ENDING AMERICA'S DEPENDENCE ON MIDDLE EAST OIL:
A BRIEFING BY GAL LUFT
Summary Account by An J. Goldman
Today, however, the United States of America finds itself in the position of financially supporting both itself and its enemies in the "War on Terror." This is a consequence of the U.S.A.'s growing dependence on oil, particularly as a transportation fuel. Currently, the United States consumes 25% of the world's oil, while possessing only 3% of world oil reserves. The Muslim world, in contrast, depends on oil far less, while possessing 75% of the world's oil reserves. As the U.S.A continues to invest in the oil economies of the Middle East and the Muslim world, these economies continue to use their oil revenues to spread radical Islam, promote anti-Semitic and anti-American ideas, and, in some cases, develop unconventional weapons. Every time an American goes to a gas station, he is sending money to America's enemies.
To complicate the matter, America is not the only country with a growing demand for foreign oil. China and India, hosting two of the largest and fastest growing economies, are also experiencing a steep rise in their demand for transportation fuel. China, for example, will likely enter into Middle Eastern politics in order to meet this demand. It will need to enhance its diplomatic relations in the region and possibly increase its weapons sales to the Muslim world's oil moguls. Foreshadowing this potential development is the Pakistani nuclear bomb, which was built by the Chinese and financed by the Saudis.
Some people believe that an American invasion of Saudi Arabia, home to the world's largest oil reserves, will resolve the oil problem. These people fail to look at the situation in Iraq, home to the world's second largest oil reserve. Due to the instability caused by the invasion, the U.S.A. is not receiving any Iraqi oil and will not obtain any Iraqi oil in the near future. Results from an invasion of Saudi Arabia would be similar.
The U.S.A. needs to get serious about gradually reducing the demand for foreign oil and bringing about the turning point in the current war. To do so, it must promote scientific and technological advancement by tapping into homegrown fuel sources that can be used for transportation purposes. These include: electricity, coal, and biomass (agricultural waste). Currently, the U.S.A. has 25% of the world's coal and billions of tons of biomass. In fact, nearly 60% of the garbage Americans throw away can be used as transportation fuel.
Alcohol fuels such as ethanol, made from corn or biomass, and methanol, made from coal, can also power a vehicle. Flexible fuel vehicles can run on any combination of gasoline and alcohol, thus reducing the overall amount of oil used. There are three million cars on the road today that are built to use the alcohol-gasoline mixture. Ford Taurus, Dodge Caravan, and Mercedes C-320 are all flexible fuel cars. In addition to decreasing U.S. need for foreign oil, flexible fuel will also aid the economy, since it will bring new jobs to the American farmers and the American coal miners.
These alternate fuel vehicles can move the U.S.A into an energy era free of dependence on OPEC and other oil exporters. Equally significant, the Europeans, Chinese, Japanese, and others will look to the U.S.A. as the world leader in this new energy era.
Unfortunately, current U.S. energy policy is looking elsewhere, towards seeking oil reserves outside the Middle East. This is, at best, a short-term and ultimately shortsighted solution. If we deplete the oil reserves outside the Middle East before we deplete the reserves in the Middle East, we will become in time more dependent on Middle Eastern oil than ever before.
Usually, environmental political groups endorse energy initiatives of this nature as part of environmental preservation or anti-global warming campaigns. These campaigns, however, fail to resonate with the American public because of a general apathy toward the environment and distrust of anti-capitalists causes. Contrarily, if the initiative is presented by the Conservatives and linked to the national security agenda, it will gain the necessary public support for implementation. Consequently, Liberal political groups will also look to endorse the new energy campaign, further bolstering its appeal. Essentially, America will not be able to win its "War on Terror," if energy security is not at the top of its agenda.
Islamism & Jihadism -- The Threat of Radical Islam
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The Middle East & the Arabs
War & Peace in the Real World
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Islamist Terrorist Attacks on the U.S.A.
Osama bin Laden & the Islamist Declaration of War
Against the U.S.A. & Western Civilization
Islamist International Terrorism &
U.S. Intelligence Agencies
U.S. National Security Strategy
The foregoing summary account of Gal Luft's briefing to the Middle East Forum was written by Ari J. Goldman, a researcher at the Middle East Forum. The summary account can be found on the Internet website maintained by the Middle East Forum.
Gal Luft is Executive Director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, which is locayed in Washington, D.C. Mr Luft is a specialist on strategic issues and energy policy and holds a PhD in Strategic Studies from Johns Hopkins University. A former lieutenant colonel in the Israeli Defense Forces, his writings have appeared in Commentary, Foreign Affairs, The Los Angeles Times, Middle East Review of International Affairs, The Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. Mr. Luft addressed the Middle East Forum and delivered his briefing in Philadelphia on October 27, 2004.
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American Government 1