Robert Bryce has some exceptionally interesting and encouraging news in Slate:
- a curious transformation is occurring in Washington, D.C., a split of foreign policy and energy policy: Many of the leading neoconservatives who pushed hard for the Iraq war are going green. James Woolsey, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and staunch backer of the Iraq war, now drives a 58-miles-per-gallon Toyota Prius and has two more hybrid vehicles on order. Frank Gaffney, the president of the Center for Security Policy and another neocon who championed the war, has been speaking regularly in Washington about fuel efficiency and plant-based bio-fuels.
The alliance of hawks and environmentalists is new but not entirely surprising. The environmentalists are worried about global warming and air pollution. But Woolsey and Gaffney—both members of the Project for the New American Century, which began advocating military action against Saddam Hussein back in 1998—are going green for geopolitical reasons, not environmental ones. They seek to reduce the flow of American dollars to oil-rich Islamic theocracies, Saudi Arabia in particular. Petrodollars have made Saudi Arabia too rich a source of terrorist funding and Islamic radicals. Last month, Gaffney told a conference in Washington that America has become dependent on oil that is imported from countries that, “by and large, are hostile to us.” This fact, he said, makes reducing oil imports “a national security imperative.”
Neocons and greens first hitched up in the fall, when they jointly backed a proposal put forward by the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, a Washington-based think tank that tracks energy and security issues. (Woolsey is on the IAGS advisory board.) The IAGS plan proposes that the federal government invest $12 billion to: encourage auto makers to build more efficient cars and consumers to buy them; develop industrial facilities to produce plant-based fuels like ethanol; and promote fuel cells for commercial use. The IAGS plan is keen on “plug-in hybrid vehicles,” which use internal combustion engines in conjunction with electric motors that are powered by batteries charged by current from standard electric outlets.
….The Hudson Institute’s Meyrav Wurmser also signed the IAGS plan. In 1996, she was one of the authors—along with Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, of a famous strategy paper for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that called for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and military assaults against Lebanon and Syria. (Wurmser’s married to fellow neocon David Wurmser, an adviser to Dick Cheney, former AEI fellow, and enthusiast for the Iraq war.) Clifford May, the president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, endorsed the IAGS scheme, too. And the Committee on the Present Danger is about to join the Prius-and-ethanol crowd, as well. A driving force for America’s military buildup since the ’50s now reconstituted as an antiterror group, the CPD will issue a paper in the next few months endorsing many elements of the IAGS plan. CPD members include Midge Decter, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Newt Gingrich, and Steve Forbes, as well as Woolsey and Gaffney.
….If they can convince Congress and the White House to enact meaningful legislation on energy efficiency and conservation—issues that have been marginalized since the Carter administration—then perhaps the neocons will finally have a success story that they can brag about. Better still, it won’t require the services of the 82nd Airborne Division.
Every dime we can drain from the satrapies of the Middle East, the less they will have to perpetuate their autocracies, fund terror and its fomenters, and the less dependent we are upon them for energy the less circumspect we need be in offending their delicate sensibilities. The administration’s affinity with oil slugs and ticks is its greatest blind spot at home and abroad.
The future does not lie in oil and the sooner we offically acknowledge and act upon this, the better off we will be strategically, economically and environmentally. For a pro-environment defense hawk such as myself, that’s a pretty sweet trifecta.