The message is sinking in: Fiorina gets it

Last September Jim Woolsey and Anne Korin wrote:

A determined pack has begun to race its engines and to try to shoulder us off the road toward energy independence. It’s time for those determined to stay on the track to drive aggressively. The energy-independence question is really about oil — the rest of U.S. energy use presents important issues, but not the danger of our being subject to the control of nations that “do not particularly like us,” as the president put it. Some of the engine racers have an economic interest in keeping our transportation system 97-percent oil-dependent. Less understandable are the authors of a recent Council on Foreign Relations report accusing those working for such independence of “doing the nation a disservice.”

The authors of that report and their followers define “independence,” contrary to both Webster’s and common sense, as essentially “autarky” — i.e. complete self-sufficiency, or not importing oil even though we remain dependent on it. Such a Pickwickian definition captures none of the thinking of serious advocates of reducing our oil dependence: The point of independence is not to be an economic hermit, but rather to be a free actor.

It is true that some who promote oil independence spice their remarks by implying that we might substitute oil from domestic sources or from our near neighbors for cheap Middle Eastern imports, and somehow manage to insulate ourselves from the world oil market.

But speechwriters’ tropes shouldn’t be taken as serious policy proposals. Geology will not cooperate in any such fantasy. There is no reasonable way that we can leave oil in place as the near-exclusive fuel for the world’s transportation systems and simultaneously wall ourselves off from the world oil market. If we want to end dependence on the whims of OPEC’s despots, the substantial instabilities of the Middle East, and the indignity of paying for both sides in the War on Terror, we must define oil “independence” sensibly — as doing whatever is necessary to avoid oil’s being the instrument of despotic leverage and foreign chaos.

Yesterday former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, explained independence does not mean autarky::

[McCain advisor Fiorina said] the plan to become strategically independent from foreign oil does not mean completely cutting off oil supplies from the Middle East.
“That is an unrealistic goal to say we will not get oil from the Middle East,” Fiorina said. “But what it does say is that if a regime in the Middle East is hostage to our interests or the pricing of a regime in the Middle East is hostile to our economy, then we have other sources of energy that we can choose to say ‘No thanks. We’re not going to play.’

Freedom means choice.

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