How to Insult Friends and Not Influence People

 

Obama PipelinesIf there is a perfect microcosm of President Obama’s foreign policy, it is the Keystone XL pipeline. The proposed oil pipeline would stretch from Alberta to the Gulf Coast, essentially duplicating pipelines already in existence or under construction. It would deliver much-needed crude oil in a cost-effective way to the great refineries of Texas and Louisiana and — at a stroke — reduce American dependence on hostile foreign sources while also giving an economic boost to America’s closest ally. All this makes Keystone XL the foreign policy equivalent of a no-brainer. The crude will come into America whether or not Keystone XL is approved, either in existing pipelines or via an overstretched rail system. There would simply be less crude and likely at a significantly higher cost. Even if one accepts the global warming theories peddled by the Obama Administration, the crude that would flow through Keystone XL would have only a marginal impact. In a world where China is building coal power plants at a record pace, a few hundred thousand barrels of Canadian heavy crude is dust in the balance.

So why has the Obama Administration blocked Keystone XL since almost the moment it entered office? While the issue is a minor one in domestic politics, it is of disproportionate importance to a small group of Democratic donors. These wealthy activists have accepted the tenets of the Greenista creed and regard industrial civilization with contempt. They do not view the extraction of resources – or the constructions of great pieces of infrastructure – as tools that allow ordinary people to live richer and better lives. They view industrial civilization as a threat to the goddess Gaia; the common man be damned.

Whether Keystone XL would have much of an impact on global warming is irrelevant to these activists. It is, however, of tremendous symbolic importance. If the construction of a vital and largely harmless piece of infrastructure can be stopped so easily, it will act as a precedent. It will help drive investment away from the pipeline sector and, over time, make fossil fuels more expensive. This is part of a long, slow march to end industrial society. To placate, this small group of rich cranks, the Obama Administration has weakened the American economy and insulted a harmless and valuable ally.

Aside from Warren Buffet, the primary beneficiaries of Obama’s anti-Keystone policy are enemy states such as Venezuela. Yet this is hardly an isolated incident. Think of how Israel’s vital interests – perhaps its very survival – has been undermined by the recent deal with Iran. The nuclear deal does little to seriously delay the Iranian bomb, but exists for the sake of having a deal. It exists to show a narrow spectrum of the Democratic base that Obama is a peacemaker. Deals resting on appeasement lead ultimately to war – a historical lesson which Obama has forgotten.

American national elections – except in moments of crisis – are not won or lost on foreign policy questions. It’s unlikely that very many of Obama’s supporters will be voting Republican in 2016 because of Keystone or the Iranian deal. It’s also unlikely that, had he been facing re-election, the President would have lost very much in the way of money or votes by approving Keystone or rejecting Iran’s insincere offers of compromise. What is shocking is not that Obama has sacrificed America’s position in the world for domestic political considerations – he’d hardly be the first American president to do that — but the smallness of the domestic considerations in play. For penny ante gains at home, Barack Obama has weakened friends, insulted allies, and telegraphed to America’s enemies how easily the world’s sole remaining superpower can be bullied and tricked. It is foolishness passing itself off as moral enlightenment.

There are 10 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Concretevol Thatcher
    Concretevol
    @Concretevol

    I keep on saying this is the first “anti-American” president but it is still shocking how true that is.   (Carter is probably the first anti-American ex-president)

    • #1
  2. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Even if one accepts the theory that carbon dioxide is the primary driver of global warming, it’s hard to make the case that the Keystone XL pipeline would exacerbate it.  The Canadians don’t give a damn what Obama thinks, they are going to extract that oil.  If Obama could forbid it from crossing the border at all, the Canadians would sell it to China or someone else whose refineries are less clean and efficient than the American refineries.  But denying the pipeline from crossing the international border doesn’t keep the oil out, it just comes over in trucks or on rail.  The amount of energy consumed to transport a barrel of oil through the pipeline would be less than on truck or train, and the likelihood of spillage would be diminished.

    • #2
  3. Great Ghost of Gödel Inactive
    Great Ghost of Gödel
    @GreatGhostofGodel

    Minor English nit: “tenets,” not “tenants.” :-)

    • #3
  4. SPare Member
    SPare
    @SPare

    Randy Weivoda:… The Canadians don’t give a damn what Obama thinks, they are going to extract that oil. If Obama could forbid it from crossing the border at all, the Canadians would sell it to China or someone else whose refineries are less clean and efficient than the American refineries….

    We are planning on selling it to China.  Not the preferred option, since it’s going to travel by pipeline (called Northern Gateway) and then oil tanker, but good always find a way to market.

    The interesting thing is that there’s also a protest movement against that pipeline to the Pacific, and it’s almost entirely an American cause being perpetrated in our domestic politics.  Of course, the big enviro outfits need to hide their steps, so they create front groups up here that amount to little more than a receptionist and a fax machine, but all of the money comes from down south.

    As I’m sure you can imagine, the concept of foreigners influencing an entirely domestic issue doesn’t play too well.

    • #4
  5. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Richard Anderson: The crude will come into America whether or not Keystone XL is approved, either in existing pipelines or via an overstretched rail system.

    Wait, I thought that crude was now headed to China, since we had turned our noses up at it.

    • #5
  6. Dan Hanson Thatcher
    Dan Hanson
    @DanHanson

    It’s probably a moot point now,  as Alberta has,  in a fit of insanity,  elected a left-wing government that has promised to kill the pipeline anyway (as well as the other pipeline that would move the oil to the coast).  All to stop global warming.

    They are incoherent,  because they are also basing their economic plan (all the new costs of new social programs) on raising the royalty rates on oil extraction.  So on the one hand oil is so bad we should not build a pipeline to ship it to America,  but on the other it is a vital resource for social change.  It makes no sense,  but when did the left ever make sense?

    • #6
  7. SPare Member
    SPare
    @SPare

    Dan Hanson:It’s probably a moot point now, as Alberta has, in a fit of insanity, elected a left-wing government that has promised to kill the pipeline anyway (as well as the other pipeline that would move the oil to the coast). All to stop global warming.

    They are incoherent, because they are also basing their economic plan (all the new costs of new social programs) on raising the royalty rates on oil extraction. So on the one hand oil is so bad we should not build a pipeline to ship it to America, but on the other it is a vital resource for social change. It makes no sense, but when did the left ever make sense?

    Except that Northern Gateway is mostly in BC, and they are staying the course.  As for the Knee-Dippers, they’re so out of their league that the pipeline will be done before they can figure out how they can stop it.

    • #7
  8. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    It’s a shame that our country’s security (being energy independent is at top) is compromised by money, political favors and indecision. If you research, it seems both Clinton and Obama played both sides depending on who had more campaign money regarding the Pipeline. Apparently, Clinton made hefty sums giving speeches from Canadian banks in favor of the pipeline, but is mum on details. Obama wanted environmentalists’ campaign money as well as pleasing unions who are in favor.

    Now he is in the final push to the finish line for hope and change, and climate change is #1.  I remember when I lived in MA, they were all about wind energy, but when windmills were proposed for the Cape, they wanted none of it (Kennedys). They determined it cost more to grow corn for fuel, supply water, and process, so not as cost-effective or environmentally friendly as once thought. Price of food is skyrocketing, CA is drying up – we need crops and land space to feed “people”.

    Now Obama plans to put more gov. regulations on emissions while companies are still putting the old (new) ones in place!  The countries that cause so much of the pollution are not complying with global initiatives, while using much of the fuel.

    What is best for America? Energy independence with multiple choices, putting Americans to work (pipeline), supporting farmers and growing our own food, and becoming less dependent on countries who hack us, have abysmal human rights records or support terror.

    • #8
  9. Tenacious D Inactive
    Tenacious D
    @TenaciousD

    SPare: Except that Northern Gateway is mostly in BC, and they are staying the course.  As for the Knee-Dippers, they’re so out of their league that the pipeline will be done before they can figure out how they can stop it.

    Don’t forget about Energy East. It could very well be the first one completed since it relies on reversing the flow of existing pipelines for most of the route and the east coast doesn’t have the kind of vast, contiguous First Nation’s land claims that BC does.

    But with a federal election in 11 weeks and sub $50/bbl oil, I don’t consider any pipeline to be a fait accompli.

    • #9
  10. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Dan Hanson: They are incoherent,  because they are also basing their economic plan (all the new costs of new social programs) on raising the royalty rates on oil extraction.  So on the one hand oil is so bad we should not build a pipeline to ship it to America,  but on the other it is a vital resource for social change.  It makes no sense,  but when did the left ever make sense?

    Kind of like cigarette taxes….

    • #10
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.