It’s Time to Shock O.P.E.C.


The following important article is by Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy:

Forty years ago this week, America received a harsh lesson about the dangers of relying on others for energy. President Nixon’s decision in the midst of the Yom Kippur War to resupply Israel with U.S. weaponry gave members of the OPEC cartel an excuse to embargo oil supplies to this country and drive up prices worldwide. It became known as the “oil shock” of 1973.

Ever since, politicians of both parties have promised to reduce our dependency on unreliable foreign sources. To that end over the past four decades, they have invested untold sums on various schemes – from imposing price controls, producing synthetic fuels and subsidizing ethanol production, curbing demand and diversifying overseas sources of supply for oil and natural gas.

Thanks largely to private sector initiatives and funds, however, real progress has lately been made on this longstanding national objective. Finally, the widespread application of technology like horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (better known as fracking) and a series of discoveries of vast quantities of natural gas around the United States and off its coasts have transformed our situation from one of energy dependency to potentially that of the largest energy exporter in the world.

The geopolitical and economic significance of this transformation will be the focus of conferences sponsored by two influential, bipartisan groups in Washington this week. Former Cabinet and sub-Cabinet officers, senior military personnel and other experts will convene on Tuesday under the auspices of the U.S. Energy Security Council and on Wednesday under that of Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) to discuss the oil embargo, the intervening years and where we are today vis a vis those who used energy as an economic weapon against us in the past.

It is very much to be hoped that these conversations will not simply repeat nostrums about the inadvisability of being dependent upon unreliable – to say nothing of  actually hostile – energy sources. Or, worse yet, simply revel in the change of fortunes that will, in the absence of further Obama administration obstructionism, enable us to become again a huge net producer of energy. (Regrettably, between its pursuit of cap-and-trade restrictions on carbon emissions, overreaching EPA regulations, the campaign to destroy the coal industry and further shenanigans with respect to the Keystone XL pipeline, there is ample reason to expect more official impediments to our energy security, not fewer.)

What is needed now is a strategic approach to using our newfound energy leverage to cause some oil “shocks” of our own.

For starters, the windfall of natural gas deposits being found in this country opens up an opportunity to transform the sector in which we are still almost entirely dependent on oil and its byproducts: the transportation of people and goods via automobiles, buses and trucks.  If natural gas can become widely used in eighteen-wheelers and turned into methanol for use in most modern cars, we could dramatically reduce the amount of gasoline we are obliged to import from the Islamists of OPEC.

What is more, as Nobel laureate George Olah observed in an op.ed. article he co-authored in the Wall Street Journal last week, recent breakthroughs in chemistry are allowing another vast U.S. resource – carbon dioxide – to be cost-effectively converted into methanol. Far better to burn it in our automobiles and in modified surface transportation and maritime diesel engines than to pay exorbitant sums, as Team Obama has in mind, to try to store it underground.

Best of all, by enabling these alternatives to oil and gasoline to become available across America, we can create fuel choice for consumers – and competition for the cartelists. The predictable effect would be to drive oil prices down, especially as the scores of other developing nations capable of manufacturing their own alternatives to gasoline begin to do so, as Brazil has already done with ethanol.

The result could be to break the back of OPEC, once and for all. That, in turn, would help dry up the funding that has done so much for decades to power jihadism and undermine our economy.

This is no longer simply a desirable thing to do. It is absolutely imperative. As Center for Security Policy Senior Fellow Kevin Freeman has observed, Mideast oil producers seem determined to join the Chinese and Russians, among others, in terminating the U.S. dollar’s status as the world’s international reserve currency. Should they succeed in this gambit, the profound and debilitating economic and strategic ramifications will make the oil shock of forty years ago look like the good old days.

Adopting bipartisan Open Fuel Standard legislation and taking such other steps as are necessary to enable fuel choice can help us withstand as well disruptions in oil supply and/or skyrocketing price increases in the event of a new regional war in the Middle East. We can and must be in a position to deliver the next oil shock, not be its recipient.


Anonymous 9:52 AM  

I am a former energy economist, and while I agree oil dependency is an issue with respect to foreign policy / Islamism, there is a lot of nonsense in this article.

We currently import 11% of our petroleum products from the M.E. and 6% from Africa. Domestic production has increased dramatically (under Obama, coincidentally). That, coupled with lower demand due to the economic downturn, has dramatically reduced petroleum imports.

Complaints of "overreaching EPA regulations" and Obama's "campaign to destroy the coal industry" must be weighed against the long-term impact of climate change. The author's stance on carbon emissions is a reflection of the value he places on this threat (none).

Fuel switching is an arena in which the FREE MARKET will not invest until the dollars make sense. The author declines to note that the price of gasoline in Brazil was more than twice that in the U.S. (2008) before the market stepped in to correct it.

Converting all vehicles, fuel stations, etc. is a costly measure that the market will not pursue until prices dictate as such. Some of our trucking and mass transportation fleets are already running on CNG (natural gas), but it does not make sense for all vehicles to do so. The supply/demand balance would see-saw so quickly in the other direction, even Persian gas will start to look good.

I know the point of the article is that ANY dependency on ANY Islamist nation is cause for concern, and I generally agree with this. However, the author's claims of "Obama administration obstructionism" is propaganda worth tuning out. The big picture on energy policy is far more complicated, and with many moving parts.

Citizen Warrior 12:34 PM  

The free market is blocked deliberately by oil interests, trying to maintain their virtual monopoly of transportation fuel. Right now methanol can be burned in regular gasoline-only engines if the EPA regulations were changed, and it can sell for HALF the price of gasoline per mile right now, with no subsidies.

How is the free market blocked? There are several direct ways and even more indirect ways:

I want to clarify something here: The issue is not how much black goo we import from the Middle East. The whole world pays the price that OPEC sets, and they set the price very high so they can rake in huge profits, which they use to promote the spread of orthodox Islam. Here's how OPEC sets the price:

I'm sure you know this, but I'm leaving the link for other people who read this.

Walterb Sieruk 10:34 AM  

A claim by Islamic scholars as well as jihadists is that no one can produce something as beautiful as the Quran in the way the words are arranged and thus it can only be of God. This claim should be answered.
First, all someone has to do is examine some of the great works of literature to fine much written beauty. Such as the Greek epic poet Homer with his Iliad and Odyssey and then Virgil who produced the Aeneid has beauty. Even one of the non-Bible books in the Apocrypha called The Song of Three Children is also very beautiful. Thus just because someone sees a work that is written in great beauty doesn’t mean it’s inspired by God.
Second, the scholar Edward Gibbon wrote after an examination of the Quran that it is an “incoherent jumble of fable and precept and declamation which seldom excites a sentiment or an idea, sometimes craws in the dust and is sometimes lost in the clouds…” The writer Thomas Carlyle wrote the Quran is “A wearisome jumble, crude, incondite [with] endless iterations [and] longwindedness…” Likewise, the philosopher David Hume was NOT favorably impressed after reading the Quran.
[Source of the three scholars mentioned – Secrets of The Koran: Revealing Insight Into Islam’s Holy Book .56,66, by Don Richardson]

Furthermore, the following should be taken into consideration.

Of course the Muslim who reads the Quran will see great beauty in the way the words are arranged. This is, in part, because of the power of suggestion after being told so many times that the Quran is so beautifully written. That’s an old brainwashing method, repeating and being told that same thing again and again. Since he or she is always being told the same lie will end up believing that lie. In addition to that, the Imams try to discourage their people from reading other works, such as the Bible, so then they don’t have much or anything to compare or contrast the Quran with. Of course there are some Muslim’s that do read other works, but they are exceptions and they read other things only after they were already brainwashed by the Imams. In short, the Muslims can’t read the Quran objectively because their Imams have programmed them to have a strong bias towards it.

Anonymous 11:06 PM  

I strongly agree that OPEC should have their back broken once and for all.

As well as the measures mentioned in the article, I would also like to see the introduction of nuclear reactors running on thorium.
Thorium is several times as abundant as uranium and is useless for making nuclear weapons (therefore posing no proliferation risk).
The so-called LFTRs (liquid-fueled thorium reactors) are as close as you can get to a perfectly safe energy source.

Walter Sieruk 8:38 AM  

If Islam is represented as a tree then the fruit of this tree are the many Islamic terror groups, Such as al-Qeada, Hezbollah, Hamas, Ansar al-Islam ,PIJ, etc. The members of these gruops put into practice the murderous violence of Islam's militant jihadism. Sura 9:112. 47:4. In the light of this statement the teaching of Jesus very much does apply. for Jesus taught "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thisles ? Even so every good tree bringth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit,neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." After this Jesus told them what he told them when he said "By their fruits ye shall know them." Matthew 7:16,17,18,20. [KJV] In conlusion, Islam is a corrupt tree and Islam is a false religion.

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