Friday, April 8, 2005

Turning neocons green

The energy policies being promoted by the Bush Administration are very disfunctional. GW says he wants "energy independance", but to get there he wants more domestic drilling for oil (ANWR), ignoring the fact that domestic oil is practically nonexistant. If he were to tie the country's future on domestic oil, then this country has little future.

The reality is that the world we enjoy and all the richness of our lives, all of that is utterly dependant on gushing quantities of energy available all the time. This in turn means a dependancy on the fossil fuels, such as oil, that provide the energy. At least, this is true under the current way we gain the energy that drives the economy.

There are several ways to get the energy. We don't have to create continued reliance on fossil fuels, and the myriad of problems associated with them.

Turning neocons green
: (By Amanda Griscom Little, Salon.COM, April 7, 2005)

This article is an interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who offers a "geo-green" policy framed to be appealing to the most hardline of the neocon's.

Here's a few highlights.

I would say that geo-green is the natural successor to neocon. The neocons basically believe in using American military power to drive the democracy agenda in the Middle East, and that, idealistically speaking, was the purpose of the invasion of Iraq. The reality is we do not have the resources to do that again -- not in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan or anywhere. Yet we have a fundamental interest in promoting political and economic reform in that part of the world so people have better governance, more opportunities, and less frustration. Like the president, I want to see that political reform agenda go forward.

I disagree we have a fundamental reason to care about the governance in the Middle East. I think that historically the reason the West (the U.S. and Britain) have been meddling with the Middle East is so that we could get their oil. Lacking a need for their oil, then we lack a reason to meddle with them, and they would also lack a reason to hate us for meddling with them.

But his point of lacking the resources for another war (Iran, Syria, etc) is interesting. What's interesting is there are two ways of promoting change in the world. One is the Big Stick approach, where we say "Hah! We're the biggest, baddest, we have the strongest army, and we'll pound you into submission", which is the Neocon agenda for the world.

Another approach would be more cooperative.

Which approach would lead to more peace in the world?

This is about leadership. The hallmark of George Bush's presidency is that he's never asked Americans, let alone his own base, to do anything hard.

Yup, that's interesting. I suppose fighting a war is hard enough? In any case he goes on to equate a proper quest for energy independance, that is one based on developing the technology for "alternate energy", with Kennedy's quest for the Moon. Kennedy left a lasting legacy, whereas Bush is merely saddling us with debt and a pissed off world.

The Republican Party is much greener than George Bush or Dick Cheney. Even evangelicals are increasingly speaking out about the need for us to protect God's green Earth. If you're obsessed with the right to life, you have to be obsessed with sustaining the environment -- that is also God's creation. He didn't create human beings to live in parking lots.

I really like this point. LOTS.

Resources mentioned in the interview:

The Geo-Green Alternative (By Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, January 30, 2005, Davos, Switzerland)

Geo-Greening by Example (By Thomas L. Friedman, March 27, 2005, The New York Times)

The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century
( by Thomas L Friedman )

Energy Future Coalition

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