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The Cheney Effect (in the Obama Administration)

In virtually every respect, when it comes to energy geopolitics, the Obama administration continues to carry out the strategic blueprint pioneered by Dick Cheney during the two Bush administrations. What explains this surprising behavior? Assuming that it doesn’t represent a literal effort to replicate Cheney’s thinking -- and there’s no evidence of that -- it clearly represents the triumph of imperial geopolitics (and hidebound thinking) over ideology, principle, or even simple openness to new ideas.

When you get two figures as different as Obama and Cheney pursuing the same pathways in the world -- and the first time around was anything but a success -- it’s a sign of just how closed and airless the world of Washington really has become. At a time when most Americans are weary of grand ideological crusades, the pursuit of what looks like simple national self-interest -- in the form of assured energy supplies -- may appear far more attractive as a rationale for military and political involvement abroad.

In addition, Obama and his advisers are no doubt influenced by talk of a new “golden age” of North American oil and gas, made possible by the exploitation of shale deposits and other unconventional -- and often dirty -- energy resources. According to projections given by the Department of Energy, U.S. reliance on imported energy is likely to decline in the years ahead (though there is a domestic price to be paid for such “independence”), while China’s will only rise -- a seeming geopolitical advantage for the United States that Obama appears to relish.

It is easy enough to grasp the appeal of such energy geopolitics for White House strategists, especially given the woeful state of the U.S. economy and the declining utility of other instruments of state power. And if you are prepared to overlook the growing environmental risks of reliance on offshore oil, shale gas, and other unconventional forms of energy, rising U.S. energy output conveys certain geopolitical advantages. But as history suggests, engaging in aggressive global geopolitical confrontations with other determined, well-armed players usually leads to friction, crisis, war, and disaster.

In this regard, Cheney’s geopolitical maneuvering led us into two costly Middle Eastern wars while heightening tensions with both China and Russia. President Obama claims he seeks to build a more peaceful world, but copying the Cheney energy blueprint is bound to produce the exact opposite.


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We are on the verge of

We are on the verge of another financial crisis even bigger than the real estate collapse.

This time, it's being driven by oil prices. It's not a supply/demand problem, nor a geopolitical one. Rather, the crisis stems from the rising inability to determine crude oil's genuine value.

A new round of speculation is growing, manipulating the energy markets. When no one can figure out how much oil prices should really be, they rise artificially... leading to catastrophic fallout.

And that fallout won't just affect energy investors or oil barons. It will affect you.

Let's face it: Oil prices touch everything. The gas you buy... the products you use... the food you eat... in some way or another oil is involved in all facets of life. Even if you don't invest at all, this crisis will almost certainly have a major impact on you and your family.

This crisis will create a new bubble - one that will make the all-time highs of 2008 look like child's play.

And when it bursts...well, that's when so much will be at stake.


reedr3v's picture

It's good to see a critique of O. coming from

the Left; why he thinks Cheney and Obama are entirely different in character/motivation is unclear, perhaps it is to appease his readers.

And naturally there is the assumption that government interference in the energy market is necessary despite the horrific results of it.

We’ve drilled, baby,

We’ve drilled, baby, we’ve drilled. We’re now drilling more in this country than we have in nearly a decade.
We’ve given tax breaks and other wasteful incentives to oil companies to try and ease our pain at the pump. We now give about $4 billion in tax breaks to the oil and gas industry each and every year.
We’ve listened to naysayers tell us that pursuing clean energy alternatives to oil and gas is a waste of our time and money. Now, the United States is lagging much of the rest of the world on clean energy.
And what have we gotten in return?

Gas prices that are hitting new highs, an economy held hostage to global instability and an oil industry monopoly on our transportation system.

There’s nothing we can do to control the price of gas in America, because oil prices are set on a global marketplace. As we’ve seen, more drilling certainly isn’t the answer, because that’s done nothing to reduce prices at the pump. The only thing more drilling has done is increase profits for oil companies – to the tune of $137 billion last year alone, a 75 percent rise since the year before. Who else got a 75 percent raise in the middle of a recession?

"I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this any more!"
- Howard Beale