President Obama’s reluctance to be drawn into Middle East conflicts may make some sense.
Our present Mideast involvement began with Desert Storm some 23 years ago. That brief war was over concerns that Saddam Hussein had invaded Kuwait, an ally. Had Saddam been allowed to stay in oil-rich Kuwait, he could have used oil as a weapon against the U.S. and its allies.
Today, the situation is different. The craft of fracking oil and gas fields in the U.S. and Canada has moved our country closer to energy independence. Our reliance on Middle East oil has lessened significantly. With oil from Canada and Mexico, the U.S. now has little need to base Middle Eastern policy decisions on oil.
The new supplies coming into production also have kept oil prices relatively stable, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Those of us who remember the Mideast oil embargoes of the 1970s still smart over the price squeezes they caused. There was a panic as well that a diminishment of supply might be permanent. Remember the gas lines when one had to wait for an hour to get to a pump?
We also remember the pundits’ predictions that the entire planet would run out of oil by the year 2000. Boy, were they wrong.
The public also has benefited from the successful advent of hybrid and other vehicles that get better mileage. Thus is less oil used. That is true even though more vehicles are on the road, here and around the world.
As a result, U.S. imports of crude oil and petroleum products have declined. And as a further result, U.S. foreign policy no longer need be based on continued access to Mideast petroleum.
That doesn’t mean the oil states will go broke any time soon. Plenty of developing countries, such as China, are waiting in line to buy oil from the producing states. Fortunately, we no longer have to be among those elbowing their way to the pump.