Britain Should Snub Obama's Re-Election Ploy
British Prime Minister David Cameron should refuse President Barack Obama's request in the latter's latest desperate push for re-election. Back in March, when Obama and Cameron last met, the president floated the idea of a coordinated release of oil reserves in an effort to drive down prices at the pump. This would possibly involve the Americans releasing some 700 million barrels of crude oil, and Britain reducing the amount of oil they currently demand oil companies hold in reserve, which would have the same effect on the private sector as releasing oil stocks.
Cameron, who had clearly been wooed over the week he was in the States, agreed to take the idea back to the motherland and mull it over. In a recent op-ed, he indicated that the idea was still a very serious possibility.
On the face of it, Obama's idea seems to have merit. Anyone who owns a vehicle knows that gas prices are bleeding wallets all over America, and some relief on their rise would be greatly appreciated by most. An onlooker may nod in approval at the president's seemingly compassionate move to ease the burden on middle-class families and hope that Cameron agrees to the request of Britain's ally.
Yet a closer analysis makes it clear that this is little more than a cynical vote-grabber by the president, and one that Britain must emphatically refuse.
It is no coincidence that Obama's decision to "do something" about oil prices -- which have risen dramatically since President Bush left office -- comes with mere months to go until the increasingly tight 2012 elections. Gas prices are no small factor in American elections, and a president who goes into the election with high gas prices is one at a high risk of losing the White House.
If Britain does agree to the proposed action, then the price decrease will realistically (taking a few months to take effect) begin to drop around September/October, allowing the president to claim that he has lowered oil prices and that if the people stick with him, then prices will keep going down.
This would be dishonest, as a release of reserves would have only a short-term dipping effect upon oil prices, but by the time the dip finished and prices began to rise again, Obama would be re-elected for his second term. The timing would be perfect -- not too soon, not too late.
Yet even if one ignores the cynical timing of this move, Obama's request should still be refused by the American ally. Oil prices are high not due to merely bad timing, or to other international events (although these always play a part). Oil prices are particularly high in America directly because of the Obama's administrations anti-oil, anti-business radical green agenda.
The president has fought against the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline from Canada to Texas, has imposed a five-year moratorium on a majority of offshore oil-drilling areas, and has approved attacks on attempts to drill in Alaska. These are just three examples of this administration's attitude regarding the price of oil in America, which is at best neglectful and at worst a deliberate move to raise prices in order to force green forms of energy down the throats of the American people.
The United States and Britain both depend on adequate stocks of stored oil to survive any potential disruption of the world oil markets by, for instance, any Iranian move to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which passes a substantial share of the world's oil supply. Even if President Obama is inclined to sacrifice his country's preparedness in the interest of his re-election, that is no reason for the United Kingdom to let its guard down, just as war in the Middle East may well be brewing.
This being the case, it is not only hypocritical, but in fact offensive to Britons that, having done everything possible to raise prices, the president now looks for Britain to shoulder the burden of his anti-oil policies in time for the election.
The prime minister should make it absolutely clear that there will be no assistance until America begins to exercise sensible oil policies.
David Cameron should also be reminded that this is one of the most anti-British presidents in American history -- a president who has attacked Britain at every opportunity, even to the point of supporting Britain's enemies in the continued battle against Argentina for sovereignty of the Falkland Islands. A U.K. prime minister should not be seeking to help a man who is no friend of Britain to be re-elected to the White House.
It is in the interests of the United Kingdom to see Obama booted out of office in favor of Mitt Romney this year. However, even if this were not the case, David Cameron should reject outright the possibility that Great Britain is prepared to release oil reserves and be made a pawn in the Democratic re-election campaign. Barack Obama has made his bed by snubbing the U.K. and rejecting pro-business policies. Prime Minister David Cameron must now make sure that Obama lies in it.
Adam Shaw is an English-born freelance writer currently living in New York City. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.