Why Energy Independence is Bad for the USA

energy independence is the new buzzword in national politics today, but i wish to warn my dear readers of the danger of this new policy. do not get me wrong, I have expressed a similar desire for a policy like this for quite some time, but as with all things, when everyone else starts jumping on the bandwagon, it is time to get off and re-examine your mode of transportation. after all, it might not be safe anymore, eh?

so, here is the angle i am working now…it is conventional wisdom (for most statesman) that engagement is more effective than isolation. the tactic has been used many times over the decades including Nixon going to China and Reagan (and others) engaging the USSR in the waning days of the cold war.

it is these moments of engagement and interaction that helped keep these states in the fold of the international community. take North korea for example, is the Bush policy of ignoring them working? no. it just is making them more belligerent. why? because they have nothing to gain from capitulating.

do you really think that if they just stopped their nuclear program that we would start flooding them with the foreign aid and energy reserves they so desperately need? hell no. why? because the area has no geopolitical significance. they are already isolated from the community and see no benefit of re-joining the fold. only after convincing them of the inherent advantages of coming back to the table will progress be made.

So, what is my point right? sorry, my point goes something like this: the Mid-east is a mess partly because the states in that region can isolate themselves from the outside world by using their oil wealth to insulate themselves from criticism (an article echoing this is here). so, the theory goes that if we stop flooding them with this money they will be forced to re-enter the world community.

this I think is wrong. what i fear will happen is the opposite: as we begin to wean ourselves off of the primary thing that connects the Mid-east to the rest of the world, they will become more desperate and dangerous. As the USA becomes more free of the will of OPEC, the more belligerent and stand-offish it will become. And the only bargaining chip the mid-East ever had will be gone.

now, ask yourself, what happens to people when they feel disenfranchised AND left with no recourse to change their fate? do you think they will become more tolerant as we become less flexible? or do you think there is a distinct possibility that they will feel emasculated and become even more intransigent?

2 Responses to “Why Energy Independence is Bad for the USA”

  1. J-Ro Says:

    Interesting theory, but I don’t think I can agree.

    In my view, the Middle East is such a mess because oil is SO important to America. So important that we have to have our hands in everything, constantly intervening. The other problem with the Middle East economically is they are just as dependent on the oil economy as we are. Natural resources are tricky things for countries to manage. Take Africa, with abundant diamond reserves and all sorts of problems. Rich natural resources like oil and diamonds tend to concentrate money in the hands of a few, and leads easily to corruption and foreign influence.

    Instead, without an oil economy, the Middle East can flourish as a well-rounded state. There are all sorts of sectors of the Middle East economy that don’t get the investment or attention they deserve because oil is the elephant in the room. Middle Eastern rulers have not shown the same kind of isolationist tendencies that North Korea has, so I think it is unlikely they will cut themselves off completely. Instead, without oil clouding our judgement, America will be able to deal diplomatically with these countries without a conflict of interest. I think this will greatly increase trust between our nations, and it will also make us more objective in our decisions about who to antagonize, who to attack, where to station our troops abroad, and all sorts of other important geo-political decisions.

  2. Administrator Says:

    Thanks for the comment J-Ro. I will craft a response and post it after I give the idea some consideration.

    Thanks again!

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