I was recently watching a discussion about Libya. The two men, I don’t remember who, were having an articulate talk about the US being involved, and if it was in the American Interest. One of the men asked “how can it be in American Interest?” The other guy replied “Oil” and the first guy answered ” We don’t even get use their light oil.” The second guy replied that it was simple.. Now that the oil fields are not pumping the countries that got it from the Libyans are now getting it from the same people we are, and that drive up the price.”
Think of two gas stations, with in a block of each other. You don’t buy from the A station, though you like the B station. Suddenly, on day, the station gets taken over by upset employees. The owner shuts down, and threatens to destroy, the pumps. No one can get gas from the A station, so the go down the road to the B station, who suddenly sees an increase in demand, so, unsure about how much of it he can supply, he raises the price. Your price for gas goes up. Would it be in YOUR interest try to get the A station open again, so that those people could go back, and maybe your price for gas might just go back to normal…?
I would think so, and just as it would be in YOUR interest to get the A station reopened, it is in the US interest to get the Libyan pumps producing again.
I could see why President Obama might take a little time to figure this out. He has been criticized in the past for putting his foot in his mouth, and this is a complicated question. He decided not to go the route that President Bush II did and tried to get a mix of nations to take part, more like he did with Afghanistan, or Bush I did with the first Gulf War. That path has benefits, the groups involvled will have a hard time saying they did not agree, as well as drawback, like we have to do what the other nations agree to do. In this way it is the same as Bush I, in that the countries who went in with us only agreed to getting Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, and not out of power.
Some people would like to see us bring our forces home, and just guard the US. This would be a return to Isolationism, which we had done prior to WWI and WWII. It was, most likely, this idea that lead the Jappanese to believe they could attack American interest in the Pacific and cripple our fleet, and maybe we would sue for peace. That would turn out to have been a mistake on their part, was we went on the offensive. In more recent times Saddam Hussein got the idea, when we helped him protect his shipping from the Iranians, that if he went into Kuwait we would do nothing, and he was wrong.
At this point in time we depend on oil. Domestic would be nice, though you have to balance that off with oil spills. What would be really nice would be to not have to worry about oil as much as we do, and see if they Middle East can come up with something else to keep out interest…