Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Time for a new empire

I just filled my SUV with gas and it cost me north of $60. I have to admit to being pretty angry about that especially since it costs Saudi Arabia about $5 to pull at barrel of oil out of the ground. I look around and realize that there are a lot of folks who are just as angry as I am and are expressing their displeasure to congress. What is the response from Congress? So far, pretty tepid. Hand wringing about gas-guzzlers, blustering about drilling in ANWR but not a lot else.

Here is what I propose. Go to Saudi Arabia and mention that their sultanate exists by the good graces of the United States and point out that it is time for the price of crude to come down. If they want to palaver on about market forces and transportation costs, insurance policies and terrorism premiums, then we should listen politely. When they are done, we can once again mention the part about us having the world’s strongest military and needing a fair price for oil, and seeing if that moves the King and his court. If not, then, we can move to declare the oil fields in the Persian Gulf (heck, we can call it the Arabian Gulf even, if it would salve the wound) imminent domain, and seize them and the equipment working them in the name of the world economy. The US Navy SEALS train specifically to take down oil platforms and terminal stations, and the Marines would follow on to secure them. Once oil starts to flow at massively reduced cost, and the price at the pump plunges, I think you would see people pretty excited about Bush leadership and actually quite enthusiastic about a war for oil.

The only good argument against this policy is that it would probably kill the UK economy which is buoyed by the price we pay for oil they drill out of the North Sea. If the UK economy tanks, then Blair will lose his job and whoever replaces him will immediately pull their troops out of Iraq, which would seriously damage our mission there.

If you don’t have a taste for the dramatic, then perhaps you would be more enthusiastic about drilling in ANWR or more drilling off the Gulf Coast of Florida or drilling off the coast of California, places where there are huge, proven reserves but which are off limits because of “environmental” concerns. Boo hoo, a manatee might bump its head or a whale might have to go further out to sea on its migration, better we pay $3 a gallon. Seize the oil fields in the middle east, and start drilling all over, I am ready for cheap gasoline!