I mean, get real. Show me what’s — show me in your house something that’s made in America. Where’s your nineteenth-century Yeoman republic gone. Go take me to your local Walmart and show me something that’s made in the United States of America. When everything in your home — you know, it’s easy to say we don’t want to be the big global policemen; we just want to be rich and fat and happy and watch Dancing with the Stars. But when the TV you’re watching Dancing with the Stars on is made on the other side of the planet, and when the clothes you’re wearing are made on the other side of the planet, when everything comes from the other side of the planet you’re engaged with the world whether you want to be or not. So don’t give me this nineteenth century isolationist mumbo-jumbo. That ship has sailed. It’s a container ship and it’s sailed to Shanghai to pick up all the junk in Walmart that you guys want to buy because it’s cheaper than trying to make it over here. -- Mark Steyn
As usual, Mark Steyn is dead on target. The United States cannot afford to fold in on itself and pretend self-sufficiency. Our economy is too tightly integrated with the economies of other lands, most notably those of Europe and the Pacific Rim. If we are to trade with those nations, we must be open to them in other ways as well.
Let us note the economies with which we're not tightly integrated:
- Much of South America;
- Russia, the former Soviet republics, and the Warsaw Pact nations;
- The Muslim Middle East.
American trade with those places is nowhere near the volumes in which we engage Europe, Japan, Taiwan, China, Singapore, and so forth. It's at least thinkable that the U.S. could limit its interactions with those lands to an irreducible minimum that's quite low indeed.
In the case of the nations of the Muslim Middle East, the "irreducible minimum" would be determined by whether we need even one drop of their oil.
Ask yourself and as many of your friends and acquaintances as you can safely annoy: Why do we have embassies or consulates in Libya?
The function of an embassy or consulate is to facilitate travel between the embassy nation and the host nation. But why, apart from considerations of tourism, would any American want to travel to Libya?
The one and only answer is Libyan oil and the flow of dollars it evokes. If we buy oil from Libya, then we must send representatives there to negotiate terms for the purchase and delivery. More, the flow of dollars into Libya creates a market for American exporters, who will want to "recapture" some of those dollars through sales of their wares. And of course, some Libyans who prosper from the oil trade will want to visit America, mostly to shop.
If we remove American purchases of Libyan oil from the tableau, the rest of it sloughs away. The same is true for Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Nigeria, and several other nations in that general region. No oil trade == no reason for the U.S. to have embassies and consulates there.
What's that you say? "What about tourism?" Well, what about it? Since when does the government of the United States have an objective interest in promoting tourism to Islamic hellholes? Do we want Americans to believe that they possess the same rights, and the same degree of personal safety, in an Islamic nation as they do here in the United States? Should any aspect of federal operations be bent toward that fiction?
I'm sure you can see where I'm heading with this.
If the U.S. can render itself independent of any need to purchase oil from a Muslim state, doing so would reduce the "irreducible minimum" of diplomatic and commercial connections with those states to the barest threads. Inasmuch as it is eminently possible to do this, it should be done. Indeed, it must be done, not only for the safety of Americans but for the peace of the world.
The intrusions, violent and otherwise, that Muslims have visited on the peoples of other lands were made possible by that flow of oil money. Islamic states have no other exports of significance; they export oil, a few rugs, and essentially nothing else. The cessation of their oil sales to the U.S. would greatly reduce their access to dollars, their means of affecting the U.S. in any way. It would also reduce their overall economic level substantially, perhaps by as much as a third -- and the "top third" of a nation's economy is the part that provides it with its luxuries, including the means to travel widely.
This wouldn't confine Muslims to their home hellholes imperviously, but it would surely limit their opportunities for mischief. In particular, their capacity for promulgating their creed would be sharply reduced. Best of all, it would require no sacrifices from Americans. Oil produced and refined locally would be cheaper than oil imported from thousands of miles away.
- Build the Keystone XL pipeline;
- Open ANWR and other federal lands to oil and gas exploration;
- Open the continental shelf and the Gulf of Mexico as well;
- Remove the regulatory restrictions that impede the construction of new refineries and the expansion of existing ones;
- Place sharp limits and severe monetary disincentives on "nuisance suits" of the sort filed by environmental activists to thwart or retard energy-related enterprises.
Really, does anyone need more reasons to vote for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan than that?
A lot of rhetorical sewage has been emitted about how "we have to protect the environment from risky extraction technologies" and "it would be ten years before we saw any oil" from new continental exploration. Such objections are based on falsehoods and misinformation about the exploitation cycle, which is front-loaded with exploration time and costs. Areas from which we are currently forbidden to draw oil and gas are already known to possess huge quantities thereof, ready for exploitation. This is definitely so along the continental shelf and in the Gulf of Mexico. The extraction technologies are safer, cleaner, and more advanced than ever before in history. As for natural gas, the hydrofracturing revolution will release a supply of natural gas that would power the entire nation for five hundred years all by itself -- and despite the propaganda to the contrary, hydrofracturing has never, ever contaminated a drinking water supply. It cannot, as it acts several thousand feet below the water tables that supply that water.
Getting from where we are to where we need to be won't be easy.
There are forces anxious to perpetuate American dependence on foreign sources of fossil fuels.
There are forces violently opposed to anything that might release an unwanted molecule of anything into the "environment."
There are forces that actively hate freedom, prosperity, and the United States of America...operating within our territorial borders, at that.
These forces must be opposed, beaten back, and ultimately destroyed.
Imagine home heating oil at less than $1.00 per gallon.
Imagine gasoline at $1.50 a gallon.
Imagine electric rates a third what they are today, made possible by cheap, abundant natural gas.
Imagine a future of cheap energy, elevated living standard, and freedom from the fear of terrorism.
If you're a member of the Foreign Service, imagine not having to fear that you might be posted to Libya, or Nigeria, or Iraq.
If you're a member of America's armed forces, imagine not having to worry about being deployed to an Islamic hellhole, whether to protect American diplomats or to "liberate" the vicious ingrates that live there.
If you're a relative of someone in either of the above categories, imagine being able to sleep soundly at night.
Finally, if you're "merely" an American citizen who dreads the evening news, who immediately skips to Page Seven of the newspaper, and who'd like nothing better than to be left alone in the peaceful enjoyment of what's rightfully and honorably yours...
Keep all the above in mind on November 6 -- and afterward.