Re: 'On Earth, petroleum once turned petty thugs into world leaders'
I don't think I gave it much thought till Bush the Second managed to snake into the big white house, but it seems like it is referencing the Bush family as archtypical oil baron/politicos to me.
That would be a bizarre reference for a 1998 film, given that Bush I was a one-term failure, and Bush II was still a couple years away from the White House.
"Beep... beep!" --Captain Pike