In the debate last night, President Trump finally talked about the most important impact of his energy policy. Energy independence means much more than low prices at the gas pump and on your utility bill. The widespread use of natural gas is also great for the environment and has lowered our carbon emissions. These are both wonderful outcomes, but they don’t hold a candle to the impact on foreign policy.
In ten seconds, President Trump gives the money quote:
We are energy independent for the first time. We don’t need all of these countries that we had to fight wars over because we needed their energy. We are energy independent.
This obvious outcome is the secret sauce in President Trump’s success in the Middle East. While it is reasonable to assume that technology will eventually lead us away from sole reliance on fossil fuels, the United States becoming energy independent forced petrol-economies in the Middle East to start considering a future where their primary export is not in high demand.
As such, there is far less incentive for the United States to spend blood and treasure in the region to mitigate centuries-old conflicts. The very idea that this expenditure would turn Middle East countries into democratic states was simply absurd. The primary religion in the region discourages democratic elections and is prone to some form of theocracy. To think we were going to exchange American lives and expenditures on oil for a complete rejection of core tenents of the Muslim faith has been a fool’s errand since 1979.
Certainly, our post-World War II success in Europe, Japan, and the former Soviet Union fueled these fever dreams. However, the “experts” could never solve the significant cultural differences between the West and the Middle East. In reality, they did not even solve the region’s overwhelming cultural differences when it was carved up into countries with arbitrary borders.
As a result, the United States and the world have been dragged into these conflicts to preserve access to their rich reserves of oil. President Trump’s energy policy freed the United States from being one of the largest importers of Middle Eastern oil. This change caused the region to confront the idea that their economies must modernize to meet the challenge of evolving energy technologies at some point in the future.
For example, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has seen steady progress towards a workable solution for nuclear fusion. In September, MIT announced a significant breakthrough in the design of SPARC, a precursor to a practical, emissions-free power plant:
SPARC is planned to be the first experimental device ever to achieve a “burning plasma” — that is, a self-sustaining fusion reaction in which different isotopes of the element hydrogen fuse together to form helium, without the need for any further input of energy. Studying the behavior of this burning plasma — something never before seen on Earth in a controlled fashion — is seen as crucial information for developing the next step, a working prototype of a practical, power-generating power plant.
It appears much of the Arab world is choosing economic progress and modernization over continued wars. Israel has positioned itself as an entrepreneurial and technology-driven economy. The idea of technology transfer for economic growth as well as for water desalination is winning. It was most certainly helped along with less dependence on foreign oil by the United States.
The Trump administration’s putting an end to Iranian appeasement was also key to moving the Arab world in the right direction. The entire world saw Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speak to the United States Congress to warn of the danger Iran posed during the Iran Deal negotiation. Apparently, many of their Arab neighbors also see Iran as an existential threat.
By gutting decades of failed Middle Eastern policy, the Trump administration made significant gains toward peace. As if we needed further proof, President Trump announced this morning that Sudan will be normalizing relations with Isreal. The Arab nation will be joining Bahrain and United Arab Emirates as Muslim nations leading a reframing of diplomatic relations with Isreal.
Ultimately, the Biden energy plan will reverse all of the gains in the region. Just like California imports fossil-fuel energy from Arizona and Nevada when their green energy is not sufficient, the United States will return to a dependence on Middle Eastern oil when wind and solar are insufficient to serve our high-density urban centers and industrial economy.
This is why the warmongers from both parties are coalescing around Biden. So, if you are tired of endless wars and endless investment in foreign nations rather than at home, another four years of the Trump policies will solidify a different approach. A vote for Biden simply turns back the clock.
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