Bush’s Energy Policy: Begging for More Oil

President Bush was in Saudi Arabia yesterday to pursue the linchpin of his Administration's energy policy: He asked the Saudis to produce more oil. Roughly translated, the Saudis said, "No. We will do it only if it's in our interest, not yours."

As Hillary Clinton noted in last night's Democratic debate, Bush has been reduced to pathetically begging the Saudis to sell us more oil at nearly $100 per barrel. The image is even uglier when one realizes that some portion of that record price may consist of risk premia caused by the Administration's own war mongering, including pumping up an obviously ambiguous naval incident with Iran, another of the world's largest oil producers.

At the same time, Secretary Rice showed up in Baghdad, ostensibly to take credit for the Iraqi Parliament's approval of a law that, according to some Iraqis, does not go far enough in undoing the damage Jerry Bremer, Bush's hand picked proconsul, caused in banning Baathists from the Iraqi government. Instead of reconciling, the Iraqis are now arguing whether the new law includes or excludes more Sunnis from government.

But acknowledging such truths in not Rice's trade, and the law probably wasn't her main focus anyway. More likely, Rice was in Baghdad to press al Maliki's government to get Parliament to pass the oil law, which the Administration hopes will give US oil firms privileged access to develop Iraq's oil resources.

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