The Looming Disaster in the Middle East


Right From the Start

This Will End Poorly – Anonymous

Enough Already. The naïve euphoria over the “popular uprising” in Egypt and other Middle Eastern nations has caused America’s mainstream media to enter a mental state reminiscent of a thirteen year old’s crush on Justin Bieber – unreasonable, unfathomable and unsustainable. The euphoria is fueled by like-minded simpletons in the State Department who, despite consistent failure, still believe that diplomacy will conquer the violent will of ruthless men.

Is the Middle East on a historical march to freedom and democracy? What, are you crazy? The most likely outcome of these “popular uprisings” is the replacement of brutal, autocratic despots with brutal, theocratic despots. It is possible that Egypt, solely because of its armed forces, might temporarily resist the wave of Islamic fundamentalism but even that will be of relatively short duration.

And here we sit with the 21st Century’s version of Neville Chamberlain and Jimmy Carter as our president. President Obama and his administration flip-flopped so many times during the eighteen days of street protests in Cairo that the lasting result within the international community is two-fold: first, never believe anything Obama says, and two, rest assured that if you are a friend or ally Obama with throw you under the bus first. That message has not been lost on Israel, which is acutely aware that in a crisis, America, under Obama, will turn its back quickly.

Despite warnings as far back as August of 2010 that high unemployment and food shortages were likely to ignite street riots in the Middle East and North Africa – with the most likely candidate being Egypt under the repressive and myopic rule of Hosni Mubarek – the Obama administration did nothing. And let’s be clear on what “nothing” means. It does not mean that we should have intervened economically or militarily – two wars in Islamic states are more than enough.

What it means is that neither the Obama administration, nor Congress, did anything with regard to minimizing the impact of the probable outcome of a regime change in Egypt or the other oil-producing despotic regimes in the Middle East – including Saudi Arabia. Three years ago amid crude prices topping $145 per gallon and pump prices topping $4.00 per gallon, the nation demanded energy independence – not wind farms, solar panels and electric cars – but energy independence in the form of domestic exploration and development of our oil, natural gas and coal reserves. The movement was popularized by the slogan “Drill Baby Drill” first used by then-Lt. Gov. Michael Steele at the Republican National Convention and echoed by Conservative populists such as Gov. Sarah Palin.

And yet today, what do we have? That’s right, NOTHING. Not one damn thing.

The Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) – a mud flat where drilling would occur but a pristine forested wilderness when depicted by environmentalists and mainstream media – remains closed to exploration and development. The Gulf of Mexico remains closed to deep water drilling by American companies but wide open for Chinese, Russian and other foreign nations to drill without restrictions or oversight. The east and west coasts remain closed to exploration and development. Natural gas exploration and development remains curtailed due to lengthy permitting processes and subsequent environmental lawsuits. The same is true for coal mining, oil shale mining and tar sands development. (When Vice-President Joe Biden dismissed domestic fossil fuels as taking too long to develop he unwittingly described the regulatory process and not the actual drilling and development process.)

Meanwhile, state and federal governments are spending millions to subsidize the blight of the country side with massive wind farms while restricting construction of transmission facilities to move electrical energy from where it is created to where it is used. Still more millions are being spent on subsidizing electric cars. The Obama administrations first foray into this field was to grant $4500 to $5500 tax credits for electric vehicles which went almost exclusively to golf carts – golf carts so that rich, white men could cruise effortlessly around pristine private clubs. Not to be outdone, Government Motors (GM) has developed the Chevrolet Volt that was just named Car of the Year by Motor Trend. The Volt is a $17,000 Chevrolet Cruze that will be priced at $42,000 but subsidized by the government to the tune of $7500. It is a hybrid and has an electric car range of just 40 miles. (If GM has staked its future on the Volt, you can expect that it will be back in a couple of year for another multi-billion dollar bailout.)

This is insanity. The most likely consequence of the Middle East unrest is that oil production to the United States will be severely curtailed with the resulting destruction of our nascent recovering economy. Here we sit atop more oil, natural gas and coal than all of the Middle East combined and, in the name of trash fish, pointless micro-organisms, transient animals and political correctness, we refuse to develop our own resources so as to remain wholly dependent on the whim and caprice of a series of feudal potentates and religious fanatics.

Quite frankly, I really don’t care whether it will take two years or ten years to develop our fossil fuel resources. If we had started three years ago at the height of the fuel crises of 2008, we would be that much closer to energy independence. If we had started in 1977 when President Carter and the Democrat Congress created the Department of Energy instead of actually doing something about the first fuel crises, we would already be done.

But don’t hold your breath. This administration is about talking – not about doing. And the Kulongoski/Kitzhaber administrations are an echo of forty years of that failed policy.