Victor Davis Hanson

Current crises in American foreign policy -- Iran's efforts to obtain the bomb, the protection of an embattled Israel, stopping the funding of radical Islamists -- might be freed from the worries of perennial OPEC threats of cutoffs and price spikes.

Federal subsidies for inefficient corn-based ethanol production in the Midwest also could cease. That would save the Treasury billions of dollars and allow millions of American acres to return to food production to supply an increasingly hungry world.

The Obama administration's efforts to subsidize "green" energy so far have proved both uneconomical and occasionally corrupt -- as we have seen in the Solyndra affair. Yet more gas and oil can offer America critical breathing space until better technology makes wind, solar and electric power more price-competitive -- without massive federal subsidies and a marked reduction in our standard of living.

Of course, there are sizable interests opposed to the new American gas and oil finds -- not all of them foreign governments, but instead reflected in the current Obama administration policy of halting new pipelines, placing moratoriums on offshore drilling, and putting lucrative federal lands off-limits. Yet if the United States does not produce much of the fuel that it uses, will the oil-exporting Gulf sheikdoms, Nigeria or Iran better protect the world's environment than American-based oil companies? Would our oil dollars or theirs be less likely to fuel terrorism, illegal arms sales and rogue regimes?

For the American poor and unemployed, how liberal is it, really, to keep energy prices high while stalling millions of high-paying private-sector jobs that would both lower government costs in entitlements and empower the working classes?

In the current presidential campaign, three issues dominate: national security, fiscal solvency and high unemployment. Development of America's vast new gas and oil finds addresses all three at once.

The idea of vastly expanding American gas and oil production in the 21st century is almost as unbelievable as the present administration's apparent reluctance to capitalize on its windfall.

Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal.