A silver-tongued Saudi muddies some compelling ideas about oil policy by trying to suggest Saudi isn’t a dictatorship. He started out strong. Writing in Foreign Policy, Saudi’s influential former ambassador to the U.S. calls energy independence a bunch of bull:
“Energy independence” has become a byword on the American political scene, and invoking it is now as essential as baby-kissing. All the recent U.S. presidential candidates employed it, and to this day, the White House Web site lists as a guiding principle the need to “curb our dependence on fossil fuels and make America energy independent”. . . But this “energy independence” motto is political posturing at its worst — a concept that is unrealistic, misguided, and ultimately harmful to energy-producing and -consuming countries alike. And it is often deployed as little more than code for arguing that the United States has a dangerous reliance on my country of Saudi Arabia, which gets blamed for everything from global terrorism to high gasoline prices.
It’s interesting to suggest talk of engery independence is a kind of hollow posturing. Better than demonizing Saudi and oil, Obama should — as the Prince suggests — give a more nuanced picture of the realities of both the world energy situation and the U.S. relationship with Saudi. But where al-Faisal goes a bit overboard is how little he accounts for the real reasons Saudi has such a complicated image abroad. Read the rest of this entry »