehensive succession planning (Forbes.com staff, 2008).

The Problem

The company that we are discussing to study the problem is Saudi Aramco. The current CEO of the company has been working with the company since around 25 years now and it is time for him to leave the company as he has reached his retirement age. The current CEO has gained a lot of experience in the company about the market and about how to handle the entire business as he has been there with the business in both good and bad times. The CEO was the one who had to make decision on behalf of the company by taking the risks on his shoulders thinking about a lot of people and stakeholders including shareholders, customers, employees, legal authorities, suppliers, distributers and the company’s image as well. All these responsibilities do appear to be small but when you have to decide and priorities which one of the stakeholders is to be given more importance in both good and bad times, it is the CEO who has to take a decision analyzing all that information and gut feeling that other members of the organization cannot even think of. The current CEO had the capability of behaving like the father of the company. The reason is the fact that just like the father who acts like the head of the family, he looks at situations in a totally different manner, he has that long term approach and a scope of thoughts and ideas that other members of the family cannot think. He knows what will be the implications of certain decisions and what other decisions have to be made in case of those implications. He has the future of the company as he wants it to be in his eyes and he takes decision.

Now the major problem that this particular CEO faces is that he has not actually planned who will be his successor and neither did he realize all this time that all the subordinate high post managers that were likely to be his successors are also going to retire shortly. Now there is no one to carry on all those activities, decisions, vision and planning that the current CEO had planned for the company to be taken into account in future and any other CEO from outside or from way below the top management would come and implement his own strategies (Business Week, 2007).

Although, optimistically speaking, we can say that the new blood in the organization refreshes it and gives it a new line of thinking and approach to make better decisions, but, the fear that the current CEO faces is the fact that there will be a lot of conflicts between the ideas of the new CEO and his own CEO. Although the goals and the mission will be the same, but, the current CEO might have taken a different approach towards the goal and it will now be time to show its results or take new decisions which the new CEO might not know. There he will take a different approach and both time and money will be wasted which can actually cause great losses. An example of this can be the fact that in order to start a new subsidiary, the current CEO might have invested into a project which will then be taken over in the future so that to provide expertise to the new subsidiary. However, when the new CEO comes in and looks at the investment in a project, the new CEO may think it as a useless investment and blockade of cash flows and insist in pulling out the resources. Although the new CEO will also work for the subsidiary but he doesn’t know the main reason why this investment was made in a project and what benefits would have been reaped.

The above discussion is just an over view of what we can experience in a situation where there is no succession planning, but, in the following discussion we will come up with theoretical knowledge of how the negative aspects of no succession planning will adversely affect the organization under discussion (Batridge, 2005).

The first negative impact that no succession planning had on the organization is that the CEO along with consultants and HR department was not able to make levels and differentiate people who will be brought up in the business to handle key jobs in the future including the post of the CEO. One of the implications that we see due to this is the fact that the potential candidates who are eligible to be screened for higher posts did not had any clue of what there capabilities were, how valued they were to the organization, what skills do they need to polish, what skills do they need to use more often and what lacking do they need to overcome. Succession planning is a way to keep the upcoming people in the top management motivated and keep them focused on the ladder that they have to climb, the amount of input they have to actually put in order to earn the seat of a top manager or a CEO or the level of expertise that they need to prove is needed. Therefore, there was no such thing in this organization which leads to confusions like we see today that there is no one who can be given this opportunity along with the subordinates of the CEO who are also going to be retired one after the other. The purpose is to bring a CEO who comes with an agenda, carries on those tasks which have been initiated by the previous one and add value to the operations to get to the goals and vision of the organization more quickly.

Moreover, the current CEO might have made strategic plans for the coming five ten or fifteen years. He might have planned how the company will arrange funds and what resources will the company need. But did he realize the fact that in order to execute these strategic plans and projects, the company will also need a strong successor or leader in the organization who will actually make this happen?

No the company did not do any such thing. The company looked for all the resources but not the human capital. It did not align the goals with the human capital abilities ten fifteen or twenty years down the line when someone else would be sitting in the CEO chair and controlling the empire.

Moreover, when we see problems such as no succession planning, no one even knows who is going to be brought and everyone is just looking forward to the lucky one whose name will be called out of the lucky draw. Although this is not the case as the current CEO will choose the best amongst the best, but it is also not sure that the decision is free from personal biases. Thus, it might be possible that the CEO chooses his best friends in the organization whom he trusts the most to take over the job and gives it to him leaving doubts and disgust in the hearts of other potential candidates. Succession planning has to be done systematically, proper screening process in complete transparency in an environment where ever body gets a chance. But in this case, this is also not done and now everyone in the organization who will find his chance will try to come close to the CEO in order to remember them when taking the decision (Sims, 2007).

Also, as there was no proper succession planning, any person who will be chose from the organization will most probably belong to a certain department of the organization with certain expertise. This person is not trained or exposed to all departments of the organization. For example, in Unilever Pakistan, the marketing director who was supposed to be promoted as the CEO of the organization was not promoted and the decision was freeze just because of the fact that he did not have any experience in the finance and sales department. For this reason, the same CEO was made director of all the departments of the organization in order to let him know what actually happens in a department inside out.

Furthermore, a company is often known by the culture it has, the values it gives and wants from the employees and the relations it has with the outside world. Who decides this policy and what is the thought process to actually help things happen in the way they are ought to be. The CEO obviously and all these activities are needed to be there in the next CEO of the company as well. If the new CEO will have all these qualities, he will have the main essence of the company.

Not to mention the losses that the company will have to face in the future, this negative impact will be discussed later in the report.

Moreover, as all the subordinates are actually on the age of retirement, thus the company might expect two or three changing CEOs every year as one after the other employees will get retired. Now every year, policies will change, every CEO will experience his new options and ideas. Even if the company now thinks about succession planning to be completed in the next three years, still, all the CEOs will train the new CEO in their own way. They will tell their own experiences and the efficiency of the new CEO will not be up to the mark as it was expected from the current CEO. The level of effort and time needed will be immense and a lot of critical decisions will go down the drain in pursuit of training and development programs for the successor (Business Week, 2007).

Phase plan

Now the plan that will be recommended in this part of the paper is simply divided into two parts. The first step would be train the upcoming CEO for his job for at least 5 years before the current CEO leaves the company. and the second phase will mark the 3 year plan in which the leaving CEO will help and assist the new CEO in order to help him take decisions and supervise and recommend to him in his decision making and vision process.

Starting with the first phase, we see that the presence of the existing CEO is important because of the fact that he is the most important and experienced person in the whole team. Therefore the fact that the new CEOs themselves need time for training and until the time they will be trained they will reach the retirement stage, therefore the existing CEO has to stay another five years with the business and wait until he comes up with a new fresh candidate who at least has the age of serving 10 to 15 years for the company after becoming the CEO. Therefore, the company will extend the contract of the existing CEO for another 5 years so as to identify the best person. This is not the job of the HR department, but this has to be done on the organizational level. One person has to be selected from so many candidates and also these candidates need to be verified with the staff to see whether the candidate is compatible with the work environment or not. Then this selected candidate will actually be trained in these senses that he will have to know some of the skills that the CEO has. He will be taught how he is responsible for the entire company and how broadly his vision has to be in terms of decision making and administrative powers. The upcoming CEO will be sent to different departments for more experience and now how of each of the department as the director of the respective departments so as to make him understand watch department carefully without earning disrespect from rest of the employees. Moreover, the new CEO will not be only polishing the technical skills that he must possess to run the origination but he should also know how to lead different teams and become a role model for the rest of the organization.

In the second phase we will see that the new CEO is now in the stage where he has been promoted and a lot of problems will start too stuck right away. He will be earning both resentment and recognition from the lower management. A lot of external pressure and problems will come in as a tool of frightening the new CEO from the competitor brands. The company has to let the new CEO try different things and take decisions in accordance to the percent that has already been set by the elders. The leaving CEO will supervise different situations and let the new CEO find out how important in nature are these decisions and how carefully they are to be taken. The new CEO will also have to learn how to perform in teams after the existing CEO leaves permanently after three years after leaving (Forbes.com staff, 2008).

Laslty, when we talk about the losses and profit that the company can make in both cases. We assume that the compensation of the existing CEO is $100000. The compensation of the new CEO is the same, but in case of no succession planning, this extra for 5 years along with some bonus in the remuneration of the upcoming CEO will be an extra cost on the firm in which the existing CEO is actually taking full remuneration but not adding much value to the company.

Also, the amount of projects and the investments that are halted and treated as junk value must also be included in the cost as it might cater to larger share.

Lastly, if there is no succession, the business can cost itself its own self. The reason again is that without a leader, a nation cannot be successful and rise. A revolution is needed in all over the world to start thinking as this is the time when all the opportunities can be explored.

Many CEOs who are being trained along the way in the appropriate manner save a large chunk of the company’s rules and values and this is what they have ingrained inside them. Thus, they are better able to understand the dynamics of the organization rather than hiring and HE consultant who charges heavy fees and then comes up with a good match. Nothing can be of better help then one owns self.

Estimates and Charts

Activity COST WITH SUCCESSION PLANNING COST WITH ‘OUT’ SUCCESSION PLANNING
Training of New CEO USD 25000 USD 100000
Extra Compensation to the Leaving CEO for another 3-5 Years

NONE

Number of Years*Last pay that leaving CEO recieved

Projects Completed (DEADLINE/COST) 1 Year / 1Million Dollars 1.5 Years/ 1.25-1.35 Million Dollars
Decision Making AS good as nothing happened, might increase costs by USD 20000 Very Slow, certain to increase costs and losses due to delays for more than USD 100000

Now, if we explain the above diagram, we see that the company will have to bare a couple of costs in case of not having a succession plan. Obviously, even with a succession plan, the company will bare some costs in training the new CEO, but, that cost will be much lesser. The fact is that when a new CEO is being trained under a succession plan, the HR team plans out events in such a way that the new CEO will get opportunity to look and handle real life situations as the Current CEO faces them. for example, when planning a meeting, the new CEO can go with the current CEO as well to attend and see how the goals and missions of the company are safeguarded in the meeting. No workshops and extra mock meetings will have to be called in order to make the new CEO fit and ready to handle situations.

Moreover, the leaving CEO will have to be paid additional compensation for training the new CEO. The reason is that if the succession plan was in place, he would have simply realized the right time and left the job. But, now he cannot and thus he will also expect from the company to compensate him throughout the process.

Also, projects and deadlines will also find problems without a succession plan. The reason is the fact that the new CEO without a succession plan will make changes in designs and strategies because he does not know why certain decisions were taken by the preceding CEO. This will cause in more time needed to make amendments and several thousand dollars to be spent in making costly alterations.

Following is the estimated rise in costs of the company in case of no succession planning.

Conclusion

Succession planning is very important and it must be done in all the companies as it is necessary for keeping a constant supply of leaders in the organization and a constant supply of expertise that is aligned with the initial goals and vision of the company. New CEO who comes from a non company background does not have an idea of the culture of the organization which is really important for the company’s employees to work comfortably. Thus these CEOs donor get a chance to serve long. Moreover the inside information of the company is kept into safer hands of the new CEO from the same company.

References

Batridge, T (2005, May, 4). Why is succession planning important?. Retrieved on December 14,2009 from http://www.ameinfo.com/59276.html

Business Week (2007, July, 30). Why Succession Planning Matters. Retrieved on December 14,2009 From http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/content/jul2007/sb20070730_940924_page_2.htm

Ingbritsen, R (n.d). Why succesion planning. Retrieved on December 14,2009 from http://www.smallbusinessdelivered.com/whysuccessionplanning.html

Forbes.com Staff (2008, July, 01). Why Succession Planning Matters. Retrieved on December 14,2009 from http://www.forbes.com/2008/01/07/ceo-survey-executive-lead-ceo-cx_sm_0107succession.html

Semyour, S (2008, Jan, 17). The importance of Succession Planning. Retrieved on December 14,2009 from http://www.management-issues.com/2008/1/17/opinion/the-importance-of-succession-planning.asp

Rothwell, W (2005). Effective Succession Planning: Ensuring Leadership Continuity And Building Talent From Within. Amacom

Sims, D (2007). Building Tomorrow’s Talent: A Practitioner’s Guide to Talent Management and Succession Planning. Author House

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TACTICAL IMPLEMENTATION AND RISK MANAGEMENT PLAN

Tactical Implementation Plan (TIP)

The tactical implementation plan incorporates work break down structure and Grant Chart (JISC infoNet, 2010). The TIP illustrates how Mari Jayne tries to fulfil the requirements of building up infrastructure. The components that make up the infrastructure include harvesting, processing, shipping, storage, and packaging.

Work break down structure (Michigan Office of Strategic Policy, 2010)

No. Task Period Responsible Resources Availed Signature
1 Harvesting Q2 JK Equipments, finance, labour
2 Processing Q2,Q3 PL Plant, labour,
3 Shipping Q3,Q4 MM Transport machinery e.g. lorries
4 Storage Q2, Q3, Q4 RZ Warehouses, storekeepers
5 Packaging Q3 RS Packaging plant, wrappers, labour

Gant Chart

Task Sub-task Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Harvesting Purchasing tractors
Actual harvesting
Purchasing containers
Processing Processing process
Analysing steps followed
Quality control at the beginning (raw materials)
Quality control at the end (product)
Shipping Purchase of appropriate equipments
Records
Warehouses
Distribution channels
Storage Warehouses
Records; quantity, time
Maintenance
Pest & Pet control
Packaging Wrapping materials
Quality and quantity of products
Size of package

Milestones will be analysed at the end of each quarter and appropriate actions to determine the success and correction strategies formulated (Risk Management Basics, 2010).

Risk Management Plan

Risk Management Methodology

The entire project requires risk management process that is scalable to ensure that the type, level, visibility of risk management is commensurate with importance of the project and the risk (Microsoft TechNet, 2003).

Risk Identification

Some risks in carrying out the project include:

  • Quality of the seeds
  • Equipments and machinery failure
  • Incidents of fire, pollution and other environmental concerns
  • Availability of storage space
  • Availability of consumers
  • Human resource reliability and personal characteristics e.g. motivation

Assessing Probability

Since quantitative information is not available of the threat occurring, the assessment process will be based on common sense and experience (National Institute of Standards and Technology, 2002). This means that the assessment should be ongoing and evaluations of risks happening analysed periodically as the project proceeds, and thus, the likelihood of risks happening becomes clearer.

Assessing Impact

No Risk Impact
1 Quality of the seeds Medium
2 Equipments and machinery failure Low
3 Incidents of fire, pollution and other environmental concerns Medium
4 Availability of storage space Low
5 Availability of consumers Medium
6 Human resource reliability and personal characteristics e.g. motivation Low

Severity Calculation

No Risk Impact
1 Quality of the seeds Medium
2 Equipments and machinery failure Low
3 Incidents of fire, pollution and other environmental concerns Medium
4 Availability of storage space Low
5 Availability of consumers Medium
6 Human resource reliability and personal characteristics e.g. motivation Low

Contingency Plan

A contingency plan is applicable in those instances that something goes wrong at the time of the project. In the case of Mari Jayne project, the contingency plan will utilise three strategies, which are risk reduction, transfer and retention (Eslami, 2007).

  • Risk reduction – this involves employing strategies and methods that reduces the chance of risks occurring or reducing severity of risk if it may occur (Daft, 2007). The strategies that may be employed include maintaining the equipments, motivating and taking care of the employees, and ensuring policies and regulations are exclusively followed.
  • Risk transfer – this is the movement of risk from one party to a third party usually based on a contract. Thus, Mari Jayne will purchase insurance policy for the machine and staff, this will ensure the organisation resources will be maximised (Indiana University, 2003).
  • Risk retention – even though some risks can be transferred or reduced, other risks can be accepted as a necessary part of the project. Such risks include size of harvest, and efficiency of production process (Microsoft TechNet, 2003).

References

Daft, R. (2007). Management, 8th Ed. New York: Cengage Learning.

Eslami, M. (2007). Senior Design Experience: Lessons for Life, 2nd Ed. New York: Agile Press.

Indiana University. (2003). Business horizons, Volume 4. Indiana: Indiana University Graduate School of Business

JISC infoNet. (2010). Project Controls Database. Retrieved from http://www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/infokits/project-management/project-controls-database

Microsoft TechNet. (2003). Creating a Risk and Contingency Plan. Retrieved from http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc759120%28WS.10%29.aspx

Michigan Office of Strategic Policy. (2010). Appendix D: IT Eighteen Month Tactical Plan. Retrieved from http://www.michigan.gov/documents/Appendix_D_91626_7.pdf

National Institute of Standards and Technology. (2002). Contingency Planning Guide for Information Technology Systems. Retrieved from http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-34/sp800-34.pdf

Risk Management Basics. (2010). Risk Management – Contingency, horizon, and action plans. Retrieved from http://www.risk-management-basics.com/risk-management-contingency,-horizon-and-action-plan.shtml

Reading and writing experiences

Reading and Writing Experiences

Do you remember the first book you read? The first sentence you wrote? What your first essay was about? For most people, including me, reading and writing started as a task, homework. It was daunting and tiresome as it invariably ate into my play time. Why would I sit around and stare at linear black lines that formed tiny alphabetical figures and words on a page which would only give me a golden star, when I can be playing cops and robbers with my friends in the playground? Most of these lessons we learn too late, some day when we are old enough to start reading fairy tales once again.

I began reading fairy tales at the age of 4. My elder sister was an avid reader and had collected many books and novels before I was born. It was safe to say that I was born into a library of knowledge. No work was needed; the stories were patiently waiting to be read. My favorites were fairy tales; Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel were my friends when I was little. I read their stories every night and then recited my own to them, as if they were waiting to be told a story just to tuck them into bed every night. I met my fairy tale friends every day and told them my stories, about school, home and the neighborhood. I tried to simplify this for them as they had never been to where I lived. They made it so easy for me to visit their homes each day; I thought it to be most impolite not to return the favor. On one particular summer day when school was out for the holidays, I took up my fairy tale story book as I would have done by habit, but this time there was a shiny green marker lying right above it. Whose was it? Why was it there, above my story book just before I was to read it?! The sheer boldness of that action took me by surprise and I wondered for a few minutes what to do. I picked it up to examine it. It was thicker than the normal pens used by my parents or sister, it was a new and uncharted territory. I looked around and slyly picked it up as though I was breaking the law, and slipped it into my pocket for further examination. I perched myself on the couch to read my fairy tales, but opened the book and took out my newly found possession. I popped open the cap and the pungent scent of marker ink filled my little nose as I boldly wrote my name across Snow White’s pretty frilled dress. The sanctity of my fairy tale book was lost to the ink of my marker. It only took me a few holiday hours to fill the entire book with my name as I learnt the joy of color pencils and felt tipped pens. I was now fully introduced to the world of stationery and there was no looking back.

“Mine is better than yours!” These innocent words said by a 6 year old, are such innuendo heavy sentences only a decade later that we today are blindly searching where our innocence was lost! Collections; stamp collections, pebble collections, sports cards, shells, empty perfume bottles, dolls and action figures – the list is endless. That was the currency when we were kids! It still probably is, for those who live simply. We didn’t care for rectangular shaped paper strips that people carried around in their pockets; we were more interested in the latest action figure or sports card or the latest fuzzy stickers! How can we get one of those? Well, exactly how our ancestors did it – Trade. However the largest legal trade for those between the ages of 6 to 8 years was the Mr. Men and Little Miss book series. Mr. Strong, Mr. Perfect, Mr. Muddle, Mr. Rush and Mr. Topsy-Turvy joined by their Little Miss companions Little Miss Chatterbox, Little Miss Neat, Little Miss Late, Little Miss Shy, Little Miss Tiny and all their other friends were my life for almost two whole years. They humored me with their silly antics and moral filled endings. They became part of my routine, every day I met a new friend and was told their story. I did business and traded and reaped the fruit of my spoils. There were new characters to embrace, new stories to be heard, and new lives to be a part of each day.

“My Home”, the first essay to be ever written in my long list of future essays to come. I described my long open balcony, the space to run around in my hall, the full length mirror on my dad’s cupboard and every tiny detail that came to my averagely developed brain. The essay was a full twenty three lines in a bold charcoal black pencil and my running primary school handwriting. It was my first A+ and the first time I was rewarded with two gold stars. Life could not have been any sweeter!

Primary school seemed to be the most rule-filled years of my life. The “Do/Not Do List” was longer than any memorandum ever written. Therefore when the time came to go to middle school, it felt like freedom would come at last. After years of writing with lead and charcoal we were finally “old” enough to pick up ink pens and permanently put down our ideas in books. Until now, no teacher or parent, or student for that matter was confident enough to write a word in ink. “What if we got it wrong?” The sheer weight of a possibility of a mistake or spelling error hung over our heads like a guillotine. But once we picked up the pens and confidently scribbled in our notebooks not even the shadow of a possibility of a mistake entered into our minds.

School is not complete with a teacher which changed the very fabric of her job and made it accessible to you. A teacher would impart knowledge on grounds that they would always hold more cards of knowledge than their students. But ever so often there comes one who changes those rules and throws open the battleground for everyone to play in, not battle (ironically!). For me this person was my Sixth Standard English teacher. She was short and small built but with a voice that would carry on for miles. She had a very unusually divine habit of smiling every time she read out a text. She was the first one to make us question ourselves, question the language and our own beliefs on whose shaky foundations we built our English language building. Once conventionalism was out of the way we studied contemporary poetry by “Unknown” and writings in magazines and newspapers. She made us connect with what was around us now, not a hundred years ago written in a language from which English was derived. She made us pick up works that inspire us, thrill us and move us in way that was not normal for a Sixth grader. That year I wrote my very first poem. It was commonly titled “Love” but referred to the love I shared with my brand new computer. There were no rules, no limits and no conventions that year. It was the freest English had ever made me and that changed my life forever.

He was a small ratty-faced man with grey teeth. His eyes were dark and quick and clever, like the rat’s eyes, and his ears were slightly pointed at the top. He had a cloth cap on his head and he was wearing a grayish – colored jacket with enormous pockets. The grey jacket, together with the quick eyes and the pointed ears, made him look more than anything like some sort of a huge human rat. (Dahl 33)

The first entry in any book or journal is always carefully written and well thought out. It was the beginning after all and you never want to mess up the beginning. Sure, you can go off track a bit in the middle, but the beginning is always the most important. The above was the beginning to my “Expressions’ Book”. In the Eighth Grade my English teacher made us retain what she had titled an “Expressions’ Book”. This would hold all the prized expressions, phrases and words that we loved in any article, story or novel we ever read. The reason she made us maintain this book is because she believed that each and every one of her students had the ability to be a writer someday. And when that would happen we would look back at out expressions’ book and take from it to be inspired to write our own new expressions and phrases for future generation of students to write in their expressions’ books. This chain of events that she had started had been continuing for decades before us, only for us to realize that we were now unwittingly become a part of something bigger than us, greater than us, and that feeling of importance continued on till present day, only to become stronger by age.

Works Cited

Dahl, Roald “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar – and six more”

Puffin Books (1995) 33.

Analysing Visual Representation

A war of words and visuals of peace

In 1972 National Lampoon, a leading American magazine, placed a full page advertisement for John and Yoko Lennon, that depicted New York’s Statue of Liberty but the product it was persuading people to ‘buy’ was so intangible that it must have seemed surreal to readers of the magazine. They were selling ‘peace’ or at least the prospect of the Vietnam War being over and the possibility of peace.

The readership for this highly irreverent, edgy magazine skewed to counter-culture, young people was in the millions so you can imagine the high profile given to this clever advertisement.

John Lennon, former Beatle; songwriter; and musician and Yoko his artist wife were iconic ambassadors for World peace, especially during the Vietnam War, a prolonged war from 1969 -1975 with American troops withdrawn in 1972.

In December 1971, the song Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” by John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band (4) was released prior to the actual end of the Vietnam War to encourage peace.

As anti-war activists John and Yoko created an amazing advertising campaign from 1969 “WAR IS OVER! (If You Want It) Happy Christmas from John and Yoko”. These billboards were shown across New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Rome, Athens, Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, London, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

They utilised billboard and magazine advertising to rally the public to accepting the reality that they were able to make peace happen if they wanted to; they just needed to ‘Give Peace a Chance’.

Their magazine advertisement in 1972 with the title of “Happy New Year” (1) used the Statue of Liberty as a highly emotive, iconic symbol that all Americans knew and loved, especially New Yorkers. It represents liberty, that all men are created equal and Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. The dove imagery around the statue adds to the overall emotive appeal as a metaphor for freedom.

What a perfect emblem in an advertising campaign for peace. The black and white imagery is brilliant too as it is so stark and confronting. Simple bold text at the base of the advertisement is appealing as the graphic makes the biggest statement.

However if you notice the familiar torch which represents ‘Shining enlightenment on the World’ has been replaced with a male arm and fist in this advertisement. I believe Lennon’s anti-establishment ideals are showing that it wasn’t the government who won the war; it was the strength of the people (the soldiers) who gave their blood to win the war.

2. Appealing to the masses

In studying advertising, Jib Fowles formulated Advertising’s Fifteen Basic Appeals to assist with understanding the philosophical and psychological needs that advertisers appeal to in order to effectively market a product. I believe this advertisement by John & Yoko Lennon is appealing to the twelfth basic appeal – the need to feel safe. “We want to be safe and secure; buy these products, advertisers are saying, and you’ll be safer than you are without them.” (2)

As this advertisement is highly unusual as it’s selling a ‘state of being’ not a product as such, this appeal to the safety aspect is still viable as it is telling the public “Happy New Year – War is Over” which is a double edged appeal to the readers’ inane desire for happiness and safety. Everyone wants to be free from threats of any kind especially war.

Philosopher Marshall McLuhan, wrote in Understanding Media that effective advertising works “by giving form to people’s deep-lying desires and picturing states of being that individuals privately yearns for.” (3) I can see how this advertisement placed in a high profile American magazine would be have been effective in gaining attention and affecting the type of communication that John & Yoko desired – let’s live for World Peace.

3. Ancient rhetoric for modern times

If you study the advertisement in terms of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos which are the forms of rhetoric that ancient Greek Philosopher Aristotle related to the art of persuasion, then you can immediately visualise the thought process behind creating Lennon’s advertisement for “War is Over”.

Ethos rhetoric is obviously used in the advertisement as celebrity appeal is a dominant persuasive tool to create respect and engage attention. John & Yoko Lennon are well known world-wide, with John being an iconic figure because of his connection to the Beatles and talent as a songwriter. Since 1969 they were publically protesting against war and trying to create an ideology of World Peace.

So their names and greeting at the base of the Statue of Liberty graphic endorses the advertisement with a strong persona of celebrity prominence. Secondly pathos is another rhetoric tool used with immense appeal to the reader’s emotions through the use of an American iconic statue, the thought of liberty and freedom, rights of mankind, national pride, and the relief that it will be a Happy New Year and war is over.

As the rhetoric tool Logos appeals on logic or reason, I believe it is not used in this particular advertisement unless you analyze the way some readers may perceive or rationale that if the Lennons tell me ‘War is Over’ then it must be; but that seems more of an Ethos style.

A side element of this advertisement which is worth mentioning is that without stating any high-sell product information, the advertisement would have been implicit in bumping up Lennon’s sales of his records especially War is Over which was released two years earlier. The effectiveness of this type of soft-sell, emotive advertisement style is incredibly clever in how it appeals to a wide range of audiences, young and old.

It’s more like a personal card than an advertisement isn’t it? The handwritten signatures also add to the charm and personalising of this advertisement, along with the clever way of keeping Happy Xmas and writing in hand over it “Happy New Year (War is Over)” as that is a subtle reminder of Lennon’s record.

John and Yoko spoke in many interviews about their protests for peace and that they were selling peace like soap with this magazine advertising and their billboard advertising. They thought people (John actually said housewives) might look at the advertisements and think what are the products they’re selling? War or peace – oh well I’ll choose peace then!

Think PEACE, Act PEACE, Spread PEACE

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one.”
(4)

Works Cited

1. Adflip. 70’s advertisements. Happy New Year magazine ad by John Lennon.

Web Feb. 2010

<www.adflip.com>

2. Fowles, Jib. Advertising’s Fifteen Basic Appeals. Excerpt from Common

Culture: Reading and Writing About American Popular Culture. Ed. Michael

Petracca, Madeleine Sorapure. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 1998.

Web Feb. 2010

<http://www.cyberpat.com&gt;

3. McLuhan Marshall. The Media is the Message. Web Feb. 2010

<http://www.leaderu.com&gt;

4. Lennon, John. Imagine Lyrics. YouTube – John & Yoko Lennon interview,

Happy Christmas (War is Over). Web Feb. 2010

< http://www.youtube.com&gt;

Corperate Homicide: THE LIABILITY OF ARTIFICIAL PERSONS.

A corporation is an artificial being that has an entity separate and distinct from its board of members and the workforce behind it. As corporations are a major player in economy enhancement and development, the state confers upon them numerous legal rights in order to vouchsafe their existence. However, the modernity of times screams of the scant laws to secure people’s rights that corporations manage to disrespect.

There is a serious call to upgrade our laws addressing corporate criminal liability. Egregious labor violations, dissolution in order to escape criminal liability, even downright trespass of criminal laws are only some of the issues that are escalating in present time.

Albeit there is jurisprudence on the piercing of the corporate veil in order to make the directors liable for corporate criminality, the laws to be resorted to is still a work in progress.

Corporate misconduct has been addressed by civil, administrative and criminal laws. However, the criminal liability of corporations has been more controversial. Critics have expressed the efficiency and consistency with the principles of criminal law (Pop, 2006, 2-3).

The distinction of the person between the corporation and its directors should not work as a blanket protection in cases when crimes are committed by the corporation. For crime to exist, mens rea has to be established. And a corporation can only intend through its directors. The directors are the ones who think and consequently act for the corporation.

The critics’ position is well-taken. Vacuums will be created when we try to apply criminal the laws intended for a natural person. But as people are becoming more and more innovative in utilizing corporations as the perfect cover up in transgressing our laws, we have no choice for now but to apply the present criminal laws available and wait until the bills being lobbied for corporate criminal liability to be ratified.

If we are going to allow administrative and penal sanctions to make up for crimes committed by corporations, then we are looking into an unimaginable increase in corporate homicide and manslaughter in no time.

In essence, our criminal laws have to be applied to corporations with the same stringency and fervour when applied to man. Consequently, the different branches of the government especially the judiciary cannot allow corporations and their operators to circumvent the laws meant to protect the citizenry.

Reference:

Pop, A. I. (2006) Criminal Responsibility of Corporations: Comparative Jurisprudence, [online] available from: http://www.law.msu.edu/king/2006/2006_Pop.pdf, accessed on 28 February 2010

Batteries and electric cars

Introduction:

Technology has the potential to make our life easier. In fact, it has made our lives easier than we could have ever imagined. One of the most important inventions we use a multitude of times in our daily lives are batteries. From our laptops to cell phones, from wrist watches to mp3 players, even our cars are dependent on batteries.

In a nutshell, a battery is a can or a box full of chemicals. When these chemicals react they produce electrons. Such reactions are called electrochemical reactions and in the different type of batteries we encounter, different electrochemical reactions are going on.

All batteries are similarly built in that they all have two terminals, commonly referred to as positive and negative. For the electrochemical reaction to take place, it is necessary that the electron from one terminal to the other. Electrons gather on the negative terminal of a battery. If we were to connect both the terminals with simply a wire, the electrons would flow from the negative terminal to the positive terminal. Although all this would achieve would be to wear the battery out as quickly as possible, this is the basic mechanism of how every battery works. But what we need to do is connect a ‘load’ in between the terminals. A load means anything that we need to power, such as our cell phone or a light bulb. (Brain and Bryant)

The ability of a battery to have a shelf life, i.e. retain power when not in use is because of the fact that for electrochemical reactions to take place, it is necessary that the two terminals be connected. How we are able to harness this reaction is explained by something called the voltaic pile. Alessandro Volta was the man who created the first battery in 1800. He did so by making a ‘voltaic pile’ by using alternating layers of zinc, silver and bloating paper soaked in salt water. Because of the paper between the two types of metal, it is necessary to attach the ends of the stack with the wire to allow electrons to transfer. (Brain and Bryant)

One of the very first types of battery that was popularly used was called the ‘Daniel’ cell or the ‘wet’ cell. Before the electric generator was invented in the 1870’s, telegraph poles were mainly run on the Daniel cell, making them one of the most important inventions of their time. The Daniel cell consists of copper and zinc plates and copper and zinc sulfates. The most obvious disadvantage of the Daniel cell was the use of the sulfates as these liquids made the battery not very mobile-friendly. (Brain and Bryant)

Before moving on to some of the batteries more commonly found in use today, it is important to understand some of the terminology associated with the science. Most important is the term ‘energy density’, which measures how much energy a battery can hold. Simply put, a battery with a higher energy density will run for a longer period of time. (Brain and Bryant)

Nickel Cadmium Battery:

Next are the nickel-cadmium batteries. Invented in 1890, the nickel-cadmium battery has evolved over time and it now recombines the gases discharged during the electrochemical reaction. The nickel-cadmium battery is best for rigorous work as a fast charge/discharge is better suited to its electrochemical reaction. (Buchmann)

Advantages:

  • Relatively faster and simpler charge; better suited for prolonged storage.
  • A higher number of charge and discharge cycles.
  • Nickel-cadmium batteries have a long shelf life extending up to five years.
  • Relatively cheaper and economically priced as nickel-cadmium costs the least per cycle.

Disadvantages:

  • Nickel-cadmium contains toxic materials which makes it very environmentally unfriendly. Some countries even restrict its uses.
  • Relatively low energy density.

Nickel-metal-hydride battery:

The environmentally unfriendly nature of nickel-cadmium batteries prompted research to begin on the nickel-metal-hydride batteries during the 1970’s. Nickel-metal-hydride batteries quickly gained popularity because of their high energy density and the use of non-toxic, environmental friendly material. Nickel-metal-hydride batteries have replaced the nickel-cadmium batteries in a lot of its uses and are now commonly found in wireless and computer paraphernalia. (Buchmann)

Advantages:

  • An estimated 30-40% higher capacity compared to nickel-cadmium batteries.
  • Very environmentally friendly as it not only contains mild toxins but is also recyclable.

Disadvantages:

  • Compared to nickel-cadmium, nickel-metal-hydride batteries have a more limited service life.
  • Relatively shorter storage and shelf life, usually of around three years.
  • Relatively higher self discharge and performance has been known to decrease at higher temperatures.

The lithium-ion battery:

Research on a lithium based battery began as early as 1912 but it was not until the 1970’s that they became commercially viable. While lithium is a very light metal and is highly suitable for electrochemical reactions it is also inherently very unstable which led to safety problems. Because of this reason, the focus of research shifted towards the use of lithium-ions instead of lithium which led to Sony Corporation launching the first lithium-ion battery in 1991. (Buchmann, Is lithium-ion the ideal battery?)

The energy density of the lithium-ion is considered to be twice that of the nickel-cadmium battery discussed earlier. Coupled with its light weight, the lithium-ion battery quickly gained popularity and most cell phones today are run on lithium-ion batteries.

Advantages:

  • Very high energy density with the potential for an even higher capacity.
  • Relatively low discharge even when not in use
  • Can be used to provide very high current to hardware like power tools etc.

Disadvantages:

  • Lithium-ion batteries require a protection circuit to maintain current and voltage within safe limits.
  • Costlier to manufacture as material is more expensive. Costs can be as high as 40% more than nickel-cadmium batteries.

The lithium polymer battery:

The lithium polymer battery uses a different electrolyte from the conventional batteries. Initially a dry, solid polymer electrolyte was used but it suffered from relatively poor conductivity. Later, a gelled alternate was used which resulted in great success but lithium-ion batteries have only been able to find their niche in markets where portability is paramount and are now widely used in credit card and similar purposes. (Buchmann, Is lithium-ion the ideal battery?)

Advantages:

  • Lithium polymer batteries can be made with very low profiles which makes them ideal for credit cards.
  • Very flexible in terms of size – if the order is large enough, manufacturers find it economically viable to build them in any size.
  • The use of gelled electrolytes has made lithium polymer batteries to be one of the lightest in terms of weight.
  • Lithium polymer batteries are less prone electrolyte leakage and overcharging which makes them safer.

Disadvantages:

  • Lower energy density compared to lithium-ion batteries
  • Relatively more expensive to manufacture

The lead-acid battery:

The lead-acid battery was invented in 1859 by French physician Gaston Planté. 150 years later, it is still one of the most commonly used batteries in the world. The lead-acid battery is the battery of choice for cars, motorcycles, UPS systems and even wheelchairs. The reason for this popularity is that even today there is no battery available that is more cost effective for the uses stated above. (Buchmann)

There have been numerous developments in the lead-acid battery and while the fundamentals have remained the same, the lead-acid battery has evolved over time. During the mid 1970s, researchers developed the sealed lead-acid battery. This is the battery that we use today in our cars. The liquid electrolyte is filled in separate enclosures and the battery is sealed which makes enables it to better withstand motion. (Buchmann)

Another important development in the lead-acid battery was the use of glass mats between plates. Called the AGM batteries, they are sealed, virtually maintenance free and because the plates are rigidly mounted these batteries can withstand a higher degree of vibration, shock and jolts. (Buchmann)

Advantages:

  • Lead-acid batteries are one of the most inexpensive and simple batteries to manufacture.
  • Lead-acid batteries are durable, reliable and the technology is well understood.
  • The self discharge of lead-acid batteries is one of the lowest of all battery systems.
  • They are capable of very high discharge rates.

Disadvantages:

  • Low energy density allows for only limited application.
  • Lead-acid batteries cannot be stored when completely discharged – a cell voltage lower than 2.1V damages the battery.
  • Lead content and electrolyte makes the use of lead-acid batteries environmentally unfriendly.

Uses of Batteries:

One of the more recent uses batteries that is gaining momentum is their use as a substitute for fuel to power vehicles. It can be imagined how strong the batteries need to be to power a vehicle for a substantial period of time. The advantages of such a car are numerous and very obvious. Cars are one of the most polluting inventions as they not only emit carbon and sulfur into the air, the noise they create also contributes significantly to noise pollution. Electric cars are not only ‘green’ or environmentally friendly in that they don’t contribute to the air pollution, they are also silent. Imagine a New York City with no sound of traffic. Ever increasing costs of fuel have also added to the appeal of electric cars in recent times.

With the wide array of batteries that are available, the question to ask what type of battery is the most suitable to use in electric cars? Car manufacturers the world over have narrowed it down to three choices. Those choices are the lead-acid batteries, nickel-metal-hydride batteries and lithium-ion batteries. The basic mechanism of all three types of batteries, along with their advantages and disadvantages have already been discussed above. A lot of scientists believe that the lithium-ion batteries are the best choice to use in electric cars because of their light weight and relatively low likelihood to self-discharge. A lithium-ion polymer battery which is a variation of the lithium-ion battery and has also been discussed above is also considered to be a good choice for the electric car of the future. At present it’s very expensive to manufacture and because of that, it’s also not commercially viable to use in electric cars. (Lampton)

Problem of Batteries:

However, while experts have been able to narrow down the choice of battery most suitable for use in the electric car, there still remain a lot of questions. The greatest problem with electric cars is the need to recharge batteries. What is the best way to recharge a battery being used in an electric car? Presently the best possible solution to this problem is to recharge the car overnight once you’re home. Very similar to the way you might charge a laptop or cell phone, this seems to be the only logical solution as the batteries currently being used can take up to several hours to fully recharge. Since most electric cars being manufactured come with built-in charges, all that the user has to do is plug the car into an electric socket and he’s good to go the next morning. (Lampton)

The next problem that is associated with the use of electric cars is battery life. How far can your car take you before the batteries need to be recharged again? Lead-acid batteries have been found to have the shortest charge and on average can go up to 80 miles on a single charge. Nickel-metal-hydride batteries have been knows to perform better and have a range of approximately 120 miles before it needs to be recharged. Another reason that nickel-ion batteries are a popular choice for electric cars is that they excel when it comes to battery life. An electric car running on a nickel-ion battery can go up to 220 miles on a single charge. (Lampton)

Research has been going on to extend the battery life to enable commuters to travel greater distances on electric cars. A technology, known as regenerative braking has been developed which can substantially extend battery life. Regenerative braking uses the kinetic energy released when we use our car’s breaks to recharge the battery. Under optimal conditions, regenerative braking has been found to extend the battery life by up to 50%. (Lampton)

Ethical Issues:

While the most obvious advantage of using an electrical car is that they not going to create air or noise pollution, they are not completely environmentally friendly. Electric cars use the electricity stored in batteries to run and these batteries needs to be recharged. Currently, most of the electricity being produced in the world is through thermal energy i.e. through the burning of fossil fuels. (Lampton)

This leads to an ethical dillema. While electric cars in themselves green in that they do not burn fossil fuels, the electricity used to charge the batteries is generated through thermal means. This makes electric cars only as green as the electricity that we use them to charge with. Assuming that the battery being used in an electric vehicle is being charged on electricity from a coal-fired power station, then a car running on a diesel engine will emit approximately only half as much carbon dioxide when you take into account the emissions from power the power plant. (Energy Efficiency News)

Another concern for environmentalists is the use of lead-acid batteries in electric cars. Lead acid batteries contain toxins which are harmful for the environment. And since lead-acid batteries are one of the most commonly used batteries, this poses an ethical dilemma for manufacturers who claim that electric cars are ‘green’.

A major advantage of electric cars, and one which manufacturers flout often, is that batteries are completely recyclable and as such their disposal is not an issue. There is no concern that hazardous waste or improper disposal will cause any harm to the environment. (Lampton)

Further more, there has been research that the most efficient way to power a car is through gasoline because of gasoline’s high heating value or simply put because of the high amount of energy it is able to produce. However when gasoline is used to produce electricity, a lot of energy is wasted in the form of wasted heat and other losses. (Kantor)

Conclusion:

The debate whether electric cars are truly green or not is an ongoing one. If all our electricity needs were being met through green means such as nuclear power plants, solar energy and wind energy, electric cars would truly be green as the pollution related to thermal generation wouldn’t be a concern.

Works Cited

Brain, Marshall and Charles W. Bryant. How Batteries Work. n.d.17 February 2010 <http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/battery.htm&gt;.

Buchmann, Isidor. Can the lead-acid battery compete in modern times? n.d.,18 February 2010 <http://www.batteryuniversity.com/partone-6.htm&gt;.

Buchmann, Isidor. Is lithium-ion the ideal battery? n.d.,18 February 2010 <http://www.batteryuniversity.com/partone-5.htm&gt;.

Buchmann, Isidor. Is lithium-ion the ideal battery? n.d.,18 February 2010 <http://www.batteryuniversity.com/partone-6.htm&gt;.

Buchmann, Isidor. The nickel-based battery, its dominance and the future. n.d.,18 February 2010 <http://www.batteryuniversity.com/partone-4.htm&gt;.

Energy Efficiency News. How green are electric cars? 20 April 2009. 18 February 2010 <http://www.energyefficiencynews.com/transport/i/2026/&gt;.

Kantor, Andrew. Green technology isn’t always very green. 24 June 2005. 18 February 2010 <http://www.usatoday.com/tech/columnist/andrewkantor/2005-06-24-green-tech_x.htm&gt;.

Lampton, Christopher How Electric Car Batteries Work . n.d.,18 February 2010 <http://auto.howstuffworks.com/fuel-efficiency/vehicles/electric-car-battery.htm&gt;.

Lampton, Christopher. Advantages and Disadvantages of EVs. n.d.,18 February 2010 <http://auto.howstuffworks.com/fuel-efficiency/vehicles/electric-car-battery3.htm&gt;.

Running head: Oil and the Foreign Policy of the United States

Introduction

There are a multitude of issues that shape and influence foreign policy in the United States. Throughout American history, the change in the way our government deals with other nations has evolved. From the conception of the United States as a sovereign country, the foreign policy of American leadership took on an isolationist posture. Since then, the United States government has relaxed this posture greatly. At least since the Carter administration, America’s dependence on foreign oil has had a major influence on American foreign policy in the Middle East.

It has been regarded many times that the United States foreign and international actions, policies and decisions in the last 50 years are inspired and directed in the super concepts such as freedom, democracy and humanity. However many critics argued that behind these banners being shown to the public eyes is a self motivated soul which aim to maintain its egoistical superiority and dominance. In this paper, we are going to examine how does a natural resource in the form of oil had influence the United States decisions, policies and actions in its foreign and international affairs.

The Importance of Middle East

The importance of the Middle Eastern Region especially the Gulf Region lies on its natural reserves of oil. According to Findlay (1994) the said region is the location of the largest known oil reserves in the globe. It was also been cited by Findlay that in 1990 the Middle Eastern region account for more than 65 percent of the total oil reserves in the whole world while the United States only had 3% of the total oil reserves in the globe. According to Collina (2005) in his report entitle Oil Dependence and U.S. Foreign Policy: Real Dangers, Realistic Solutions the United States imports almost 60% of its oil demand in 2005 and this is expected to increase for up to 70% in 2025. With this kind of arrangement, the United States economy and politics is determined by the supply of oil that is coming from one of the most unstable region in the globe. Also according to him, the growing dependence of the United States on imported oil is the primary driver of the United States foreign and military policy particularly in the Middle East.

The Importance of Oil

The importance of oil lies on the significant role ‘energy’ plays in our society and way of life. The food we eat and the clothes we wear and almost everything we do only became possible through our exploitation of energy. According to Harold Schobert (2002), “today more than ever, energy became so ubiquitous in our way of life that we seldom think about it”. To rip oil out of our lives is to freeze and starve the modern man. As Schobert said in his book Energy and Society, we will be reduced to a fairly brutish existence comparable to the poor of the medieval times if we ran out of energy.

This importance of energy primarily produced from oil or fossil fuels is magnified through its great demand and yet limited and finite supply. In our times wherein there is a worldwide conclusion that there is a limited amount of oil that can be extracted, countries are doing their best to position their selves to a place wherein they can access oil to feed their economic growth and stability.

The Carter Doctrine

The policy of the United States during Carter’s stay in office was summed up during his speech in his State of the Union Address in January 23, 1980. In that speech he said:

Let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”(Carter 1980)

It must be noted that the context in this time is turmoil, instability and strife especially in the region of the Middle East. In early 1979, the shah of Iran, the number one ally of the United States in the Middle East had been overthrown by the militant Islamic revolutionaries. Together with this major hit in the United States position, the Soviet Union which is its ‘archenemy’ by that time invaded Afghanistan which is interpreted by the United States as a primary step of the communist regime to take a hold in the vital region of oil in the gulf. (Lisiero 2008)

These two events alone, the overthrow of shah of Iran and the invasion of the Soviets on Afghanistan had been regarded as the most dangerous threats in the access of the United States in the oil of the Middle East. As a response to this threat, the US government had promised a commitment to protect oil producing countries such as Saudi Arabia in exchange for the US special access to their oil supplies. Along with Reagan Doctrine, this also became the basis of the building up of the U.S. forces in the gulf such as the Rapid Deployment Forces and the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) that are ready to be dispatched in case of any disturbances in the region that can affect the US interest and access to oil in the region (Collina 2005).

Though this is not really the start of the United States foreign policy defined by oil, Carter is the one who formalized and spoke publicly about his intention to protect the Middle East to take care the interest of the United States by securing the oil supply.

In fact, the use of military power to protect the flow of oil has been a central tenet of U.S. foreign policy since 1945. That was the year that President Franklin D. Roosevelt promised King Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia that the United States would protect the kingdom in return for special access to Saudi oil—a promise that governs U.S. foreign policy today. (Collina 2005)

George W. Bush Doctrine

According to Dario Lisiero (2008) in his work entitle American Doctrine, if there is one document that can summarize George Bush foreign policy, it is the revelation of the document, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses.” According to him:

“This is the real Bush Doctrine; this is his political bible. All the rest, so nicely stated in his inaugural addresses, speeches and formal and informal conversations are mere smokescreens. . . the basic thesis of this document, repeatedly stated and emphasized, is that ‘the United States is the world’s only superpower, combining preeminent military power, global technological leadership, and the world’s largest economy.”

According to Lisiero (2008) the infamous attack of the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001 had also been cited to favor the doctrine of Bush rather than harming it. The destruction of the symbol of United States commercialism, the attack on the Pentagon and the death of thousands of Americans became the most important reason and justification of the Bush administration to have a foothold in one of the richest land in oil in the Arab region. As stated by Lisiero (2008):

Finally, the American troops were on Arab soil. Finally, the authors of the modern imperial doctrine had achieved their secret goal: to have a permanent foothold on that forbidden land, the land of oil and riches.”

Disguising its motives to a more humanitarian cloak such as the sought for weapons of mass destruction hailing in Iraq and the liberation of the Iraqi against the oppressive regime of Hussein, the Bush government successfully managed to establish a foothold in the land of oil and riches.

From here, we are going to examine the document that has been regarded as one of the biggest influence on Bush international actions during his presidency, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses.”

Rebuilding American Defense

The 80 pages document reported by The Project of New American Century is basically a set of specific guidelines and course of actions that defines what the United States should do to be able to maintain their status quo. As stated directly in the document:

The United States is the world’s only superpower, combining preeminent military power, global technological leadership, and the world’s largest economy. Moreover, an America stand at the head of a system of alliances which includes the world’s other leading democratic powers. At present the United States faces no global rival. America’s grand strategy should aim to preserve and extend this advantageous position as far into the future as possible.

Examining the document, we can see how plans and course of action were outlined to establish footholds in different parts of the globe specially the strategic places like the Middle East, South East Asia and Europe. Along with this, it also pushes for the revival of the interest of the United States in nuclear technology which took its setback during Clinton’s administration. Lastly, it deals with the improvements in the military forces of the United States that can protect the nation and its allies against WMD threats, cyber space attacks and other possible attack in the future. (Donnelly et al. 2000)

This concludes that the doctrine of Bush is simple. The Americans should maintain its dominance in economic, political and military affairs that is why it needs to secure all the possible resources that it can access to maintain the status quo. Oil had been the most significant element in the economic growth making this a very vital resource which the United States should not be deprived to be able to maintain its position in the international community.

War for Oil in Iraq

In relation to Middle East particularly its recent war on Iraq, the United States had tried to address its future shortage on oil by using the military to protect supply routes. According to Collina (2005), the US managed to install regimes in the Arab Region that it found friendly and useful to continue the United States access to its oil supply. However, the case of Iran had shown the otherwise. After the invasion, Iraq is producing less oil than it did before the invasion. With the cost of war reaching to an estimate of $200 billion dollars, the Americans paid an astronomical price of resources and positive reputation in the globe for an underperforming investment. (Collina 2005)

America Today with Obama

If we are going to follow the theme of our discussion that speaks of the aim of the United States to maintain its superiority and apply it to the actions of the current president Obama, we can see that Obama in his actions today and even before he became a president is dominated with the very same task and goal that inspired Carter, Reagan and Bush.

Way back in Obama’s years as a senator, he co-authored a Senate bill which resembles the Nunn-Lugar program which aimed for the safeguarding and dismantling of the enormous Soviet stockpiles of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons’ related materials and its delivery system (United States Senate n.d.). As a senator, Obama together with Lugar authored a bill that will authorize the president to carry out a program to provide assistance to foreign countries to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. This will include nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The bill’s provisions were incorporated into a House bill that passed later that year and was signed into law in January 2007.

When he became a president, he pushed sanctions to nations that are said to be proliferating nuclear technology like Iran and North Korea ranging from banning United States companies from investing and trading with the said counties to financial restriction to its leaders, etc. The president is also encouraging the international community to perform the same sanctions to such nations that are proliferating weapons of mass destruction particularly nuclear technology. (BBC News)

When viewed in the perspective above, it is possible that the history of Iraq during the earlier administration is repeating. Iran seats in one of the most fertile region in terms of oil in the globe. If the United States can hold this vast rich land of Iran, the United States will maintain its access to one of the most sought resources of the modern world.

Analysis and Conclusion

It is becoming very clear to us that today much of the United States foreign policies, decisions and actions are really dominated with its quest for a viable access to a continuous oil supply. Though many critics will argue and judge this as evil and imperialistic, when we really think of it, we cannot blame the government if it is acting this way. The same with the human body, a state will always aim for its survival above anything else. A nation and a state will always act in such a way that it will ensure its continuous existence. In the United States however, there is greater task that was given. Being a superpower since the dawn of the 20th century and a victor of the Cold War, the United States found itself in such a place that it is very difficult to maintain. While other countries are doing the same actions and positioning that are comparable to the United States, our eyes focused its sight to this giant superpower due to its giant demand for resources. The message is simple, no matter which country or nation we place in the shoes of Uncle Sam, we will still see the same acts of imperialism and expansion to be able to maintain its dominance through the access to oil.

The enemy is neither the United States nor its quest for enormous access to fossil fuels. Our real enemy today is our dependence to a resource that is finite and nearing to its depletion. Conflicts will always rise due to scarcity and as long as there is scarcity, we can always assume that there will always be a conflict. Our goal and aim is simple: We must be able to provide a viable alternative to fossil fuels as a source of our energy. We cannot always let the foundation of our economic life and political aspirations to be determined to a resource that is finite and depleting. As long the American people and the rest of the world are dependent to such resources, we will always be tied to an obligation to feed ourselves first before we can give to others. Americans will always be at the mercy of the Middle East as long as we need them to feed the American economy. The humanitarian goals of the United States in the name of freedom, equality and democracy will never be attained as long as we depend on oil. No vital change and revolution in the globe will happen as long as we don’t manage to get out of the viscous cycle of oil dependence.

References

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