'Drill Here, Drill Now' Helped End Russia-Georgia War
This strikes at the heart of our current economic crisis; ours is a petroleum-based economic system and the high prices for oil and natural gas drove the cost of most things up. The subprime borrowers were scrimping to get by and the increase in food prices, in fuel prices, and in the prices of most items due to higher transportation costs pushed many subprime borrowers into default. This crisis was decades in the making -- with the Community Reinvestment Act and demands by government that lenders make these subprime loans -- but came to a head at this juncture because of spiraling energy costs.
And Russia invaded Georgia.
During the first presidential debate, the subject of this invasion came up and Obama hemmed and hawed with the standard "we must use our allies to pressure" fare. John McCain had the perfect opportunity, but let it pass, sounding strikingly similar to Senator Government in his analysis of the situation. He has since repeatedly missed the opportunity; the answer was "drill here, drill now."
Russia is resurgent because of energy, and the invasion of Georgia was largely over the natural gas pipeline built to supply Europe and bypassing both Russia and Iran. The Russians tried to destroy it with air raids in the opening days of the war. Vladimir Putin's strategy for a return to superpower status for Russia is built on oil and gas money; the increase in worldwide demand has made Russia rich, and Putin and his oligarchy own a piece of most oil and gas companies operating there. Their power is based on their control of this wealth and the stability of the Russian government hinges on the stability of these commodities. A drop in the price of fossil fuels is destabilizing to the princes of Muscovy.
And the financial crisis in America is, indeed, hurting them. Russian oil companies have been forced to cut prices, leading investors to withdraw $33 billion from the Russian economy. Russia already has serious problems finding people to work the Central Asian oil fields, and depopulation problems have driven them to offering free land to American farmers if they would become Russians. (Perhaps we should settle illegal immigrants there; many have a working knowledge of U.S. farm practices, work hard, and want a better life for themselves.) Economics is a tyrant, especially where a nation is ruled by plutocrats and not by laws. Putin cannot afford the slow bleed of petroleum wealth.
His war in Georgia was costly. The current hemorrhage in oil prices makes military adventurism just too expensive.
That is why John McCain should have called for "drill here, drill now" in the debates and it is why he should harp on this issue. McCain is positioned to take advantage of the drop in oil prices, since it was the threat of new U.S. drilling, led by his own party, which brought those prices down. This is a winner: good for the economy; a foreign policy success, if unintentional; and a clear difference between himself and Barack Obama, who has employed the audacity of soap to scrub his connections with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, along with Tony Rezko, William Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, communist Frank Marshall Davis, Raila Odinga, ACORN, the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America, etc., from under his fingernails. McCain should remind everyone, and continuously, that four-bucks-a-gallon gas is only the beginning if Obama strolls down the Potomac to the White House.
The stock market crash in 1929 became the Great Depression because taxes were raised at a time when the market needed liquidity and Smoot-Hawley placed tariffs (taxes) on imported goods at a time when free trade was needed most. Obama proposes raising taxes and rethinking NAFTA while wanting higher gas prices. Anyone can do the math, if it is laid out for them. The Obama plan makes economic collapse likely. Oil is the lifeblood of our economy and McCain has already promised to remove ethanol subsidies. This is a winner for him and he should trumpet this to the heavens.
If he'll only listen.