What are we fighting in Iraq for? What are we fighting in Afghanistan for? Why are we threatening Iran?
Think it's about ephemeral things such as establishing democracy and freedom? Think again. There are dozens of freedom-hating countries around the world that we don't threaten with our military. Some of those freedom hating countries had their leaders installed by the U.S. We aren't threatening those countries, only the ones in the Middle East.
This article outlines the growing danger of a world war fought to secure oil supplies: A battle for oil could set the world aflame International powers will do everything to protect their access to dwindling resources. We are mad not to have an alternative strategy (Will Hutton, Sunday April 30, 2006, The Observer)
The key piece is twofold. First is the incontrovertible fact that the U.S. and China both have very little domestic oil supplies. What has allowed our modern societies to flourish isn't technology, it's that the technology has cheap energy to drive it. We could have the same dazzling array of technology, but if the energy to drive the technology wasn't available the technology would be useless. And, this is a situation we all may be facing in a few years.
The U.S. imports over 60% of its oil needs. In the 1970's there were two oil embargo crisis, at a time when the U.S. imported only 35% of its oil needs, and which drove the U.S. into a recession. What would happen today if the supply of oil to the U.S. were to dry up?
At the same time China is experiencing rapid economic growth, which is in turn causing rapid growth in its energy demands.
The article discusses China's role in both the Sudan/Darfur fiasco, and the showdown against Iran. In both cases China has made oil deals with the countries in question, and at the same time are expected to veto any UN Security Council actions against those countries. Further, Iran and China have an oil deal, part of which is shipping oil from Iran to China via a pipeline through Central Asia. Such a pipeline is a strategic move that would keep the U.S. from enforcing anything against that oil, because our Navy is useless in reaching Central Asia.