Sunday, May 18, 2008

Oil Imports and Free Trade

This weekend's Wall Street Journal ("WSJ" -- oh, if only more Members of Congress read this sacred text!) featured an article reporting on the recent failure by President Bush to convince the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to produce more oil. This request was designed to increase world oil supply to help drive down gasoline costs for American consumers.

The WSJ article included a very informative bar graph which depicted the USA's "Crude Oil Imports, March 2008, millions of barrels a day" (from specific countries). The overall rankings included the following list from highest to lowest provider of crude oil to the USA:

Saudi Arabia

Now without me conducting extensive geo-political/cultural research on these 10 nations here is my quick snapshot overview of our reliance on these oil exporters based on my years of general observation, study, and travel:

Four (4) of these ten countries' (located in the Mideast and Africa) political systems are dominated by Islamic organizations -- many of which are hostile to the USA. Another three (3) of these countries (located in South America) have socialist governments with cool diplomatic relations with the USA but one in particular, Venezuela, consider the USA to be a greedy and corrupt empire destined to be overthrown.

Which leaves us with three (3) of these top ten oil suppliers to discuss -- Angola, Canada, and Mexico. First - Angola, located in Africa of course so this can pose distribution problems for the USA since President Chavez could use his oil money (partially gained from the USA) to build a naval presence capable of destroying Angolan oil tankers -- far fetched you might say but did anyone predict the Twin Towers in New York City would be bombed by passenger aircraft??

So that leaves us with Canada (which is # 1 on this WSJ list) and Mexico (coming in at #3 on the WSJ list) that we should consider not only valuable oil suppliers but also solid allies for the USA. Let's pause here to count our blessings since these two countries are of course our northern and southern neighbors. Additionally the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) helps to ensure that these three economies are reliant and inter-dependent on each other. Tell me -- does anyone out there fear Canadian troops invading the USA? No because the old maxim is true -- "trading nations are not warring nations."

Here are two key things we should focus on in terms of American foreign policy:

1.) Encourage (and assist) Mexico to modernize and privatize its national oil monopoly to increase its production capacity so the American economy receives an increase in supply.

2.) Enhance the Canadian-USA relationship via --- increased exchange student programs especially in the fields of geology and engineering, state trade missions led by all 50 of our governors to Canada, and film festivals featuring movies like "Canadian Bacon" and "Strange Brew" (hey -- just trying to little the mood here after the earlier talk of Islamic radicals and Latin dictators!!).

Free trade has benefits that people like Senator Obama and Senator Clinton want to overlook since they are pandering to the Democratic Party's "base" at the general public's expense not just in pocketbook but also in national security terms.

Free trade is the oil that lubricates the world economy,


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