Daniel Yergin : Revisionist Comb-Over

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I don’t have anything against balding people. Anybody can start losing hair, and will most likely feel embarrassed about it and start doing silly things like combing strands over the patch – the classic comb-over : not a sign of vanity, more a sign of vulnerability. It’s a kind of disguise, not admitting to the facts, even as the facts become more and more apparent. The balding person does not accept what is happening, and is seeking to delay the inevitable.
I’ve read the Introduction and Prologue (and a little of Chapter 1) of Daniel Yergin’s new book “The Quest : Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World”. I have found it very hard-going, and I keep having to pause. The reason ? I am far too critical of the writing, and it keeps making me some kind of cross between a tad narked and full-blown irritated.

What are the main problems with his style and content ? Historical revisionism and comb-over of the facts. Here’s just one example :-

“In the face of swelling protests, the regime in Tunisia collapsed. And then, as protesters filled Tahrir Square in Cairo, so did the government in Egypt. Demonstrations against authoritarian governments spread across the entire region. In Libya, the protests turned into a civil war which drew in NATO

Top marks for storytelling, zero for accuracy. There is no mention of the “soft power” tactics that Hillary Clinton and others in the USA have likely launched to influence the opposition in countries in the Middle East. There is no mention of the rigging of the food commodities markets in the major stock exchanges, and the speculation in both food and energy, that has taken away the prospects for economic development in Arab countries. The protests in North Africa and the Middle East are not only about “repressive” regimes, but that’s the only narrative you’ll hear in the mainstream news, and it’s deliberate. More importantly, Daniel Yergin airbrushes over the cognitive dissonance of NATO launching an extended bombing campaign in Libya, which has been killing and injuring people, and destroying homes, businesses and administrative centres; when their only mandate was to “protect civilians”. “Humanitarian intervention” has yet again been proved to be an oxymoron. In addition, the civil war in Libya, which may have been provoked by covert foreign interference, didn’t draw in NATO – it drew in the United Nations : why NATO got involved is unclear as yet.

So that’s the revisionism. What about the veil over the balding dome ? It seems that Daniel Yergin is in denial about Peak Energy – the peak of production in oil, gas and coal, including all the unconventional low quality resources. He is a bit hazy about whether and when this will happen and ignores the data that indicates we are almost right on top of it. He lauds progress in various technologies, but does not seem to recognise that virtually nothing can put off Peak Energy – apart from a major permanent global recession.

I will continue to read this book in chunks from time to time from now on, but it doesn’t appear to be rooted in reality sufficiently for me to take it very seriously.

One thought on “Daniel Yergin : Revisionist Comb-Over”

  1. Dear Author–

    Are you a complete […] AND a nut job, or just a nut job?

    Please respond via blogpost, together with a description of your (presumably very confident) hair style.

    – […]

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