Call it a nightmare that passes for good news. Recently, the
New York Times optimistically headlined a front-page piece by reporters Coral Davenport and Steven Erlanger, “U.S. Hopes Boom in Natural Gas Can Curb Putin.” It offered an eerie overview of where the administration of the president who came into office committed to reversing global warming has ended up. If there’s “green” left in his presidency, it’s evidently the green of envy — that’s what some of his advisors believe countries like Russia will feel on learning that, with our new frackable energy wealth, we are going to be “Saudi America” in a decade or two. Then, the implication is, Washington will
really be able to throw its weight around geopolitically.
Times piece began, “The crisis in Crimea is heralding the rise of a new era of American energy diplomacy as the Obama administration tries to deploy the vast new supply of natural gas in the United States as a weapon to undercut the influence of the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, over Ukraine and Europe.” Admittedly, given the lack of facilities for exporting those new reserves of natural gas, this isn’t going to happen any time soon. Still, filled with hair-raising quotes — “‘In World War II, we were the arsenal of democracy,’ said Robert McNally, who was the senior director for international energy issues on the National Security Council during the Bush administration. ‘I think we’re going to become the arsenal of energy'” — it describes an approach that’s been caught with eerie accuracy by Michael Klare under the label “petro-machismo” in a piece at the Nation magazine.
According to the
Times, in 2011 Hillary Clinton, while secretary of state, set up an 85-person bureau to channel “the domestic energy boom into a geopolitical tool to advance American interests around the world.” In a sentence that goes right to the heart of the matter in the sixth year of Barack Obama’s presidency, the
Times article pointed out that “the administration’s strategy has attracted unlikely allies, including major oil and gas producers like ExxonMobil and Republican leaders on Capitol Hill…” Amusingly, in the online version, that ill-chosen phrase “unlikely allies” has been expunged and the sentence rewritten (without any indication of a change or correction) — since, in the Green Revolution president’s new version of energy geopolitics, ExxonMobil and its big energy compatriots are now clearly “likely” allies.