On October 8 Russian forces made a final withdrawal from their former vassal state of Georgia. This little-noticed compliance with demands made by U.S. and European diplomats put an end to a drama that had stunned the world and threatened to upset the coronation of His Divine Majesty Barack Hussein Obama by spotlighting the Chosen One’s complete lack of foreign policy capabilities. The August invasion caught everyone by surprise, coming as it did during the Summer Olympics — prompting Mr. Obama, in a foreshadowing of future diplomatic toughness, to complain, “This action is wholly inconsistent with the Olympic ideal” — and sparking fears of a new cold war with Vladimir Putin’s Russia. There was a mad scramble to turn the page as the Obama campaign, along with a friendly news media, sought desperately to return the discussion to economic issues. And so it has.
But this whole affair was largely over economic issues, and its rather ignominious end has been brought about because of pressure imposed unintentionally in America. John McCain has failed to grasp the significance of what happened here, something that he could put to great advantage if he would aggressively make the connection.
In short, “drill here, drill now” has made the invasion too expensive for Russia to be bothered with.
Before the Democratic Party piggy banks of Fannie and Freddie collapsed — something that any acute observer understood was coming and which Senator McCain took efforts to prevent — the principal topic of discussion around kitchen tables across the Fruited Plain was the price of gas. Americans were furious about $4 a gallon gasoline and Newt Gingrich developed the “drill here, drill now” campaign to kick the Democrats in the family jewels. Environmentalists and other opponents of the internal combustion engine held the Democratic Party in a stranglehold and they dared not endorse any new drilling or exploration. Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid feared the loss of state power that more drilling implied. Obama was reduced to his 10-year plan, saying we have to kick our “addiction to oil” and promising pain to act as a spur to this lofty goal. The House Republicans performed their political theater and this issue was turning McCain’s way. President Bush did his part and Congress was forced to cave on domestic drilling.
Now, Obama claims we won’t see any oil for at least a decade — of course, we won’t see any alternatives for a decade with his plan — but that is immaterial; the threat of future competition by the U.S. forced oil producers to drop their prices. Coupled with a strengthening of the U.S. dollar, oil hit a low under $70 a barrel after having peaked in July over $140.