Friday, January 27th | 5 Shevat 5783

April 14, 2020 5:41 am

How American Energy Independence Can Free Us 

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avatar by Fred Zeidman and Martin Frost


Large tankers loading at Kharg Island Terminal, offshore in the Persian Gulf. Photo: National Iranian Oil Company via Wikimedia Commons.

In the past few weeks, Venezuelan dictator Nicholas Maduro and his family were indicted for trafficking drugs into the United States. Maduro has cheated in elections, nationalized industry, and impoverished his nation. For many years, Venezuela was the largest exporter of oil to the United States.

Countries like Iran, Russia, and Venezuela have constantly sought to wreak havoc on international institutions and systems. They have shown a consistent disregard for global norms and human rights.  And they have been empowered all along by their ability to satiate the global economy’s thirst for oil.  

America’s newfound energy independence has shifted the global paradigm. The shale revolution has not only made America energy independent, but has also solidified our standing as the world’s largest producer of energy. More so, it has emboldened the United States and its allies to act against autocratic leaders like Presidents Maduro, Putin, and Iran’s President Rouhani.

However, this monumental accomplishment is at risk. In the past month, the Saudis and the Russians began flooding the market with crude oil, while engaging in their own petulant version of power politics in the Middle East. None of this bodes well for America’s long-term allies like Israel. None of this bodes well for America — though President Trump is trying to act to contain the situation.

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American energy independence is a bipartisan national security issue. One of us is the former chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the other a Republican political fundraiser. Together, through the Council for a Secure America, we have found bipartisan common ground on the critical importance of American energy independence from foreign oil. America’s national security and our freedom directly correlates to our ability to produce energy domestically.

We are no longer beholden to the erratic behavior of the likes of Venezuela or the Iranian threats to the Strait of Hormuz. America is now free. This emancipation from the grips of foreign oil, however, has been called into question. With the recent Saudi and Russian provocations causing a precipitous decline in oil prices, domestic oil production has been stunted and this hard-earned privilege is in jeopardy.

If we’ve learned anything from the current COVID-19 crisis, it is that being in control of your resources puts you in control of your destiny. As more of American production has shifted overseas, America’s ability to depend on these needed supplies during times of crisis has become more fraught. In the past weeks, America has raced to rebuild domestic manufacturing for ventilators and masks. We can’t allow the same thing to happen again to American energy.

This is not a Democratic issue. This is not a Republican issue. This is a bipartisan American issue. It is critical that America not squander this hard-earned freedom of energy independence in the face of this global pandemic.

The Honorable Martin Frost is the Secretary/Treasurer of the Council for a Secure America. He  represented Texas’ 24th Congressional District (Dallas-Ft. Worth) for 26 years (1979-2005).  He served as chair of the DCCC and the House Democratic Caucus for eight of those years.

The Honorable Fred Zeidman is Co-Chairman of the Council for a Secure America. He is the Chairman of the Gordian Group and is the chairman emeritus of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum appointed by President George W. Bush. 

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