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Re: SC75

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September 09, 2008 05:27AM
http://www.emorywheel.com/detail.php?n=25765

The New Trojan Horse

During her speech at the Republican National Convention last week, Gov. Sarah Palin — who we have since learned would serve as “energy independence chief” in a John McCain administration — drove home the link between oil dependence and national security.

“With Russia wanting to control a vital pipeline in the Caucasus, and to divide and intimidate our European allies by using energy as a weapon, we cannot leave ourselves at the mercy of foreign suppliers,” she said.

“To confront the threat that Iran might seek to cut off nearly a fifth of world energy supplies ... or that terrorists might strike again at the Abqaiq facility in Saudi Arabia ... or that Venezuela might shut off its oil deliveries ... we Americans need to produce more of our own oil and gas.”

It seems that energy independence is the catchphrase of the season. But, as is so often the case in politics, everything old is new again: every president since Nixon has touted the importance of freeing the country from foreign oil.

In all fairness, it’s not just the Republican Party drawing the link between energy independence and security. In a 2006 speech to the Governor’s Ethanol Coalition, Sen. Barack Obama made reference to Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, Iran and Nigerian militants, all hampering American energy independence — in the first 700 words. He repeated the theme again in Denver two weeks ago, citing the need to “end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.”

But here’s the rub — for as long as presidents and presidential aspirants have been arguing for energy independence, serious analysts have been debunking those arguments. Energy independence, it turns out, is the most perfect of political devices — it sounds eminently reasonable to the uninformed and provides cover for a whole host of proposals.

Few things have spurred globalization, or been more affected by it, like the energy market. It’s often ominously mentioned that more money flows around the world for oil and gas than for any other product in history. If any single commodity represents the globalized 21st century, it’s oil.

That’s why energy independence is a dangerous delusion...........

............the American public is done a serious disservice when politicians of any stripe try to justify these ( energy ) policies by arguing that they will either protect our country from terrorism and rogue nations or do much to lower the price of gasoline at the pump in the near-term.

On the Republican side, energy independence serves as a red herring for the odious chant of last week: “Drill, baby drill!!” McCain has framed domestic drilling, both in Alaska and offshore, as a weapon against terrorism and illiberal states. But as oil consumption grows exponentially in China, India and Africa, it’s ridiculous to think that the slow weaning of the United States wouldn’t be compensated by growing demand from others. We may be hegemonic in our military might, but we’re only one of many in the global economy.

And the two largest sources of U.S. oil? Canada and Mexico, those notorious supporters of international terrorism.

Furthermore, as Palin alluded to in her speech, McCain will use the energy-security fallacy in defense of his dangerous proposal to boot Russia from the G8 and fast-track Georgia into NATO. McCain seems to think that the time is ripe for excluding Russia from his so-called League of Democracies and drive it further into relations with truly hostile nations. It’s no coincidence that McCain, not Bush, was the darling of neoconservatives in the 2000 campaign.

In the following paragraph of her speech, Palin refers to the threat of an Iranian oil cut. McCain has often said, “There is only one thing worse than military action, and that is a nuclear-armed Iran.” At the current pace of Iran’s nuclear development, it’s difficult not to read this as a threat of military action in his first term.

And there, at least partially, is the answer to why McCain picked Palin. He chose a politician with a history of energy experience who could convincingly frame his extreme foreign policy views as matters of energy independence and, by extension, domestic security. Expect to see more of this as the campaign continues, and keep it in mind any time you hear energy independence as a justification for, well, anything................
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