US Oil Is Key Weapon against Iran

President Donald Trump's restrained response to Iran's attack on Saudi Arabia shows that the U.S. is in a much stronger strategic position in reference to the Middle East than it has been in decades past.

This is largely thanks to America's emerging energy independence, the very thing Democrats promise to demolish at the first opportunity. 

In this complex geopolitical situation, where you have a radical Shia regime attacking a radical Wahhabi Sunni state, there are no easy answers.

Showing that radicalism is not confined to the Middle East, the Democrats left all politics at the water cooler to unite in the face of the crisis by coolly chanting, "Impeach, impeach, impeach!"  Perhaps they are so divorced from reality that they don't realize they are emboldening Iran by projecting disunity and weakness from America.

That said, it is challenging to name two countries that have done more damage to the United States and global security in recent years than Iran and Saudi Arabia.  It brings to mind the quote by Henry Kissinger about the Iran-Iraq war that "it's a pity both sides can't lose." 

Because we no longer are dependent on Middle East oil, we have more options in responding to this international crisis, to include showing strategic patience.

It is not in our interest to allow Iran to restrict the world's oil supply or to see the Saudi government fall.  Any radical Islamist government that replaced the House of Saud would be worse than the corrupt and decadent pseudo-religious leadership of that country and far more hostile to the West.

But it is debatable as to which country, Iran or Saudi Arabia, has actually done more to harm U.S. national security. 

The Shia theocrats of Iran have a more apocalyptic worldview based on their belief in the coming of the 12th Imam and have also been very effective at using proxy groups to carry out attacks.  Allowing an apocalyptic regime that is so practiced at using proxies like Hezb'allah to secure a nuclear weapon is unfathomable.

Saudi Arabia, while smiling at the U.S. and Western powers, has quietly radicalized much of the Sunni Islamic world by using its oil wealth to plant radical Salafist madrassas across the globe, including in the U.S.

The Saudi regime has played a double game, deflecting extremist rage away from the regime and toward the Western world. 

The single best national security move the U.S. made to limit the damage of both of these regimes was to dramatically increase its own oil production, significantly reducing the global price of oil and limiting the magnitude of mischief emanating from these countries.

Even apart from the tremendous damage it would do to the U.S. economy, any discussion of ending fracking or cutting U.S. oil production should begin and end with discussion on how it damages national security.  The shale revolution has been one of the greatest weapons conceived to reduce these nations' power and influence.

Many American military lives would be sacrificed on the altar of climate insanity should we follow Democrats down such a destructive path as to shatter U.S. energy independence, since an increase in wars would be the inevitable result. 

The U.S. neared energy independence at the end of 2018, when it became a net exporter of oil for the first time.  This was revolutionary in impact, completely altering the state of global play since the U.S. had been a significant net oil importer since the Truman Administration.  Countries that rely heavily on an oil-based economy, like Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Russia, were significantly weakened by this change in the state of play since the U.S. was no longer driving demand. 

While it varies by month, the U.S. is right on the edge of achieving complete energy independence and status as a net oil exporter.  Since oil is a global commodity, this does not insulate the U.S. from price shocks.  An attack like the one on Saudi Arabia will result in a rise in prices at the pump.  But it puts America in a much better position to withstand disruptions in the global supply.  It ensures that the U.S. does not have to rush to the aid of Saudi Arabia on a moment's notice. 

This is why Tulsi Gabbard's recent tweet accusing President Trump of making our country "Saudi Arabia's b----" while serving Saudi masters was such a tone-deaf and stupid accusation.  While she is clearly just trying to stay relevant in the Democrat race to the bottom, it is the Democrat candidates who are promising to do everything in their power to demolish the U.S. energy supply, which would flood Saudi Arabia with cash that would enable it to do more global mischief. 

Elizabeth Warren was so enamored of the idea of destroying U.S. energy independence that she promised to do it on day one.  What she is really promising is to elevate Middle Eastern states that are hostile to Western ideals into global positions of power and great influence. 

America's energy independence has given President Trump tremendous leverage and the ability to be patient.  If we were still reliant on Middle East oil, we would already be bracing for a regional war, and our forces would be flowing into the region.  We would have no choice since oil is the lifeblood of the U.S. economy.

Our energy independence also changes the calculus for potential allies in Europe and Asia.  These countries are much more dependent on Middle East oil, meaning they are much more likely to contribute to any coalition to protect that oil supply.  They don't have the luxury to sit back and wait for the U.S. to respond if they are not sure the U.S. will respond. 

Even a 1024/1024 climate cultist like Elizabeth Warren would not be able to allow America's oil pipeline to be shut off.  If you can't produce energy and hostile powers are denying access, war is the only viable option, meaning that American lives would be sacrificed.  Wind and sun energy will not be able to pick up the slack any time soon, if ever.  Warren would have no choice but to race to Saudi Arabia's aid. 

The Iranian regime is not acting out of a position of strength.  The maximum pressure campaign is crippling it, and its position is not sustainable.  Inflation in Iran is above 40 percent, and the regime is running out of money.  The mullahs are desperate to provoke some type of confrontation in the hopes of getting more favorable terms.  With every day that passes, their position further erodes.

Regimes like Iran's theocracy rarely disappear quietly into the dustbin of history.  More, and probably worse, attacks are coming, particularly when they see the actions of the disloyal opposition in America.  The Iranian regime must be getting increasingly frustrated that its members have not achieved their goal yet, which is to prod the U.S. back to the negotiating table and to ensure favorable terms.

President Trump is using this time to gather allies and prepare for the storm.  The Iranian regime is likely to miscalculate, meaning that the U.S. may eventually have no choice but to accept Iran's invitation to the dance.  But, for the moment, thanks to America's energy independence, President Trump has managed this crisis perfectly.

Fletch Daniels blogs at and can be found on Twitter at @fletchdaniels.

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