Oil Independence :: Growing Support For A New Reality…But Is ‘Sacrifice’ In Our Vocabulary?

A Timelime of Events – Post-State of the Union

January 31st
Heartened by some of the ideas put forth in the President’s state of the union address, I’d been eagerly awaiting some follow-up. Arab oil producers – those relying on the U.S. addiction to remain in power – provided it. Voicing their concerns to the administration on the ensuing day; the Whitehouse confided that the president was only speaking “metaphorically,” their understandable tension was – at least for now – temporarily allayed.

February 17th
The problem persists…but as of last week, we have unexpected cause to thank Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez. His confrontational statements (Chavez warns US on oil after Rice remarks) have brought the critical issue of this energy challenge back into the spotlight. I expect this scenario to repeat as tension with Iran and other oil producing countries rise.

February 20th
Caught in a pickle, the administration faces some tough decisions ahead. Either bow to the foreign powers who threaten our national security, or endure the economic pain that a shift away from this dependency would create. Bush should know better than most; his struggles with the bottle have likely given some good perspective on what it’s like to break an addiction. Reiterating ideas from the SOTU, Bush was again in the news today following a speech in Wisconsin (Bush: US must not be “hostage” to foreign oil).

Thoughts & Analysis…
Elements and repercussions of such a policy shift are potentially more far reaching and, by my measure, more beneficial than even the points brought up by the president. Implications of an independent energy initiative could bring a wealth of benefits to the stability of the entire planet. Thomas Friedman agrees (I’ll post a video of him speaking to this at a conference as soon as I figure out how). He also recently discussed this on The Charlie Rose Show in December. You can download it here on video.google.com for $0.99.

Even More Benefits:
Environment – It’s easy to see how alternative energy sources would help here. Recent studies (see 60 Minutes Report) suggest the situation is in fact much more dire than previously thought.Education – More scientists and engineers will be needed in order to attain such a goal. While building competencies in these areas through school reforms, we’ll also be addressing America’s failing scores among the world’s developed/ing nations. This also, of course, leads to a narrowed gap between the rich and poor, as well as an improved economy.

Economy – Imagine how valuable this sort of technology would be for developing nations. Low cost, efficient & renewable sources of energy that could drive their growth and development while giving billions of people an opportunity to live healthier, happier and more productive lives.

Equanimity – A greater balance of power might have some concerned, but this would certainly bring about more peace & stability to societies throughout the world as well as diminishing feelings of betrayal and mistrust.

The limited availability & high cost of energy is truly the great scourge of our time. Like Thomas Friedman, I would be a fervent advocate of any politician who ran on such a platform. I’ve also heard that this author of, “The World is Flat” and “The Lexus & The Olive Tree” is working on another book to cover these ideas in detail. I’m certainly looking forward to reading it and hope that it will gain some major political traction. I shudder to consider the alternative. This won’t be an easy task and will take a strong willed public to delay the gratification; but what thing that is worthwhile is ever truly easy to accomplish?

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