America’s New Oil Weapon

I’d missed the above titled article by Arthur L. Herman, but Pat Buchanan mentioned it the other day in his column, “The Oil Weapon in America’s Hands.” Here’s an excerpt from the Herman post:

On July 30, in Galveston, Texas, history was made, although few Americans noticed.

The oil tanker BW Zambesi docked at a terminal there and took on a load of 400,000 barrels of a kind of ultra-light crude oil known as condensate, then proceeded to the South Korean oil refiner Caltex.

The event marked the first time in nearly 40 years that the United States had sold its own crude oil. A ban on crude sales has been in place since 1975 (the Obama administration made a rare exception in this case, for this ultra-light oil). It’s a lasting legacy of what has become an outdated energy policy, and of the outdated foreign policy that went with it.

Clausewitz famously defined war as politics by other means. Today the other means of politics also include energy, and particularly oil. Thanks to our current booming domestic energy production, the United States at last has an oil weapon in the arsenal of “soft power” that it can use to advance both its own interests and the good of the world.

This is ironic, because over the past 40 years oil has been associated with harmful purposes. Leading oil-exporting countries such as Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Moammar Qaddafi’s Libya, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, and Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela have used their version of the oil weapon to prop up authoritarian and despotic regimes around the world, including their own. Some have used their dominance of the global oil market to finance terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah, and (in Qatar’s case) the Islamic State — while Russia’s burgeoning oil and gas revenues have underwritten Vladimir Putin’s military adventurism in Ukraine and Eastern Europe.

Read more: National Review