The difference, of course, is that we actually could do something about energy freedom – a status that might not render us totally independent of all foreign sources of oil, but that would leave us vastly less dependent than we are today and, therefore, far more secure.
But will we? Or more precisely, will be before it becomes absolutely necessary to do so?
Obviously, we will take whatever steps are necessary once imported oil ceases, for whatever reason, to be available in the quantities or at prices to which we are accustomed. At that point, we will have no choice but to wean ourselves from a costly and strategically reckless dependency on such fuel.
But achieving such energy freedom at that point will be much more difficult andentail much more hardship than if we do it before such a dreaded – but absolutely predictable – calamity befalls us. Whether as a result of actions taken by terrorists or their state-sponsors, by an OPEC oil cartel likely to come increasingly under the sway of rabidly anti-American Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood and their allies in Iran, or by Mother Nature, the only responsible working assumption has to be the following: At some point, there will be serious shortfalls in supplies of foreign energy and far higher prices associated with obtaining whatever continues to be available.
President Obama has only made this problem worse with his administration’s decisions to: limit exploration and exploitation of offshore and Arctic oil deposits; block a pipeline that would tap oil from Canadian shale – a foreign source, to be sure, but a far more reliable one than those of Saudi Arabia and other OPEC suppliers; and his release of 30 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which had no enduring effect on either the price of oil or its availability, but reduced our cushion against the aforementioned day of reckoning.
The good news is that we can dramatically increase our energy self-sufficiency in the transportation sector where we currently consume 70 percent of the oil,some two-thirds of which is imported. All it will take is to equip our vehicles to use fuels we have, or can readily make, in abundance.
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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