Monday, March 24, 2008

Syriana, Exxon & Robert Baer

Saw "Syriana" in the theatre when it came out three or so years ago. Saw it twice actually. Not exactly "feel-good-movie-of-the-year" material, but then again, precious little about US energy policy inspires feelings of mirth and merriment.

Perhaps the most damning commentary about the movie pertained to oil companies' influence on energy policy. If only this were your run-of-the-mill Hollywood bleeding-heart, holier-than-thou sensationalism. OK, sensational perhaps, but hardly fictional. As we now know, Dick Cheney gathered a secret meeting with oil executives to formulate US energy policy in 2001. President Bush and Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, meanwhile, anointed former Exxon CEO Lee Raymond to head an important energy crisis study several years back. The same Exxon that has opposed renewable energy investments and tried to debunk climate change science. Gotta love this country.

Back to Syriana: like many of you, I've read "See No Evil," the marvelous autobiographical account of former CIA operative Robert Baer, who inspired George Clooney's character. Having seen the movie and read the movie, it's extremely disheartening to learn how political agendas can trump policy and hang good guys like Clooney/Baer out to dry. Another of Baer's books, "Sleeping with the Devil," is in my reading queue and focuses on the long-standing (for how much longer?) relationship between the US (namely Exxon) and Saudi Arabia.

P.S. - Never did figure out what the title of "Syriana" actually stood for. I don't believe Syria has anything to do with it. Anyone know?

1 comment:

jason h said...

Per wiki and IMDb...
"Syriana is a term used by Washington think-tanks to describe a hypothetical re-shaping of the Middle East."