Saturday, February 04, 2006

VDH proposes 3 pillars of foreign policy

Victor Davis Hanson writes another great article speaking of the cold realities of the world that has come to be and what should be our course through it. During the President's State of the Union address, George Bush baldly asserted that America is addicted to oil. (I could have sworn I heard thousands of environmentalist voices shouting, in unison, "No Shit!") Indeed, our demand for energy has advanced almost, if not actually, in a geometric progression. That demand has consequences, both the environmental and political. Each of those are important and neither completely supercedes the other.

Hanson argues that it is this addiction to oil that places us in the dubious position of funding and supporting the failed societies of the Middle East, many of whom are openly hostile to America and her citizens.

::::::::So take the dependency on oil away from Europe and the United States, and the billions of petrodollars the world sends yearly to medieval regimes like Iran or Saudi Arabia, and the other five billion of us could, to be frank, fret little whether such self-pitying tribal and patriarchal societies wished to remain, well, tribal. There would be no money for Hezbollah, Wahhabi madrassas, Syrian assassination teams, or bought Western apologists.

The problem is not just a matter of the particular suppliers who happen to sell to the United States — after all, we get lots of our imported oil from Mexico, Canada, and Nigeria. Rather, we should worry about the insatiable American demand that results in tight global supply for everyone, leading to high prices and petrobillions in the hands of otherwise-failed societies who use this largess for nefarious activities from buying nukes to buying off deserved censure from the West, India, and China. If the Middle East gets a pass on its terrorist behavior from the rest of the world, ultimately that exemption can be traced back to the voracious American appetite for imported oil, and its effects on everything from global petroleum prices to the appeasement of Islamic fascism.
::::::::

This is common sense. The President said as much during the SOTU and, I was pleased to hear, proposed funding significant research into alternative energy sources in an effort to get us out from under the easy blackmail that importing so much oil allows.

But this isn't enough. Holding us over the oil barrel isn't the only leverage used by and sought by hostile governments. Developing nukes is the Holy Grail for many of these and, as Hanson says far more eloquently, it is in the West's best interest to make sure they don't get them.

::::::::Without nuclear acquisition, a Pakistan or Iran would warrant little worry. It is no accident that top al Qaeda figures are either in Pakistan or Iran, assured that their immunity is won by reason that both of their hosts have vast oil reserves or nukes or both.

The lesson from all this is that in order to free the United States from such blackmail and dependency, we must at least try to achieve energy independence and drive down oil prices — and see that no Middle East autocracy gains nuclear weapons. Those principles, along with support for democratic reform, should be the three pillars of American foreign policy.
::::::::

I do suggest you read the whole article. There's detail there that lays a far better groundwork.

I know there are those who claim America shouldn't have nukes, either and that to contend that the Middle Eastern countries shouldn't have them is hypocrisy and elitism. I stand by my contention, however, and offer the history of those countries versus ours as justification. As I mentioned in my previous post these countries have no sense of what is a reasonable response to offense. Is there anyone who seriously doubts that if Hamas had a nuke that Tel Aviv would be on fire right now? That whole swaths of Sudan - those occupied by non-muslims - would be vast, uninhabitable nuclear wastelands? We already know Saddam had no issue gassing Kurdish villages. If he'd had a nuke in his arsenal, is there really any question at all that he'd have used it up north?

America has dropped 2 nukes in the 60 years since our scientists developed the technology and both of those were in a declared war that began with an unprovoked attack on our soil. We stood our nuclear arsenal against that of a sworn enemy of liberty for a significant chunk of those 60 years and did so in the cause of keeping ourselves and our allies free and safe from attack. It came very, very close on 2 occasions, but America has always sought other responses to offense than killing, particularly on a mass scale. No one can reasonably make that claim about the Middle Eastern autocracies.

The US State Department would do better to listen to the likes of Hanson and become part of those 3 pillars.