Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Business as Usual . . . Oil Business, That Is

Mark Hyman’s recent call for a more sensible energy policy is fine; we just wish he’d support elected officials that might actually create one rather than acting as the cheerleader for a president who is committed to (oil) business as usual.

Calling for a “sensible” energy policy, Hyman warns that some unholy alliance between Saudi Arabia and an increasingly oil-thirsty China could spell trouble for the United States.

The problem is that there’s already an unholy alliance between the leaders of a major world power and Saudi Arabia that’s threatening to keep the U.S. at the mercy of foreign oil: the United States itself.

It’s common knowledge that many members of the
Bush administration have strong ties to the oil industry. On top of that, Bush has significant ties to the Saudi royal family.

Not surprisingly, the energy bill Bush recently signed amounted to
a payoff to the oil industry. More importantly, the long term philosophy of the Bush team is that oil is the solution to America’s energy needs. The absurd claims that drilling ANWAR is the answer for energy independence is Exhibit A of the Bush administration’s fixation on oil.

With growing demand and limited supplies, the only “sensible” energy policy is one that invests heavily in conservation and the development of alternative (and renewable) energy resources. Will that cost money? Sure, but think of what might have already been done to wean America off the teat of foreign oil with a small fraction of the fortune already squandered in Iraq (a conflict with its roots firmly in the oil issue).

Such a policy would not only be environmentally sound, but would make the U.S. less beholden to despotic regimes for oil. The result? The U.S. could have a Mideast policy based on principles and long term benefit rather than dealing with the devil. Then, the U.S. could play a much more constructive role in undoing the Gordian knot that is the Israeli-Palestinian question. Not to mention the fact that we would not feel obliged to keep thousands of troops on the ground in Islamic countries, which has the unfortunate consequence of making some people want to fly airplanes into buildings.

And it’s not just tree-huggers that are pointing out the lameness of the Bush administration’s energy policy. The folks at
Business Week (not a bunch of lefties, they) have taken Bush to task for his pandering to big oil, as have other Republicans who correctly note that energy efficiency is very much in line with conservative (but perhaps not neo-conservative) principles.

Calling for a sensible energy policy is meaningless if Hyman doesn’t actually call on the president to push for such a policy. That would, of course, necessitate Hyman having the guts and independence of mind to do so.

And that’s The Point.

Hyman Index: 1.99


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