No Blood for OilJuly 11th, 2008 by nick
I’ve changed my mind. I think issue number one in this Presidential election is not Iraq, but rather, to put it crudely, the price of gasoline. To phrase it another way, it is dependence on oil. To be even more precise, it is dependence on oil from the Middle East (except for Iraq) and Venezuela and Russia. We, i.e., Western Civilization, absolutely must not be in the position of needing to buy oil from the Saudi royal family, the mullahs in Iran, Vladimir Putin, or Hugo Chavez. We must not be the victims of extortion. This is really the same issue as Iraq of course. It is the same war, just a difference in emphasis. We are financing our enemies, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, and around the world.
The Democrats are right about some things. We cannot drill our way out of this. Drilling is good, and I am in favor of it, off-shore, in ANWR, oil shale in Colorado, etc., but increasing the supply of “domestic” oil can only make a marginal difference. Oil is a fungible commodity, bought and sold in the global marketplace. Any reduction in price caused by increased supply will be shared by China, India, and every other oil-consuming nation. The only way that domestic U.S. production can wean America from Middle Eastern oil is if we produce everything we need and then nationalize the domestic oil industry. That would be a bad idea for many reasons.
We need alternatives. We need a massive, Iraq-size, or moon-shot size, national commitment to alternative sources of energy that are not just pork barrel schemes for Iowa farmers. We need lots more nuclear power. Neither candidate or party is really stepping forward on this issue. Pelosi won’t even allow an energy bill to come to the floor for fear that Republicans would add amendments to authorize more drilling, amendments which would pass by large majorities. But the Republicans are not proposing anything real either, other than more drilling.
The smartest thing anyone has said so far is John McCain’s proposal to authorize a 300 million dollar prize for a breakthrough in battery technology. Battery technology is the key, the most important aspect of the issue of energy, and its corollary, the war on terror. If we had batteries that would store electrical energy with negligible loss, which could be recharged in the time it takes to fill a tank with gasoline, and that did not depend on a chemical reaction, the war on terror would be won.
This will not happen without committed, intelligent, courageous Presidential leadership. I see no sign of that on the horizon from anybody.