April 5, 2012

“SMART DIPLOMACY:” Canada: After Keystone, We’d Rather Sell Oil to China. “What Harper is saying is that Canada could make more money by creating a market for its oil rather than selling all of it solely to the US. In other words, the cost of Canadian oil will go up as the US is forced to compete with China.”

UPDATE: Related: Obama Regulations Hand a Strategic Mining Monopoly to . . . China. On rare-earth minerals.

Plus: Solyndra vs. Keystone: A Tale of Two Energy-Project Reviews. “Got that? A speculative ‘green’ energy project that in retrospect, once the rest of us saw the details, was obviously going to be a business disaster, and ended up costing the taxpayers over half a billion dollars, was approved after a ‘one-day review.’ Yet the president demanded that Keystone, a project with certain and vast energy output, be delayed for many more months so that it could be ‘adequately reviewed,’ despite the fact that it had already had years of review. And as a result our energy prices will now rise in the future, with no way of returning to the status quo. Just as the president told us he wanted them to when he ran four years ago.”

Plus: “One wonders what administration defenders are thinking as they watch this ongoing trainwreck. We know what they’re saying, but what are they thinking?”

MORE: Reader Ari Mendelson writes: “They called Dan Quayle stupid because he couldn’t spell ‘potato.’ Well, the effects of Dan Quayle’s stupidity, such as it was, could be cured in two seconds with a computer spell checker. Obama’s stupidity with the Keystone Pipeline? Not quite so easy to correct, now, is it?” I’m not sure Obama’s actions can be characterized as stupid. I think he knows what he’s doing.

MORE STILL: Prof. Stephen Clark writes:

All of these moves are consistent with a desire to see the domestic price of commodities rise. This is consistent with a belief that to do so makes alternative energy sources economically competitive (I’m not saying this makes economic sense) in the belief that we are entering a time of ever scarcer resources; and is also consistent with a desire to mitigate America’s relative strategic strength. If your overarching goal is to limit the ability of the US to act independently, then this combination of acts with others is not an anomaly nor is it the product of strategic oversight or blunder. This leads to several questions: Does the administration believe we are entering an era of ever scarcer resources and that their acts will force us to adapt before the real crunch hits? (This would indicate a belief that assumes a consensus that doesn’t exist.) What does the administration and its representatives think is the proper role for the US in the international system? How much independence should the US enjoy and is the ability to act independently seen as the potential for greater good or greater harm for the international system at large? Whose vision informs the president’s choices in these matters – and among those living what have they to say in response to these questions?

I think the time has passed for looking at these policies and acts as the product of incompetence or lack of coordination, and rather to ask what policy goals do they serve? These things should be openly discussed and laid out as part of the process leading to November’s decision.


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