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Winning the Oil Endgame

This summer, Congress passed a ‘comprehensive’ energy bill. The bill was initiated at the request of President Bush, in response to rising oil prices. However, the Bill has been criticized for doing little to diminish US dependency on foreign oil.

A growing movement is forming in response to the neo-con movement, the neo-con being cited as the driving force behind the Bush administration. This new movement, while still early in its development and yet to be centralized, is being referred to as the geo-con movement. In short, it is the belief that many of the neo-con goals can best be accomplished through lowering US dependence on foreign oil.

The author of the cited article makes a case for US negotiations being greatly weakened by its oil dependence in all of the following: Terrorism, Democracy in the Greater Middle East, WMD proliferation, and foreign relations in Iran, Russia, and Latin America.

Does oil hinder the US from obtaining its global goals? Are the President’s hands tied in political negotiations due to our heavy dependence on foreign oil? Is it possible to greatly reduce (let’s say by 50%) our need for foreign oil?

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The economic side by Brandon

Skipping the main thrust of your post (the politics) and looking at the economic feasibility of reducing our need for foreign oil, I read the following while studying up on hybrid vehicles:

<i>* If we raise fuel efficiency standards in American cars by one mile per gallon, in one year, we would save twice the amount of oil that could be obtained from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

  • Raising it by 2.7 mpg would save enough to eliminate all the oil imports from Iraq and Kuwait combined
  • Raising it by 7.6 mpg would save enough to eliminate 100% of our gulf oil imports into this country</i>

The same website has information on the oil and blood "insecurity cycle" and economic risks.

Fuel efficiency seems to be a very viable and economic solution. I mean, if an electrical engineer can modify his Toyota Prius with bike batteries for $3,000 to get 250mpg, I bet car manufacturers could do the same thing, charge $3,000 more and not be able to keep showroom floors stocked.

One must analyze current U.S. foreign policy in order to determine U.S. dependence on foreign oil. As the promoter of democracy and federal republics throughout the world, the consumption of oil, and acquiring it, may possibly be used by the U.S. as an extension of its conservative movement as far as foreign policy is concerned. Obviously, China’s, India’s, Russia’s and Eastern Europe’s economy depend upon drawing energy from the consumption of foreign crude oil as well (Russia much less so than the others). China’s need for energy has been growing exponentially along with its burgeoning economy; it will soon surpass all other nations as the largest consumer of oil in some 15 or so odd years. (All of these nations possess nuclear weapons.) Traditionally, the conservative (and I hesitate to use "neo" because I generally define conservative as being correct) approach to co-opting these nuclear powers is to contain them and exhibit a presence in those nations which produce oil. Clearly, we’ve got Iraq covered (a product of a conservative, hawkish DOD and State Department), and we’ll continue to put pressure on smaller countries, e.g. Venezuela. Russia, on the other hand, continues to build power under an increasingly socialist government once again. I submit that our dependence on foreign oil has much more to do with the U.S. establishing itself as the world’s # 1 super power. Reducing its dependence on foreign oil, I think, really doesn’t do anything for us, with the exception, of course, of improving our local economy and reducing environmental risks. Even if our dependence on foreign oil is vastly reduced in those regions, conservatives will continue to advance the theory that we must demonstrate a military "show of force" in order to contain those countries who will more than likely emerge as a near-peer competitor of the United States, much the same way as our Cold War policies of old attempted to contain the U.S.S.R. That near-peer competitor, for the time being, is China. I wouldn’t be surprised if the conservative movement attempts to achieve or acquire some control over the vast amount of oil flowing to China to support its ever increasing economy through its recent involvement in Iraq and the greater Middle East, or through increasing diplomatic relations with Venezuela and/ or Russia. China, although a Communist nation, has recently discovered some capitalistic ideas. However, this will not prevent the U.S. from attempting to slow the growth of that country by gaining control or exerting influence over the oil producing regions of the world. Overall, the goal of becoming less dependent on foreign oil, at least in the most basic sense, really has no effect on U.S. interests other than factors which are limited to local economy and fundamental improvements in our environment. Conservatives care about the economy, but leave less essential issues, i.e. the environment, up to the Democrats. We may soon be entering Cold War II. Look for a rematch between a George Kennan and Dean Acheson.

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