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OPEC Busting and Cowboy Diplomacy

Perhaps a sign that the batteries are nearly charged, rather than sleep like a normal human being as planned, Hillary Clinton's pledge to bust up OPEC got my goat last night. Within the context of her (and others') derisive statements lamenting 'Cowboy Diplomacy," I felt compelled to offer a bit of that context.

It is published at The Tank on National Review Online.

Logic Bomb: Rather than address what we can do and what is ours (such as our own undeveloped reserves), Hillary would rather pick a fight with OPEC and try to control what is not ours. Such a fight would net zero desired results and most likely result in even tighter export controls by ticked-off OPEC countries, yielding even higher oil prices.

Meanwhile, Obama wants to go "unilateral" on Pakistan. At the same time, without rattling a single saber, Hillary vows to "obliterate" Iran. (President Bush and Vice President Cheney must have all the sabers hoarded and secured in the War Room.) And now Clinton is swearing that she will apply an American wrecking ball to OPEC.

And you thought "The era of cowboy diplomacy is over."

Silly rabbit, it's a Diplomatic Offensive®.

I steer quite clear of political commentary. However, when candidates for President of the United States and Commander in Chief lecture us on unilateralism, "Cowboy Diplomacy" and all manner of foreign policy topics while simultaneously establishing the above rhetorical track record, it needs to be pointed out. In context.


Exactly. Don't candidates have some kind of advisors ready to pull the power on the camera, or snatch away a microphone, if they haven't listened to the advice given on what not to say, or is it just part of the behind scene delusions of grandeur that pop out unwittingly. Keep a good eye on your goats, they probably have more sense than many...

Steve, I especially like the "®" part. But in all seriousness, the time has arrived for this Nation to come to grips with the need for an energy "Manhattan Project." Or maybe stated differently, in the same way that President Kennedy challenged us to go to the Moon, we should now deal with a rational energy policy.

Last week there was an Energy Summit. Among the conclusions was that we have untapped oil reserves in excess of the yield of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Additionally, the point was raised that with new technologies, including horizontal drilling, that much of this oil could be retrieved in places like Bakken Shale, with a minimal footprint (I forget the relative size that was given). Finally, with all of the money and time spent attempting to develop alternate energy sources, it was estimated that we were years away from any of these having a serious impact.

Energy policy and National Security policy are indeed linked in the future. While nuclear is one answer, responsible harvesting of existing natural resources is another.

People tend to forget also that OPEC represents less than half of our oil imports, and that in order, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Venezuela are our largest suppliers.

Jay, I believe you are on the right lines there. The fact that much of your oil comes from more 'stable' regions doesn't make it nescessarily cheaper though, though it might keep the related economy it generates closer to home. I don't think there is just one solution to the current energy problems (which are not just in the US but worldwide), but rather a mixture of aplicable solutions which combined would help to a shift in more sustainable and independent energy use. These range from efficiency of use, to technology which hasn't been invented in a usable form (ie. superconductors).The US apparently has a large (but polluting) coal reserve. New solar technology is underway (eg economical printed captors - Nanosolar of California) and large steam turbine projects powered by solar have regained interest (which was lost in the age of cheap oil). Along with other sustainable energies these 'could' provide a total solution if a very serious effort was taken to install them. Most likely though, they will only reach maybe five to fifteen percent in the short run, remembering that a large part of oil supply is used to fuel vehicles, and alternatives are not fully viable yet (except ethanol, which starves people). Nuclear has a much greater cost in the very long run due to storage of waste and decommissioning, but is 'convenient' and technologically presentable. Oil and the use of lower grade reserves is also questionable for various reasons, though most difficulties could be overcome in time, though at what cost is still debatable. What is needed is a very serious and unbiased study of the options to be presented in a format understandable to most people so as to open a real debate on the issue. The one missing part of the debate unfortunately, is oddly enough, oil. There are no reliable estimates (and many clearly wrong ones) of accessible reserves worldwide, with all due respect for the USGS estimates nevertheless. There is no clear guarantee of future supply (geopolitically).There are no clear indications as to the future price range (though most agree upwards). To base any move to more expensive technologies it starts to become hard to argue the reasoning from a financial perspective (one of the main hold backs for renewable) without a clear understanding of oils future price trends - the technology is there but just not competitive in the short run, as it does to argue on behalf of climate change, which will also incur costs. To wait for the economy to falter due to oil prices (which may be actually happening now),to find supply limited for geopolitical reasons, or to encounter climate disruption , and hence disruption of the ecosystems which we manage to support ourselves, does not seem prudent though.