Is oil independence a good national security strategy? Reason’s Shikha Dalmia writes:
As the nuclear stand-off with Iran helped push oil prices to near-record levels, President Bush once again declared, “Dependency on oil creates an economic problem for us, and it creates a national security problem for us.” But if Iran’s behavior makes the case for anything at all, it is that America should become more Ã¢â?¬â?? not less Ã¢â?¬â?? “dependent” on foreign oil. In fact, the best way for America to defuse the so-called Middle Eastern oil weapon is by purchasing even more oil from the region. …Our dependence on Middle Eastern oil is only the flip side of their dependence on our purchases. But given the narrow base of Middle Eastern economies, the power in the relationship is firmly on the side of the oil buyers. If that relationship were to end because of “energy independence,” we would give up crucial leverage to control the worst behavior of some of the world’s worst regimes. Of course, this leverage is no magic wand that would protect us from a totally irrational regime willing to absorb the economic cost of using the oil weapon. But the more oil we get from such a regime, the higher the price it would have to pay.