By Jim Blackerby
What if I told you that there was a way to potentially end oppressive regimes in the Middle East? What if I told you that countries such as Iran, Syria and Libya would take an economic hit that would seriously hamper their ability to promote terrorism, build dangerous military capabilities and no longer give them an important weapon to use against other countries that they deem unfriendly? The way to do this is to simply stop buying oil and invest in alternative energy.
Just look at the percentage of governmental revenues that come from oil that these countries rely on. Iran, 70 percent; Syria, 25 percent; Libya, 75 percent. The same is true for virtually all other Middle Eastern countries with high reliance on revenue from oil. Guess what country consumes the most oil: the U.S.
We spend about $700 billion a year on oil from foreign countries. Imagine what Iran would look like with a 70 percent percent cut of funds. I doubt they would spend money on a nuclear program, a space program or any other potentially threatening program.
I wonder how many missiles Hezbollah in Lebanon could launch over the border into Israel. How would Iran fund covert terrorist operations to kill U.S. soldiers in Iraq? Even if we put a small dent in the amount of oil we buy it would still mean less money in evil regimes coffers.
If we want to reduce Iran’s presence on the world stage we do not have to send in troops or try to pass international sanctions on their economies, we simply need to stop buying oil. The government needs to start heavily funding research on alternative energy.
I think that any university in America would jump at the chance to receive a government grant to find alternative energy sources and potentially unlock the power of unlimited energy.
This is an issue that Republicans and Democrats can come together on as well. Democrats would embrace the idea because it could potentially do good for the environment and Republicans would like it because it invests in our national security.
Imagine a world in which the names Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Libya and Venezuela are no longer relevant on a world stage. How can the U.S. condemn the governments of the countries and then turn around and support their economies?
Some may argue that it would take a long time to get results from research. However one must consider the oil we could produce ourselves in the meantime. If we would eliminate restrictions on where and when we can drill, and how far off the coast, and focus on what would definitely be gained instead of what could be potentially lost in drilling we could produce more oil.
The U.S. has oil under the ground, and if it is there, why are we not using it? Why are we buying it from the Middle East if we could get it here and support companies and countries that are appreciative of us?
It is time the United States of America becomes self reliant. It is time the U.S. stops supporting oppressive regimes in the Middle East. It is time the U.S. showed the world that they do not support regimes that threaten world peace.
Some may argue that we cannot afford to spend money we do not have to fund research but the alternative is much worse. It is a means to an end.
Jim Blackerby is an international studies senior. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.