Oil Key To U.S. Security
Former CIA Director James Woolsey reads ThreatsWatch! Or so it seems from his comments while visiting Pittsburgh yesterday.
In these pages, we've called it the Terror Tax. We've discussed how such dependence upon foreign oil puts significant amounts of money into the coffers of hostile governments, and in some cases, their openly hostile terrorist expediters.
Imagine another terrorist attack -- especially one on Saudi Arabian oil refineries, former CIA Director R. James Woolsey said Monday during a visit to Pittsburgh. If terrorists took out the sulfur-cleaning towers in northeastern Saudi Arabia, as described in the beginning of Robert Baer's book, "Sleeping With the Devil," crude oil prices could easily top $150 a barrel and stay there for more than a year, Woolsey said.
They also don't want to think about where some of the money goes when they buy gasoline -- to groups that threaten the U.S., Woolsey said. And it's not just terrorists, but established Middle Eastern regimes that restrict women's rights, have poor education systems and fail to invest in their societies.
In order to come up with foreign policy that makes sense, it is important to understand the key points that drive the issue.
1. We are dependent upon energy, especially oil, and we use lots of it
2. Unless we reduce our overall demand for energy, we need more resources
3. Resources can be coal, oil, hydro, or nuclear (solar, tidal, geothermal cannot currently produce enough to be viable)
4. Coal and oil are limited - but have we exhausted our domestic supply?
5. Oil is used mostly for transportation and home heating, but there still are oil-fired power plants.
Nuclear is not only viable, it would reduce the amount of oil needed by the U.S. greatly through better and cheaper electricity to heat homes, in lieu of oil burners. Nuclear power is much cleaner than oil or coal in regards to acquisition of the fuel and any pollution of the environment during the creation of electricity. Nuclear waste can be processed into something less or non toxic - that technology can be developed and refined while we are building new plants.
Exploiting oil shale in Utah and the oil fields in ANWR add to our domestic supplies for the near term. For the long term, improve gas mileage limits on vehicles, develop alternative fuel vehicles (electric, hydrogen, solar, etc.).
The foreign policy that makes sense is to fill as much of our oil need as possible from domestic sources to stop paying the terror tax. Then produce legislation and funding that would advance America beyond the fossil-fuel era. It can be done and it will be done since coal and oil will run out. In 100 years, few will remember the good old days of the internal combustion engine. Will the change be brought about by this generation? Or will this generation continue to write knee-jerk legislation that solves neither short-term nor long-term problems? This could be the generation of the visionaries that took us to the 22nd Century with grace and dignity, or these times will be known as the times of compromise and indecision, guaranteeing a place in history for someone else, someone willing to make informed and timely decisions.
Or this will be the generation that paid the tax to men who brought a once-great America to her knees.