America's Energy ChallengeIssue: Fall 2004
Whoever wins the presidential election this fall must immediately address America's dependence on the Middle East for such a large percentage of the nation's energy needs.
At present, the United States is outsourcing its energy policy to Saudi Arabia. The Bush Administration (like a number of its predecessors) expects Saudi Arabia to act as a swing producer to ensure that oil is available in quantities sufficient to keep the U.S. economy moving at the pace Washington wants. But it is unreasonable to expect the world's largest exporter of oil consistently to define its interests in harmony with those of the world's largest importer. If the Saudis can sell their oil at a high price and hang on to the leverage that comes with being the only nation in the world with enough current reserves to move the world market price, that is what they will do. In fact, that is what they are doing.