“‘Canadian oil’ offers little to nothing for average Americans.” — TheStar.com’s summation of President Barack Obama’s statement last Friday
The House approved legislation for the Keystone XL Pipeline Friday. And although the Senate voted it down on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised that Keystone will be “an early item on the agenda in the next Congress.” But even if both houses in Congress ultimately pass the legislation, President Obama has indicated that he will veto the pipeline.
Obama spoke on the subject last Friday: “Understand what this project is: It is providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the Gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else. It doesn’t have an impact on U.S. gas prices.”
Interesting in that Obama said “their” oil pumped through “our” land. He made it sound like an oil invasion by a Canadian vanguard. Yet Obama is leaving out a few things.
The U.S. and Canada already have pipelines measuring tens of thousands of miles that date back decades and crisscross the continent. Those pipelines have allowed Canada to be the No. 1 petroleum supplier to the United States, delivering 3 million barrels of crude per day, or three times more oil than the U.S imports from Saudi Arabia. Canadian pipelines have made petroleum more affordable, safer and easier to transport to American industry and consumers.
It would seem Obama skipped economics 101. There they teach that oil is a global commodity. More oil sloshing around the world — any part of the world — means cheaper gasoline for American drivers.
Obama’s rejection of Keystone is especially puzzling when you consider that Canada is a democratic country that for seven decades has been safely engineering and operating pipelines.
The world’s strongest alliance
The last shot fired in anger between Canada and the United States was 200 years ago. America’s second-largest source of crude comes from Saudi Arabia, which provided most of the money and men responsible for 9/11. And it was Saudi Arabia that launched two oil embargoes against the United States and Canada in the 1970s.
Saudi oil does not provide many jobs for Americans, whereas the Keystone XL Pipeline, if it ever gets past the president, will provide thousands of good-paying jobs added to the tens of thousands of jobs that Americans already have in the Canadian oil patch.
Then there are these facts:
- The U.S. and Canada have peacefully shared a 4,000-mile border.
- And in every major war over the past century, soldiers from both sides have fought and died side by side.
- Canada sheltered Americas during the Iran hostage crisis.
- And weeks ago, Canada committed fighter jets to help the United States attack Islamic State (ISIS) strongholds.
- Finally, Canada and America are the world’s two largest trading partners. In the past 25 years, the two-way trade in goods and services between the countries has risen 300 percent. Canada is far and away the single largest buyer of American goods, with Canadian purchases totaling more than $300 million per year — more than the combined purchases of China, Japan, Germany and the U.K. An estimated 9 million U.S jobs depend on trade and investment with Canada.
It boils down to this: If the American homeland were attacked, Canadians would die by the tens of thousands to defend it. The flip side is that Saudis may help finance the invasion.
Obama gets an ‘F’ when it comes to foreign relations
For all his Ivy League education, Obama never seemed to learn the Latin phrase “quid pro quo.” It means a favor for a favor. But Obama doesn’t do favors, not in politics or diplomacy. It was not surprising then that The Wall Street Journal wrote this about Obama and his opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline last Friday:
Sometimes we wonder if President Obama has even the vaguest idea how a private economy works. The latest reason to doubt came Friday in Burma, where Mr. Obama was asked at a press conference about the Keystone XL pipeline, which has been waiting for approval for the length of his Presidency. The pipeline would allow oil to flow from Canada all the way to the Gulf Coast.
In off-the-cuff remarks, Mr. Obama managed to insult our great northern neighbors while suggesting that the project would be no help to U.S. workers or consumers.
The president has said he will approve the Keystone XL pipeline only if it proves to be in the strategic interest of the United States. The president seems to forget strategic interests change, sometimes in a heartbeat.
Canadian oil from the Keystone XL pipeline would create several thousands of jobs and would provide much needed crude for U.S. refineries.
In the event of an energy crisis, Keystone crude would be diverted to American consumers. Such a crisis could result from another Arab oil embargo, another Middle Eastern war or the implosion of Iraq or, worse, Saudi Arabia. Under those circumstances, the Keystone XL pipeline would act as a safety net that is all the more compelling because of ISIS.
In September, Claude Salhani of Oilprice.com wrote “ISIS’s Ultimate Goal: Saudi Arabia’s Oil Wells,” in which he said:
For the terrorist group known as the Islamic State, Syria and Iraq were a good place to start their campaign, but in order to survive and prosper it knew from the outset that it had no choice but to set its sights on the ultimate prize: the oil fields of Saudi Arabia.
Obama must understand that ISIS is not rolling up olive groves and goat herds; it is paying its army with captured petroleum. The really big game is Saudi Arabia’s elephant oil fields.
ISIS knows that if it controls Saudi oil, it can dictate the price of crude oil around the world. As a bonus, ISIS would be the curator of two of the most holy shrines of Islam, Mecca and Medina. Such a presence would win tens of thousands of jihadists to their radical cause.
It is too bad Obama doesn’t better explain his opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline. If one didn’t know better, one might think that Obama is purposefully reckless with regard to energy and national security.
Yours in good times and bad,