One need not be a policy expert to understand how America's dependence on oil undermines so many of its foreign policy objectives, from prosecuting the war on terror, to democracy-promotion, to preventing rogue countries such as Iran from developing nuclear weapons. The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) created a task force to examine what could be done to address these difficulties.
The task force's report correctly identifies many of the security and economic reasons why oil dependence is a serious problem, but, curiously, there is not a word about the close link between petro-dollars and radical Islam. Any observer of Islamism realizes that it is no coincidence that so much of the cash filling terrorist coffers originates in Persian Gulf oil monarchies, particularly Saudi Arabia. While the task force has no problem criticizing Russia, Venezuela, and Iran, it gives a free pass to Saudi Arabia, which remains, years after 9-11, the financial hub of global jihad.
Adding to the problem of its misidentification of a key part of the problem, the report delivers little on the solutions front. It is unanimous in recommending the adoption of proposals to reduce the consumption of petroleum, but instead of focusing on politically feasible measures such as fuel choice, electrification of transportation, technological innovation, and telecommuting, the policies proposed—increasing the gasoline tax, dramatically increasing fuel efficiency standards, and imposing a cap on gasoline use—are unlikely to be politically viable and rely exclusively on government-imposed regulations.
Which is perhaps why the task force, while criticizing political paralysis in Congress, admitted that its own members could not agree on the policies that would best achieve the objective of reducing America's dependence on oil.
The CFR's desire to highlight our energy predicament is commendable, but one would have expected from its luminaries much more vision than is displayed in a report that starts with the premise that it is "infeasible to eliminate the nation's dependence on foreign energy sources" and which contends that "the voices that espouse ‘energy independence' are doing the nation a disservice."