Resetting the Middle East

Let’s imagine a foreign policy based on promoting freedom, stability, and peace. Let’s assume that our drive to energy independence makes this not only possible, but desirable. Let’s assume that we no longer use our military to “protect vital resources” or some other euphemism for imperialism as we come to respect and develop a truly free market globally.

With these assumptions our view of the Middle East, in particular, changes dramatically. Like many situations in this rapidly integrating and evolving world, it demands attention to fundamentals – both our principles and an examination of the real powers which shape the world.

In the Middle East there are really only three permanent powers which have survived the test of millenia – Egypt, Turkey, and Persia (Iran). No matter who or what has swept through the region, these three have always been there. They are the best place to start when considering how we promote what matters most to free people around the world.

Continue reading

Oil Patch(work)

On Monday, 12 May, the first comprehensive energy bill in seven years died in the US Senate. It was an amazing bill full of small energy saving provisions that had nearly universal, bipartisan backing. What killed it was an amendment that would attempt to force President Obama to make a decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline – though how effective even that would be is far from clear.

This was a moment rich in irony because this pipeline has long stood in the way of a comprehensive energy policy. Now, it has killed the most simple and obvious conservation measures. Not long ago Barataria backed the continuous delay of this pipeline because better and more inclusive ideas seemed to be bubbling up the longer it was stalled. This piece is a continuation of that one.

There is no substitute for a real energy policy, something that every developed nation except the US already has. In place of that we have a patchwork of projects here and there and very little real control over the situation to protect the environment, conservation, and even basic safety.  That has to change.

Continue reading

Keystone XL: No Decision, a Good Decision

The Keystone XL Pipeline dispute is one of the hottest political issues for the President Obama. Backers claim that it will provide jobs and detractors claim it’s an disaster waiting to happen. The dispute has torn apart the Democratic Party, with unions calling for the jobs and environmentalists working feverishly to stop the pipeline. Both of these claims are rooted in facts, but both are overblown.

Rather than make a decision on the pipeline, however the administration has delayed the pipeline yet again, probably until after the November 2014 midterm election. This upset nearly everyone. But in terms of what is actually needed, this is probably the best thing to happen. The reason for this lies deep in Canadian oil and politics, quite apart from whatever we have going on in the US.

Continue reading