Syriana “What are they thinking?”

Often times the best way to address an issue is to show a movie that amplifies the underlying issues in the real world.  This short video clip is taken from the move Syriana, which depicts a story of political and business corruption between advanced countries like the U.S and China and a fictional oil producing country in the Middle East.  It serves as a nice introduction to the topic of “Oil.”  In this clip, Prince Nasir, the foreign minister of the emirate, thanked the U.S for its past efforts in aiding the oil producing country stand on its feet economically.  However, he was furious that when his country tried to lessen its dependency on oil production and foreign companies, by investing in economic infrastructures, setting up a independent government and oil exchange, and giving women rights to vote, advanced countries like the U.S step it to anything that might lessen the United States financial control in the emirate.

I think this clip demonstrates some of the potential drawbacks of globalization.  I think globalization has benefits.  Take this movie for example, due to the U.S’s investment in the country, citizens of the emirate have higher qualities of life compared to before.  Prince Nasir and his family have the oil money to own collections of Range Rovers with fully trained bodyguards.  Prince Nasir’s brother also gets to buy private boats and spend hotel rooms costing up to 50k a night.

However, from an Anti-Globalization perspective, all these financial benefits come at an expense.  By reeking financial rewards of a luxurious lifestyle, princes in the emirate are bound by the United State’s control.  The U.S has a military base in the region. USA flexes its political muscle by trying to gain oil-drilling rights in the country through means of corruption and bribery.  In the end, Prince Nasir and his team were bombarded by American missile in order to stop his plan to give away drilling rights to China.  Ironically, Prince Nasir was killed by the same country that granted him all the financial benefits of globalization.

To me it is like selling my soul to the devil.  The devil grants me anything I want: sports cars, women, houses, watches.  However, in return, I will listen to whatever the devil tells me to do.  Am I really better off? Is globalization, especially in situations relating to oil, truly beneficial?

Although in this instance, I agree with the Anti-globalization perspective, I don’t think there is much oil producing countries can do about it.  The U.S is too politically and economically strong for any developing country to resist aid and foreign investments from.  However, it is important to recognize what needs to be done, and not get lose focus from all the luxurious lifestyles.  The main focus of developing countries, as it is for the emirate in this movie, is to accept foreign investment, but at the same time seek ways to decrease dependency from advanced economies.  Obviously, advanced countries do not like to lose political and economical control in countries that are in allegiance with them, but developing economies must find ways to stand up on their own.



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