And the talk goes on … and on

By: Patti Bankson

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or an expert in international politics to know that the way you spell “Middle East” today is: T-R-O-U-B-L-E! First, Tunisia’s president was ousted last month; then Tuesday, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak made a farewell speech, of sorts. Sounding familiarly like a politician, saying what he thinks the people want to hear, he said “I’m going”… but not until the elections in September… at which time he doesn’t really intend to be gone, gone… he’ll be staying to oversee the new government. Some demonstrators in Cairo’s main square, believing, I guess, that he’s really leaving, banged drums, danced, and handed out candy and dates… celebrating what they hope is coming in the future: a freely elected government, the chance to have a democracy and the rights therein, and to control their own futures. But, while those were celebrating, others objected to him staying at all; they want him gone now. Time will tell which group has true cause to celebrate. Perhaps neither one; Perhaps there’s yet another group standing in the shadows… waiting in the wings.

In the meantime, don’t sit back thinking that’s all a world away and has nothing to do with you. Remember that kind of thinking when, at some later date, you’re pumping some very expensive gas into your vehicle. At that time, if you’re tempted to lay it all at the feet of the Middle East, and other providers of oil to our country, remember that we have oil. For all the talk of the need not to be energy dependent on foreign countries, not much has been allowed to be done here to take us in that direction.

Although oil companies would be happy to build more refineries here, there have been no new ones built since 1976 because of “environmental impact” concerns. In other words, red tape, red tape, and more red tape. While there’s a huge uproar over whether we should drill for, and refine, our own oil, other countries are totally unconcerned, and totally going for the off-shore (black) gold. It seems they understand what our government doesn’t… there’s a growing demand for oil around the world, and it has to come from somewhere. Foreign leaders have figured out that it might as well come from them, and they’re not letting our Gulf Coast oil spill hamper their efforts in that direction.

With no change in their rules, Europe continues to drill offshore. China is investing in many oil ventures, including offshore drilling. It’s negotiating with Cuba for drilling rights near the Florida coast! We continue to support Mexico’s offshore drilling, and, best of all, the U.S. is lending Brazil $2 billion to explore off its coast.

A common argument against drilling here is that it would take at least 20 years to do any good. Apparently it hasn’t occurred to anyone that if we’d been doing something while discussing it all these decades, we’d probably “be there” by now. Instead, here we are, still discussing… and still dependent on foreign countries.

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© 2011 Patti Bankson

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