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Location: San Diego, California, United States

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

VDH posts his view of the Iraq conflict today...

with the following closing paragraphs:

"Oil, father of us all!

In the end, all reasoning and caclucation comes down to oil, not energy independence, just a lessening of our need to import by about 5 million barrels or so on the world market. Let Brazil export duty-free ethanol; drill in Anwar and off our coasts; build 20 or so nuclear reactors to replace natural gas and power batteries at night of small commuter cars; up the fleet average gas mileage; develop oil tar and oil shale; use alternative energies—and do all that inclusively rather than in an either/or strategy, and we can collapse the world price, and with it the strategic importance of this dangerous, dysfunctional, and ultimately irrelevant part of the world.

Without oil and nukes, the Arab and Iranian Middle East has no hold on the world, no more than does Paraguay or the Ivory Coast or Bulgaria or Laos. We wish them well, but find Ahmadinejad, Nasrallah, the House of Saud, Hamas, Khadafy, and all the rest, well, all too retro-7th-century for our tastes." (my emphasis)

If we followed the suggestions of Victor Davis Hanson, an historian with unique understanding of our current situation, we would get much closer to a solution.

Read his entire post here.



Blogger Curt said...

Hansen is proposing a set of market changes for energy in the U.S.

This raises some interesting questions: how much policy is needed to make these things happen in the U.S. (or, granted, in some cases removal of policy)? Should we wait for the market to respond on its own?

10:22 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Not just market changes for energy, but market changes that will decrease our dependency on Middle Eastern oil, which he sees as the answer to our Islamo- Fascist problem by cutting off their funds.

Unfortunately we cannot wait for the market to respond, because our government has already mucked up the most important ones. Let's look at them one at a time:

1. Ethanol - we have import duties to protect our corn farmers. These must be removed so we can re-formulate our fuels with ethanol at an acceptable price. The market would have made this adjustment already.

2. Anwar and Off-Shore drilling: Dems won't allow. Market would have been there a long time ago.

3. Nuclear: Dems in particular and government in general won't allow. Market would have been there a long time ago.

4. Mileage: since transportation consumes 66% of our oil this is critical along with nuclear as VDH points out. This takes strong - and well explained - government policy.

5. Oil tar and oil shale: since recovery of these is not economical even at high oil prices, and we are trying in this effort to lower that price, I assume he would want government policy (subsidies?) in this area. I would be for that.

6. Alternative energies: policies in place for a lot of wind and solar generation - if we can convince the Kennedy's to allow their view to be cluttered - sorry, I couldn't resist! - needs to be aggressively expanded.

So, #1-3, by far the largest contributors to transportation (apx 14 million barrels a day of the 20+ million we consume) have all been stopped by market interference - show how unintended consequences often bite you in the posterior.

#4 can probably have the greatest impact, and this research you triggered has convinced me that we need to do all possible to reduce the consumption of the oil component of gasoline and diesel. I mentioned the other day I went to a hybrid car and calculated it saved 40 barrels a year, 0.1 barrels per day. All we need is 50 million people to do the same and we have VDH's 5 million barrel a day saving!

#5-6 need more policy involvement to help the problem. #5 could be a large contributor for many decades if profitable. #6 is not a large contributor, but all will help.

3 of the items are not going forward because of government policy which must be removed, and three need additional attention from the government. I have no problem with this interference in the market, because we KNOW we have a major problem, no assumptions have to be made about the future.

I have to admit, take away Islamo-fascism and I would want the market out of all six, betting on its ability to adjust over time and our technology to pull us out before oil reserves are depleted.

An interesting topic we sould all be very concerned with. Wish the moderators of the Presidential "debates" would ask some substantial questions about this problem!

9:23 PM  
Blogger Curt said...

Sorry for the delay in reply comment - I've been down in Australia for the last 10 days.

Your strategies are consistent and logical. The one I am most questionable on is the oil shale. It seems as if extraction of this resource is not terribly economical (uses lots of energy and water), so I have to wonder if subsidizing the efforts is the right way to go (we'll surely get more folks doing the extraction if we subsidize).

It's also interesting that VDH seems to be calling for simply reducing our dependence on the Middle East. However, if there is still a worldwide oil market, even if we are not the ones buying, the Middle East will still have the potential to generate a lot of capital (consequences to be seen).

8:23 PM  

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