The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
US Energy Independence Won’t Bring Isolationism Back

No matter how huge America’s oil and gas bonanza is, we won’t be disengaging from the world any time soon. That’s the sage wisdom former WRM colleague Michael Levi imparts in a recent op-ed in the NYT:

Instability in the Middle East would still hit motorists in the Midwest, and the United States would still be called on to provide stability there or to intervene. And the United States would still need to think twice before escalating any regional conflict; for example, one with Iran, which would likely push oil prices significantly higher.

The great danger, though, about predictions of energy independence is that policy makers who act on unreasonable optimism about the nation’s energy future could do major damage.

Those people who think our growing freedom from imported oil will free us from the entanglements of world oil markets and the security responsibilities we face are mistaken. We will not be able to disengage from the Middle East or Asia, even if we are energy independent. America’s responsibility is to ensure oil flows from the Middle East to the entire world, not just to our shores, and this is what keeps the global economy running day in and day out.

Published on December 23, 2012 12:10 pm