Bill Doskoch: Media, BPS*, Film, Minutiae

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The geo-green alternative

NYT columnist Thomas L. Friedman has a solution for dealing with the Middle East and the other oil-producing regions of the world — grow less dependent on them:

An excerpt:

… Is there any other way the West can promote real reform in the Arab-Muslim world?

Yes, there is an alternative to the Euro-wimps and the neocons, and it is the “geo-greens.” I am a geo-green. The geo-greens believe that, going forward, if we put all our focus on reducing the price of oil – by conservation, by developing renewable and alternative energies and by expanding nuclear power – we will force more reform than by any other strategy. You give me $18-a-barrel oil and I will give you political and economic reform from Algeria to Iran. All these regimes have huge population bubbles and too few jobs. They make up the gap with oil revenues. Shrink the oil revenue and they will have to open up their economies and their schools and liberate their women so that their people can compete. It is that simple.

By refusing to rein in U.S. energy consumption, the Bush team is not only depriving itself of the most effective lever for promoting internally driven reform in the Middle East, it is also depriving itself of any military option. As Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, points out, given today's tight oil market and current U.S. consumption patterns, any kind of U.S. strike on Iran, one of the world's major oil producers, would send the price of oil through the roof, causing real problems for our economy. “Our own energy policy has tied our hands,” Mr. Haass said.

The Bush team's laudable desire to promote sustained reform in the Middle East will never succeed unless it moves from neocon to geo-green.

Sun, January 30 2005 » Main Page