Keystone, Yes — Syria, No

Sep 2, 2013
Keystone, Yes — Syria, No

Few things illustrate why the Obama Administration is in increasing trouble more than the contrast between its hostility toward the Keystone XL Pipeline and its drift toward an ineffective and probably self-defeating attack on Syria.

Watching all the evolving crises in the Middle East, Americans understand why a strategy of American energy independence would make sense. It would create American jobs in a weak economy. It would grow government revenues without raising taxes. And it would increase American independence from the violent mess that is the Middle East.

The Keystone XL Pipeline would both drive down the cost of oil and gas and guarantee that Canadian energy flows to the United States instead of to China. In fact, getting the pipeline approved is one of the top foreign policy goals of the Canadian government, one of our most consistent allies.

Despite overwhelming support from the American people, 62 votes for the pipeline in the Senate, and the appeals of the Canadian government, the Obama Administration has bowed to pressure from environmental extremists who oppose the project, including one billionaire who has promised a massive anti-Obama campaign if the pipeline is approved.

The result looks like it will be one more delay of the five-year-old proposal. Kicking the Keystone decision into next year is a risk-avoidance strategy by an intimidated administration. Like all of the previous postponements, it will satisfy neither side and accomplish nothing.

The Syrian decision promises to be even more destructive than the Keystone indecision.

The Obama Administration has already announced that any bombing campaign in retaliation for the alleged use by the Syrian regime of chemical weapons will be short and limited. The Obama team has already promised that the campaign would not try to overthrow the Assad dictatorship.

A limited “symbolic” attack against a hardened dictatorship is an absurdity.

The Assad government has an endurance strategy of outlasting its enemies. It is backed by Russia and Iran. They will replace anything the Americans destroy.

Russia is deeply opposed to an American bombing campaign. This will further widen the gap between the two countries.

When the Syrian attacks are over, the American military will have spent a billion dollars or more, including hundreds of millions on munitions alone. That is money the Pentagon does not have given the budget crunch. Exactly how would President Obama propose to replace the weapons he would use so pointlessly?

The Congress should pass a law allowing the Keystone pipeline and blocking any attack on Syria. That would be a major step toward putting America back on a rational, reasonable strategic direction.

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