"U.S. politicians must muster the courage to scrap the fable of energy independence once and for all. If they continue to lead their people toward the mirage of independence and forsake the oasis of interdependence and cooperation, only disaster will result."
Hint: "Mirage" and "oasis" are giant clues about the name of the writer's country.)
Answer: Saudi Arabia's Turki al-Faisal wrote the above in a 2009 Foreign Policy magazine essay hectoring "misguided" U.S. politicians who promote American energy independence from Saudi Arabia, one of the top oil suppliers to the United States. This strategy, wrote the former ambassador to the United States and the United Kingdom, is "political posturing at its worst."
Don't you just love lectures in democracy from potentates of religious dictatorships? In President Barack Obama, it looks as if Turki has found his turkey: a president with the Saudi idea of "courage" to keep the United States on the Saudi reservation -- sorry, I meant "oasis of interdependence and cooperation" (ka-ching).
It's not just that Obama has presided over the near-end or slow crawl of new domestic drilling. The administration has been dragging its feet on approving a game-changing new pipeline that would, according to a December 2010 study commissioned by the Obama administration itself, effectively eliminate our dependence on oil from Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and other nasty oil suppliers. The new pipeline would increase our intake from friendly, democratic, human-rights-friendly and environmentally conscious Canada next door. (Canada is already the No 1. supplier of oil to the United States.) Short of exploiting our own ample oil resources, I can't think of a better scenario.
There's also a bonus: The proposed new pipeline from the oil sands of western Canada to the refineries of Texas would create 100,000 American jobs, according to Rep. Fred Upton, Michigan Republican and House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman. Even Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore supports the project.So what are we waiting for? The Obama administration to say yes.
The State Department, which has to approve the pipeline, has promised a decision by the end of this year, but Republicans want it sooner. In fact, the administration's tardiness is so extreme, as Newsmax.com reports, that the House Energy and Commerce Committee just passed a bill requiring Obama to speed up the decision. The EPA and assorted environmentalist groups oppose the pipeline, which is a bad sign. Together, they made a formidable combination when green pressure earlier this year persuaded unelected bureaucrats on the EPA appeals board to scotch a massive Shell Oil project in Alaska -- another big energy and job producer, this one made in the United States.
Meanwhile, there's the Chinese angle to consider. Not surprisingly, China has been banging on Canada's door with billions of dollars from Sinopec, a Chinese state-controlled company, for a pipeline of its own to the Pacific coast. At the same time, Chinese companies, Newsmax.com also reports, have been buying up multibillion-dollar stakes in Canadian oil-sands projects. In other words, while the Obama administration lags, China is picking up all the marbles we've left strewn around. This led Upton to pose an excellent question, one all Americans should ask their U.S. representatives: "Why is it that we're not working with Canada, which will be producing more than 3 million or 4 million barrels a day from oil sand, and we've stalled on the application to build a pipeline?
And then what will happen?
Our dependence on, in many cases, anti-American oil -- Saudi oil, Nigerian oil, Venezuelan oil and the rest -- will continue to rise, transferring our remaining wealth to the stand-out Shariah states, kleptocracies and Marxist states of the world, further entrenching that "oasis of interdependence and cooperation" Turki al-Faisal was talking about.
It's the Saudi dream come true. But it's an American nightmare.
Diana West is the author of "The Death of the Grown-up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization," and blogs at dianawest.net. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.