February 02, 2006
The Unbearable Incompetence Of Being
One day after President Bush vowed to reduce Americaís dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didnít mean it literally.
Of course, no one in their right mind took Wís pledge to reduce our dependency on foreign oil seriously in the first place, because such a policy would greatly strengthen our nation while weakening Islamic radicals such as bin Laden, and thus is fundamentally incompatible with the chief goals of the Weakener-in-Chiefís administration.
The truly interesting thing here, then, is not the overnight policy flip-flop; rather, this is just another clear windowpane allowing insight to the huge, steaming incompetence of the Bush Administration, especially its epicenter at the White House. Only a profoundly dysfunctional and incompetent White House would fail to vet such a major policy pronouncement, at the State of the Union no less, with the administrationís own bureaucrats and financial backers.
Posted by Wayne Uff at February 02, 2006 06:13 AM
Of course the Resident could meet his goal by making nice to Venezuela. But he isn't comfortable with democratically elected leaders.
It did immediately occur to me that this was virtually impossible given the international fungible nature of the oil supply. In any event, this is a pathetic goal and conservation could accomplish a lot more. Friedman also talks a lot about reducing imports of Middle East oil. Maybe, by 2025 some really smart person will have figured out how you reduce imports of middle east oil without reducing all imports. But, then again, the market is manmade and, I suppose, in principle, it could be restructured to segregate the market somehow and target reductions.
The other fact that I'm sure Bush doesn't understand is that alternative fuels like biodiesel and ethanol don't directly reduce imports on a one barrel for one barrel basis. It takes petroleum to produce both of these fuels and, therefore, it is just the net return that reduces dependency. If we ever perfect conversion of plants like switchgrass, the payback will be greater. But we shall see.
Assuming the validity of peak oil, we are going to be cutting our consumption regardless of what Bush or anyone else does. I think Bush is begginning to get this message but won't come out and say it. He says we're addicted to oil and yet does little to relieve that addiction. He just wants to redirect the addiction away from oil and towards biofuels. We really need to think beyond the automobile as a paradigm for getting around. We also need to question whether or not we need to get around so much. Much of our addiction to the auto has to do with the "fun" factor. Surely, we can think of some other ways to have fun.