SIXTH COLUMN

"History is philosophy teaching by example." (Lord Bolingbroke)

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Saudi Arabia Mocks U.S. Goal of Energy Independence


Saudi Arabia's oil minister scorned the popular notion that America can achieve energy independence as a myth, saying Tuesday the idea denies the existence of interdependent global markets and the need for countries to work together for oil-price stability...

The Saudi oil minister Naimi, in Washington for a Saudi-U.S. energy conference, rejected the idea that energy self-sufficiency is a worthwhile goal for America.

"While self-reliance is appealing, the efficacy of such an approach for achieving long-term energy security is an illusion built on the myth that security can be achieved through protectionist measures aimed at blocking certain types of imports or goods and investments from certain regions of the world,'' Naimi said.

He stressed that the world oil market, stretched thin by surging demand and years of low investment when prices were low, can provide "sustainable energy stability'' when consumers don't feel gouged and producers get an adequate return on their investment.

Naimi said that even though he questions the viability of U.S. energy independence, Saudi Arabia thinks America should increase conservation efforts and research and development of such alterative fuels as ethanol.

"I believe it's beneficial to begin research on alternative fuels that can go hand in hand with hydrocarbons. We are going to need an alternative'' as oil resources are depleted in coming decades, added the oil minister of Saudi Arabia, which is the world's No. 1 oil exporter and the fourth-largest foreign supplier to the United States.


Obviously Saudi Arabia, interested in its bottom line, doesn't want to lose a customer.The Saudi minister derides the goal while American politicians and bureaucrats send out confused, ambivalent messages: should we or shouldn't we? No one seems to be able to make the decision.

The need for energy independence is more than securing a supply of energy, it's taking us out of the dangerous position of extortion and blackmail by countries that don't like us and making it unnecessary for the U.S. to make strategic alliances or go on expeditions for the sake of energy that are harmful. This isn't isolationism, it's common sense.

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