Fair. Balanced. American.

Friday, February 19, 2010

"It's morning in Saudi Arabia"

It sure is, Thomas Friedman, although the second Iraq War, which you supported, marked the sunrise. His words on the climate legislation wending its way to Congress are nonetheless on the mark.
Those who favor taking action are saying: “Because the warming that humans are doing is irreversible and potentially catastrophic, let’s buy some insurance — by investing in renewable energy, energy efficiency and mass transit — because this insurance will also actually make us richer and more secure.” We will import less oil, invent and export more clean-tech products, send fewer dollars overseas to buy oil and, most importantly, diminish the dollars that are sustaining the worst petro-dictators in the world who indirectly fund terrorists and the schools that nurture them.

Even if climate change proves less catastrophic than some fear, in a world that is forecast to grow from 6.7 billion to 9.2 billion people between now and 2050, more and more of whom will live like Americans, demand for renewable energy and clean water is going to soar. It is obviously going to be the next great global industry.

China, of course, understands that, which is why it is investing heavily in clean-tech, efficiency and high-speed rail. It sees the future trends and is betting on them. Indeed, I suspect China is quietly laughing at us right now. And Iran, Russia, Venezuela and the whole OPEC gang are high-fiving each other. Nothing better serves their interests than to see Americans becoming confused about climate change, and, therefore, less inclined to move toward clean-tech and, therefore, more certain to remain addicted to oil. Yes, sir, it is morning in Saudi Arabia.
While the right is certainly to blame for America's inaction, there's plenty of blame to go around. I would save a big chunk for our once politically gifted young President and his team. First of all, no one knows what "cap and trade" is. It's about as horrific a marketing term as "public option." Next, it was an act of enormous stupidity to sell this as a as an environmental package when 100,000 Americans are in Iraq.

Americans aren't dumb: they may or may not think we went to Iraq for its oil, but they all know that if Iraq didn't have oil, our soldiers wouldn't be there. Even John McCain had to bow to this reality and at least pretend he was for energy independence during the 2008 campaign.

Energy reform is a debate about national security quite as much as it is about the environment. The United States cannot continue to be held hostage to the nuttiest region in the world for its energy needs. Nor should any more of its soldiers die to preserve the medieval Islamist fiefdoms that control the oil.

The Republican Party's treasonous approach towards this and many other military issues is amply documented. But by throwing out the most potent political argument for a reform of energy policy, the Obama Administration has once again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Generations of Americans to come will pay the price under the now greatly hastened arrival of Chinese dominance. And countless lives will be snuffed out by the millions of dollars our thirst for oil ultimately funnels to Islamist governments and terrorists.

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