Thursday, 30 October 2008

Thoughts on "Energy Independence"

Both US presidential candidates are proposing a so-called energy independence plan. I'm not a foreign policy expert but this just plain sounds like a bad idea. The reasoning behind it is that the US has to import oil from countries that apparently hate the US.

This sounds like a good idea when you spin it up with all the rhetoric and the new fake patriotism brand. But if you really look at what happens, it's not as smart as it appears on the surface. Besides this being an isolationist policy, for which Ron Paul was slammed when he's not even an isolationist and was the last chance to save the integrity of the US government and avert a total superpower meltdown, it really doesn't make any sense when you take these points into consideration.

1. US oil imports do not come from countries who are branded as anti-American for the most part. Only 20% of total US oil imports are imported from the Persian Gulf and 60% of those imports from the Persian Gulf are from a US ally - Saudi Arabia. In comparison, a full 20% of oil imports are from Canada alone. Another 11% is imported from Mexico. The argument about America's enemies being in control of exporting oil to America just does not fly.

2. The majority of so-called American enemies can not shut off the tap without ending up in a full scale economic and political breakdown in their own country. Most of these countries rely very heavily on revenues generated by exporting oil. Unless they are able to switch all of their exports to China overnight, they are going to be facing food shortages at home, and when that happens, governments fall. Take Russia for example - threatening to shut off the tap to the UK. It's a total bluff and Putin wouldn't dare compromise his or his party's position of power in Russia to do this. If Russia can't shut the tap off, no one can. The global economy is far too inter-connected for any country to halt their main export.

3. Making America energy independent would require using up American oil, ldo. This is very important. What happens 30 or 40 years from now when that oil is starting to become harder and harder to find and becoming more and more expensive? Go back to importing? Hope and pray that technology finds a new solution by then? Are the American oil companies going to shut down that new solution again for the umpteenth time? That's quite a gamble when you apparently have enemies of America currently controlling America's oil supply already today. Are they even going to turn the tap back on in the future?

Right now the US can use it's own oil reserves as backup - insurance if you will - in case an "enemy" would be stupid enough to cut them off. So what happens when you decide that you are going to use up that insurance instead of saving it for - here's a thought - insurance?

Americans will be sitting ducks. You can't wage any wars when your enemies won't give you any oil because they've found new buyers and you've used up all of your own. The logical conclusion would be a new era of desperate resource wars, which would be a sad, sad state for the world to end up in.

This is just an average joe's opinion on the fallacy that is energy independence. I sincerely hope that Obama/McCain and Co. have actually looked at this viewpoint instead of hyping up the rhetoric to sound good and get elected. Rhetoric is for people that can't think for themselves and need someone to motivate them into thinking something... anything... regardless of its merits.* It sounds good with a little spin and would probably benefit Americans for the short run. But the long run would be disastrous.

*People that spew rhetoric go to the bottom of my list of reliable, trustworthy and honest people. They either think the average person is too stupid to understand wtf is going on because they have an ego problem or they have an agenda that is contrary to the good of their audience or both (in most cases both). If you can't tell me flat out what the deal is without spinning it and telling 1/2 truths in politico-speak, I have absolutely no use for you.

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