Events of the past week are a powerful rebuke to those who assumed this fall’s presidential election would turn on domestic issues – and, presumably, redound to the benefit of the Democratic party and its candidate since they have historically been viewed as better equipped to deal with such matters. Four recent developments remind us that national security must be Job One for our 44th president and should govern his selection.
* First, the vulnerability associated with our dependence on foreign sources of oil – many of which are hostile – now arouses a substantial majority of Americans. As syndicated columnist Cliff May recently pointed out, a national poll conducted by his Foundation for Defense of Democracies found that, “Depending on how the question was asked, between 57 and 64 percent say they believe that energy independence should be America’s primary goal – because our economic and national security depends on it.”
Many Republican members of the House of Representatives have taken the extraordinary step of spending the August recess in Washington in order to respond to this heightened public awareness and concern about our parlous energy situation. They are using a House floor populated by tourists and other visitors as a platform from which to challenge an increasingly despotic Speaker Nancy Pelosi to permit legislative initiatives that will reduce our dangerous dependency on foreign oil suppliers who wish us ill.
Among them should be adoption of the Open Fuel Standard, a bipartisan initiative that would require cars sold in America to be capable of using not only gasoline, but Freedom Fuels (notably, ethanol and methanol) that we can readily make here or acquire from people who are not trying to kill us. According to the FDD poll, fully 91% of the respondents quite sensibly recognize that fuel choice is the best way to reduce our oil addiction.
* One particularly unreliable energy supplier is Russia whose murderous aggression in the Caucasus nation of Georgia is not just about toppling a democratic government allied with the United States and the West. It is also designed to consolidate the Kremlin’s control over oil flows to Europe by seizing the one pipeline from the petroleum-rich Caspian not currently in its grasp or that of Islamofascist Iran.
Moscow has already demonstrated its serial willingness to use energy as a coercive weapon. Europe’s acquiescence to the Russian rape of Georgia is an ominous indicator – both of the prospects for freedom-loving, but relatively weak, nations who look to the West for security and of the risks of energy dependence.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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