f_0018772_16054 - Energy Security: For a Stronger Foreign...

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Spring 2010 The Ambassadors REVIEW 33 Energy Security: For a Stronger Foreign Policy and a Safer Nation Robbie Diamond Founder and President, Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) eading up to World War II, Japan and Germany were well aware that their ships, tanks and planes were completely dependent on oil. The Fischer- Tropsch process—invented in Germany some years earlier—allowed the Germans to produce 72,000 barrels a day of synthetic fuel from coal by 1940. However, the synthetic fuels were not enough and the principal goal of the march into the Soviet Union was the rich oilfields of Baku on the Caspian Sea. As the German war machine drove toward the Caucasus, however, it faced steadily more dire fuel shortages. Hitler insisted on pushing forward, saying to Field Marshal Erich von Manstein that “unless we get the Baku oil, the war is lost.” Despite desperate efforts to transport oil by camel, the Germans retreated before reaching Baku in 1943, abandoning the Sixth Army with insufficient fuel to escape slaughter at Stalingrad. Japan faced a similar fate, relying almost entirely on vulnerable shipping lanes for its oil supplies. United States submarines sank oil tankers faster than they could be built. After carefully calculating the oil that would be saved, Japan directed kamikaze attacks on American aircraft carriers during the critical battle for the Philippines—the suicide planes were not only more efficient destruction devices than fighters and bombers, but they did not need fuel for the return trip. What is clear is that American war planners understood the power of superior energy supplies, and focused on cutting off enemy supply lines while exploiting their own plentiful sources of fuel. Today, however, it is we who are dangerously dependent on a vulnerable oil supply, and there can be little doubt that those who wish us harm keenly understand that vulnerability. Each day, Americans consume approximately 20 million barrels of oil—nearly one-fourth of the world total. In 2008, the United States imported 60 percent of the crude oil and refined product it consumed at a cost of more than $380 billion—56 percent of the total US trade deficit. It would be ideal if there was a free market solution to these economic threats. But there is no free market for oil. Far from it: 90 percent of global oil and gas reserves are held by national oil companies that are either fully or partially controlled by foreign governments whose interests often have as much or more to do with geopolitical considerations than free market principles. Oil dependence constrains American foreign policy and burdens our military.
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f_0018772_16054 - Energy Security: For a Stronger Foreign...

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