Hillary's Hypocrisy Tour Of India
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton put India's oil-buying from Iran at the top of her agenda this week, but probably didn't bring much moral suasion to the table. Yes, the world needs to cut off the mullahs'
cash stream from its huge oil earnings to halt its nuclear program.
But the burden of who gives up their supplier isn't spread evenly.
It's all very easy for the world's preeminent superpower to tell India, whose rapidly growing economy requires that it import 70% of its oil, to just quit buying Iranian oil, which is what Clinton is doing, warning India that if it doesn't, it faces harsh sanctions.
India does buy quite a bit of Iranian oil - some 550,000 barrels a day or 9% of its imports. But if you're going to do that, you need to offer India a decent alternative.
That's precisely what the Clinton State Department isn't doing.
Instead of getting the U.S. out of the Middle Eastern oil market to free up supply for India and other erstwhile Iranian oil buyers, the U.S. has stepped up its purchases of Saudi oil, which is the one logical alternative supplier for India - whose ports are only 10 to 12 days away by tanker from Jeddah. This year, the U.S. has made Saudi Arabia its number two supplier of imported oil in an astounding 38% increase in buying.
That leaves India high and dry because there is only so much supply out there. Already the Saudis seem strained in productive capacity, promising to raise their oil output last March to 12 million barrels a day from 9 million - they managed to produce just 10 million. But for the U.S. to be scarfing up oil that was only produced for the express purpose of undercutting Iran's market pretty well undercuts the purpose.
The U.S, is swimming in oil of its own and has a lot more alternatives for energy than India. The Obama administration can approve the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada which is projected to end our dependence on other foreign suppliers by a factor of 40%. Or it can allow U.S. oil companies get drilling in American waters, ending the offshore oil moratorium. It could even use its powers of suasion to get Mexico to privatize its inefficient and declining-production state oil company Pemex. And if it really wanted to get bold, it could exploit the turmoil in Venezuela to secure long-lasting Venezuelan oil supplies, which even OPEC now believes has the world's largest reserves.
Does it do that? Not at all. All Clinton is doing is harping on India to quit buying Iranian oil and then undercutting its very means of making that happen. Is this a competent foreign policy?