Has the run up in the price of oil and gasoline caused Americans to become isolationists?
It seems like any the topic of oil and gasoline prices or alternative fuels come up, the statement “we need to become less dependent on foreign oil" isn't too far behind. Is this just a passing fad or is this the beginning of the new isolationism?
First off - let's take a step back and explain what exactly “isolationism" is and when America has practiced it before.
Essentially, isolationism can occur both in a country's foreign policy as well as its economy. Foreign policy isolationism occurs when a country attempts to remove itself from world affairs; economic isolationism occurs when a country restricts trade with other nations through high tariffs and restrictive quotas.
After World War I, America went through a prolonged period of isolationism, when it attempted everything possible to avoid getting dragged into Europe's tumultuous affairs. America was able to enforce the isolationism through both foreign policy (boycotting the League of Nations) and economic policy (high tariffs). Many historians blame these policies as significant contributing factors to the Great Depression.
So, that leads us to where we currently are regarding foreign oil, which predominantly resides in two places: Russia and the Middle East - neither of which are particularly friendly with the United States.
Considering two “non-allies" have the ability to bring the American economy and way of life to a grinding halt, the notion that we need to quickly discover or create alternative fuels strictly as a means of trying to help save the environment is relatively naive.
It seems to me, the most pressing issue with finding an easily renewable fuel source is so that we are able to remove ourselves from the world issues regarding oil (exploration, consumption, etc. ) and put ourselves in a situation where we are completely energy self-sufficient thanks to resources within our own borders.
Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not against this. I would like to live in a country that didn't need to have to export billions and billions of dollars so I can fill up my car in the morning. I just wish that American government officials would just come out and say that the primary goal of finding a renewable alternative fuel is to protect our interests as a country - not just to protect the environment.
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