- The Washington Times - Monday, August 31, 2009

ENERGY MIRAGE

A former Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States is urging Americans to stop pursuing the “mirage” of energy independence and quit blaming his country for every surge in oil prices.

Prince Turki al-Faisal, writing in Foreign Policy magazine, also implied that President Obama was guilty of “demagoguery” for denouncing the U.S. dependence on oil.

” ‘Energy independence’ has become a byword on the American political scene, and invoking it is now as essential as baby-kissing,” he wrote. “Expect a whole new round of such rhetoric when the global economic recovery begins and, with it, higher oil prices return.”

Prince Turki called the U.S. goal of energy independence “political posturing at its worst,” adding that it was a concept that was “unrealistic, misguided and ultimately harmful to energy-producing and consuming countries, alike.”

“It is often deployed as little more than code for arguing that the United States has a dangerous reliance on my country, Saudi Arabia, which gets blamed for everything from global terrorism to high gasoline prices,” he wrote.

Prince Turki noted that Mr. Obama, in one of his first speeches as president, complained that U.S. money spent on foreign oil “bankrolls dictators, pays for nuclear proliferation and funds both sides of our struggle against terrorism.”

“The allure of demagoguery is strong, but politicians must muster the courage to scrap the fable of energy independence once and for all,” Prince Turki said.

“If they continue to lead their people toward the mirage of independence and forsake the oasis of interdependence and cooperation, only disaster will result.”

Prince Turki noted that Saudi Arabia, with about 25 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves, is the largest oil exporter, while the United States is the world’s largest oil importer.

“There is no technology on the horizon that can completely replace oil as the fuel for the United States’ massive manufacturing, transportation and military needs. Any future, no matter how wishful, will include a mix of renewable and nonrenewable fuels,” he said.

ODD CHOICE

Canada’s conservative prime minister has tapped the leftist premier of Manitoba as the next ambassador to the United States.

Stephen Harper on Friday announced the appointment of Gary Doer, the longest-serving provincial leader in Canada, to succeed Ambassador Michael Wilson, a former Conservative Party finance minister.

“You’ve always been a strong advocate of both good and assertive relations with the United States,” Mr. Harper said of Mr. Doer at a news conference.

Mr. Doer, a member of the New Democratic Party first elected premier in 1999, responded, “I was extremely impressed that he did reach across party lines.”

Mr. Wilson has been ambassador in Washington since 2006.

DIPLOMATIC TRAFFIC

Foreign visitors in Washington this week:

Monday

Steffen Hertog, the professor of Kuwaiti studies at Sciences Po university in Paris. He addresses the Middle East Institute on booms and busts in the oil industry of the Gulf Cooperation Council. On Tuesday, he addresses the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Tuesday

Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations. He addresses the Heritage Foundation on the nuclear threat from Iran.

Gilbert Maoundonodji of the Association for the Promotion of Fundamental Liberties in Chad. He joins a panel discussion on the political crisis in Chad at the United States Institute of Peace.

Gulnur Aybet of Britain’s University of Kent at Canterbury. He discusses Turkey’s energy politics in a forum at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@ washingtontimes.com.

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