• Thursday, December 07, 2023
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Obama and America’s quest for energy independence


Ottoabasi Abasiekong

At the end of World War II President Franklin Roosevelt attended a summit that changed the course of world history. The man with whom he met had rarely set foot outside his home country, and insisted on bringing along his household slaves and royal astrologer.

That man was King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia. In the years before the Second World War, the desert Kingdom had gone from sleepy backwater to the most promising oil province in the world. Military planners in America were painfully aware of the swift decline in their own country’s domestic reserves, so in return for guaranteed access to Saudi Arabia’s vast quantities of oil, Roosevelt promised the tribal chieftain America’s military support.

The ‘Vow’ formed the basis of commitment and the dependency of the USA on the Gulf of Arabia for oil supply. It has also helped to aid the conspiracy theory of ‘Blood of Oil ‘i.e American blood in Iraq has been split in two different wars (Gulf War 1991,and Iraqi Invasion since 2003) all for the benefit of oil interests. America has come under intense criticisms from global affairs analysts and policy leaders for preaching liberalism and democracy across the world, but soft-pedalling on Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations, because of the energy pacts and dependency it has on the Gulf nations for oil.

You wouldn’t blame America, because you rather watch your approach to a regular and willing supplier or be ready to face a disconnection of supply and suffer acute energy crisis. Madaleine Albright, America’s first Female Secretary of States, at a panel hosted by the Center for American Progress, said that “America is addicted to oil, and the oil is coming from dangerous places in the world’.

The major topic for discussion was “Energy Security in the 21st Century”. Speaking also at the panel session President of the Center for American Progress John Podesta pointed out that the U.S addiction to oil has increased even as oil has become more expensive and demanding in the international market. Podesta also said that that the U.S has compromised its foreign policy and has been trading with Gulf regimes that are totally autocratic and have antithetical views to Democracy.

Michael Klare in his research work on “blood and oil” gave a thoughtful and well-researched history of oil and geopolitics. Klare like Podesta was critical of the way the U.S. has over the years supported nasty and shrewd regimes because of their supplies of oil. They need to sustain their energy market.

China has now become a major economic bloc in the world, and also has a growing and accelerating energy demand contesting with the U.S for the expansion of its oil blocs, operations and trades across the world and this is also challenging the U.S Energy demand. Politicians of the two major political parties (Democratic and Republican) are now championing the quest for “Energy Independence’, the adminstrations of Jimmy Carter, J. F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, George Bush(Snr),William Jefferson Clinton, and George Bush(Jnr) have all had plans for America’s energy security, but experiencing the limitations that have come through America’s partnership and oil trade agreements with the Gulf Arab nations, who supply the oil.

Now America is in the 21st century one of responsibility and innovation, and with the historic entry of President Barack Obama there has never been any moment that the ‘Energy Independence’ plan could be achieved than now. President Barack Obama can put his name on gold if his administration shows commitment and dedication to the implementation of renewable energy plans and policies that will drastically reduce the dependency of America on foreign oil.

President Obama is planning to invest aggressively in developing alternative fuel sources that will help to address any tendency of ‘Energy Crisis’ in America. What I love about President Obama’s Sustainable Energy plan, is that it is a long-term plan which should reposition America properly in the international energy market.

America has a lot of interests in the Gulf of Guinea which borders West Africa, but is facing stiff opposition from China who really want to be a global dominant energy player in the international market. U.S demand for Oil will jump 40 percent high over the next 20 years over the same period. Worldwide demand is expected to jump to at least 30 percent as rapidly as developing countries like China and India expand Industrial capacity and add 140 million cars on the road.

President Obama has a lot of passion to see America become energy independent, and has given the danger warning that America’s present dependency on Oil, is undermining it’s national security. ‘A Potential Attack on Saudi Oil would completely throw America’s economy into a tailspin,” Obama once said. In view of this, he is proposing to invest $150 billion in new alternative energy technologies and renewable fuels, and will create 5 million new jobs for Americans.

President Obama has shown strong leadership for strategic energy reforms and also rallied, encouraged and galvanized the Bipartisan support for the energy reforms leading to America’s energy independence. He has no doubt faced huge challenges reforming the economy, and the health sector but the reforms of the Energy Sector to position America as a nation independent of foreign oil, with the utilization of renewable energy would give President Obama another mark of credence. Ottoabasi Abasiekong