[ExI] Running up against energy limits

Stuart LaForge avant at sollegro.com
Sat Sep 11 21:04:33 UTC 2021

Quoting BilK:

> There is a very long article just out that claims that the Afghanistan
> disaster was fundamentally about the USA hitting resource limits.
> <https://ourfiniteworld.com/2021/08/30/the-afghanistan-fiasco-and-todays-high-level-of-conflict-reflect-an-energy-problem/>

I disagree with the premise of the article that the U.S. pull-out from  
Afghanistan is what constitutes the "Afghanistan disaster". What  
constitutes the Afghanistan disaster was sending armies to a land that  
has been historically difficult to conquer, and near impossible to  
hold for any substantial length of time in order to nation-build in  
the first place. As far as bringing Bin Ladin to justice for 9-11, we  
should have never sent the  Army and the Marines to do the job of a  
single SEAL team.

Pulling out of Afghanistan was not a disaster, instead it freed  
America from the sunk-cost fallacy that somehow throwing more money,  
bombs, and bullets, or lives for that matter, at the situation there  
would fix it. I don't care if they have Pax Americana or the Cultural  
Revolution, so long as they have the peace and the rule of law.

> Quote:
> The Afghanistan Fiasco (and Today?s High Level of Conflict) Reflect an
> Energy Problem
> Posted on August 30, 2021 by Gail Tverberg
> There is a saying, ?Everything happens for a reason.? The fiasco in
> Afghanistan is no exception to this rule. Even though it is not
> obvious, the United States is up against energy limits. It needed to
> pull back from Afghanistan to try to have enough energy to continue in
> its other roles, such as providing benefits for its growing army of
> retirees, and building infrastructure to mitigate the COVID-19
> downturn.

Yes, which is precisely why the U.S. leaving Afghanistan was not a  
disaster. One can debate if it could have been done more gracefully,  
but sometimes you just got to rip off the Band-Aid and be done with.

> The fundamental problem is that governments can add debt and other
> indirect promises of resources that create goods and services, but
> they cannot actually create the low-cost energy, water and mineral
> resources needed to fulfill those promises.

Bullshit. The Manhattan project was literally the government  
innovating a low-cost energy resource out of a physical theory. The  
fact that we let short-sighted NIMBYs irrationally derail and deny us  
the full promise of nuclear energy on an almost superstitious basis is  
ridiculous. Want to save on fossil fuels? Drive electric cars kept  
charged by nuclear reactors while funding fusion research.

> Looks like we *really* need a cheap energy replacement for fossil fuels
> as soon as possible.
> (Then we can get back to fighting more wars as usual).   :(

What Tverberg considers renewables are a bunch of non-starters in  
terms of EROEI. Nukes now and fusion later; that is the only thing  
that will save us. Hydrogen is the most abundant substance in the  
universe. Mastering controlled fusion will keep Malthus at bay for a  
long time.

Stuart LaForge

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