Spiking the Oil Weapon

(Wall Street Journal/Front Page Magazine) R. James Woolsey - The wealth produced by oil underlies the power of the three totalitarian movements in the Middle East that have chosen to make war on us: the ruling Iraqi Baathists and Iranian mullahs, and al Qaeda, the latter spawned by Saudi money. To undercut our enemies' power, there are four strategic steps we can take starting now: In order to reduce Saudi tactical leverage over us, we should add substantially to our Strategic Petroleum Reserve. We could help Russia substantially improve its share of the world's market. Jeffrey E. Garten of the Yale School of Management has estimated that Russia's current output could be expanded by at least 50% as a result of Western investment in the country's pipelines and ports. In the six years after the 1979 oil shock, Americans improved gas mileage in new vehicles by seven miles per gallon, cut oil use by 15% and Persian Gulf imports by 87%. Our economy grew by 16%. We should be able to devise incentives such as tax credits and rebates to encourage the scrapping of older, less efficient vehicles and promote a rapid increase of those with hybrid gas-electric engines. We should take advantage of the waste-to-transportation-fuel technologies now entering commercial application, that hold promise for large-volume, inexpensive production of fuels that can be used in existing vehicles. If we do not act now, we will leave major levers over our fate in the hands of regimes that have attacked us or have fallen under the sway of fanatics who spread hatred of the U.S., and indeed of freedom itself. Their power derives from their oil. It is time to break their sword.

2002-09-20 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive