In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 14, 2008 / 11 Tamuz 5768

‘Alternatives’ to Logic Won't Work

By Jonathan Tobin

Printer Friendly Version

Email this article

Conflicting impulses complicate push for energy independence and less foreign oil

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | American politicians are not dumb. They know that most people don't like paying $60 to fill up a gas tank that could have been topped off for about $15 a decade ago. With the cost of gas at the pump over $4 and heading north, they know that Americans want somebody to blame for all of this.

And so, in recent weeks, we have been treated to congressional hearings in which the ever-unpopular oil-company executives, and the more obscure but equally villainous "oil speculators," were pilloried.

Having pontificated at the expense of these supposed malefactors, Congress then adjourned for the Fourth of July holiday without doing anything other than demonstrating the shaky hold many of its members have of the basic principles of economics.

Yet for all of the bloviating that was — and will be — done about the cost of oil, this is actually an issue that could use more, and not less, discussion. That is especially true considering that we are in the middle of an election year in which the discussion of the war in Iraq, the threat from Iran, as well as the current economic slowdown will dominate the discussion.

The point is, no matter what the candidates say about the war, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's nuclear ambitions or even the price of food, unless you know what they will or won't do to reduce America's reliance on foreign oil sources, you're throwing your vote away.

That is especially true for an American Jewish community that ought to be treating this topic as a truer litmus test of the presidential contenders than rhetoric about Israel, or pandering to our fears about the separation of church and state.

To their credit, energy independence is something that national Jewish groups have paid attention to in recent years. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the American Jewish Committee and the American Jewish Congress have all spoken out consistently in favor of measures to promote this cause.

But this year, the stakes involved are even higher. And nothing demonstrates the complex nexus between energy and international security than the question of what to do about Iran.

Tehran's determination to move ahead with its nuclear program is a threat the West ignores at its own peril. That's not only because Iran remains committed to destroying Israel. Letting Ahmadinejad and his mullah masters go nuclear raises the specter of another Holocaust.

Iran is also the No. 1 state sponsor of terror, and their proxies/allies in Lebanon (Hezbollah) and Gaza (Hamas) have the ability to keep the region inflamed. An Iranian nuclear umbrella for these criminals would be a direct threat to Europe, as well as every country in the Middle East.

In addition to the appeasement reflex that drives the reluctance of many to take direct action to stop this from happening, the increasing dependence of the West on Middle Eastern oil potentially gives Iran the ability to squeeze the supply and raise prices even higher.

Indeed, with speculation growing that Israel may attempt to spike the Iranian nuclear program itself, pressure may be placed on the Jewish state to forebear from pre-emptive action, lest our economy be sent into a tailspin by Iranian economic retaliation that could cripple production and supply of petroleum.

Iran isn't the only reason why energy independence is important. The enormous financial power of Saudi Arabia — a supposedly "moderate" American ally — is no less dangerous. The Saudis have already spawned terrorists like those of Al Qaeda. Just as troubling is their massive funding campaign of Islamist mosques and educational institutions around the globe, as well as their infiltration of U.S. college campuses via donations that create institutes that support their distorted view of the world.

In Europe, rising oil prices have funded the revival of Russian authoritarianism by former President Vladimir Putin and his hand-picked successor.

In the Western hemisphere, oil bankrolls Venezuela's rogue leader Hugo Chávez, whose support for narco-terrorists like the Columbian FARC (some of whose hostages were rescued last week) and alliances with Islamists is potentially just as dangerous.

In short, Western addiction to foreign oil is, along with Islamism, the chief long-term threat to American security. So why hasn't this issue provoked more than an occasional sound byte?

The answer isn't just the oil companies, though they are far from blameless since they have sought to undermine the very notion of energy independence. Ironically, one of the primary obstacles to tangible progress is an issue that ought to go hand in hand with support for alternatives to foreign energy: environmentalism. Going "green" ought to promote energy independence. But the same environmentalist frame of reference that impels Americans to want to do that also have undermined support for measures that could loosen the hold of the oil oligarchs on our economy and foreign policy.

Though finding more oil on American territory does not provide a long-term solution to the oil problem, drilling in the vast untapped areas off America's shores, as well as in the tiny part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that could be set aside for exploration, is a sensible way of increasing supply. But it won't happen because of overheated rhetoric that exaggerates the dangers to wildlife.

Similarly, nuclear power, which is an energy resource that is being used safely and effectively elsewhere in the West, is virtually dead in the United States because of the "Three Mile Island" accident and subsequent hysteria. The high cost of building nuclear plants may be a greater negative than anything else, but this is another example of the lack of clear thinking about an underutilized technology.

Increased support for the development of other technologies, like electric cars, and the use of solar and wind power is vital. Unfortunately, the only alternative that has gotten real help is ethanol, a costly boondoggle that has been a bonanza for farmers while increasing food costs and doing little for independence.

For too long, talk about energy independence has been mired in empty recommendations about lowering thermostats in the winter and using less air-conditioning in the summer, reminiscent of the sweater-wearing Jimmy Carter's "malaise" speech during a previous oil crisis. In the same way, the Luddite sensibilities of extreme environmentalists who seem drawn to the dangerous notion that our economy must regress in order to purify the planet are also no solution. What we need isn't less energy, but energy that doesn't fund terrorism.

What America requires this year are direct answers from the candidates to the questions of how to increase the supply of oil and fund realistic alternatives. But in order to get that, we must resolve some of the inherent contradictions in our thinking about energy. Until we do, all we'll get is more of the sort of empty grandstanding that our politicians perform all too well.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here.

Jonathan Tobin Archives

© 2007, Jonathan Tobin