I have to return to this topic every now and then, just to say how crazy it is. In bipartisan fashion, you will hear both Republicans and Democrats talking about how we need energy independence in our country.
This is an absurd idea to push. Why is there this great focus on oil? If we want energy independence, do we also want car independence? How about computer independence? What about independence for gold and diamonds? What about food independence? Surely that has to be important enough that we not depend on other countries.
The only difference I can see with oil/ energy is that there seems to be a finite amount of it, whereas with food, you can continue to grow more. But even here, there is a massive amount of oil contained in this planet. It just so happens that the stuff that is the easiest to get to and use is mostly in the Middle East. If there begins to be a shortage in oil, then the price will go up. If the price goes up, then it becomes profitable to start extracting oil from the tar sands and other places that are more costly. In addition, if the market is left free, then there will be replacements so that we don't have to use as much oil. Perhaps we will see electric cars become profitable and cost effective. Of course, if we had a true free market, we might already have something better and safer to use than gas guzzling cars.
Sometimes I think that the people living in the Middle East would be much better off if there was no oil there. The dictators running Saudi Arabia wouldn't be better off, but most of the people would be. It would keep the American empire away from them and allow them to prosper more naturally.
This whole idea of energy independence though is just ridiculous. All we need is free trade. Even if the pro-war Republicans were correct that Iran is run by a madman, there is still no reason not to buy oil there. The dictators in the Middle East can't drink the stuff. It does them no good unless they use it themselves or sell it. And with free trade, there is far less of a chance for conflict or war.
If Americans could produce enough oil and gas so that there is no need to buy from people in other countries, that is fine. But that should be left to the market to decide.
I am all for opening up ANWR for oil drilling. In fact, I think the U.S. government should sell it to the highest bidder (maybe a company like Exxon Mobil would bid on it) and the proceeds can be used to pay off Social Security recipients so that the program can be ended. Meanwhile, we will also get cheaper gas.
In conclusion, there is nothing wrong with buying oil from other countries. Just as Americans buy lots of different food items and electronic gadgets from other countries, it is also beneficial to buy energy from other countries. It is called free trade and it allows us to have a higher standard of living. Americans should tell these politicians in DC to get a new job and to stop telling us what to buy and who to buy it from.