The Japan-America bond tightens

The north slope of Alaska is loaded with oil.  It's all over the place.  Look at this map.  There are dozens of oil fields on the north slope.  Prudhoe Bay is just the most famous.

Just to the east of these fields on Alaska's north slope is the small part of the misnamed Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that President Trump got Congress  to open to development.  Alaskans have been trying to do this for thirty-five years.  Trump got it done in his first year in office.

If there's not oil there in quantity, I'll eat my mukluks.  Leasing could begin as early as July.  The oil companies have been waiting for this for years.  They're ready to get on with it.  The north slope is a  tough place to do business, and this is going to take a while, but before too long, the Trans Alaska Pipeline will be filled with ANWR oil.

But don't we already have enough oil for energy independence?  What do we need all this new ANWR oil for?

The answer is ready-made, and it is the residue of pork-barrel political pressures.  The best way to transport north slope oil is by land.  It's much more environmentally friendly, and the route east, and down the McKenzie River valley, leads right to the American market.  That's where the pipeline should have gone.  But Alaska boomer Wally Hickel was secretary of the interior, and Alaskans wanted an all-Alaskan line – for the jobs and the money.  To hell with the environment.  Hickel didn't care about it.

So the line ends in Valdez, on Alaska's southern coast.  From this particular spot on the planet, only one oil destination in the world makes any economic sense: Japan.

That's where Prudhoe Bay oil should have gone, except for irrational political pressure.  Sometimes we had ships from Valdez going through the Panama Canal to deliver on the Gulf Coast!  They'd wave at the tankers from Venezuela going the opposite way, headed for Japan.   It was nuts.  We won't do that again.  ANWR oil will go to Japan, number one.  If there's some left over, maybe South Korea will be number two.  There could be one hell of a lot of oil in ANWR.  And it will flow for a very long time.

With secure American energy, Japan is more firmly than ever in our economic orbit.  Relations with Japan will become even closer.   As it turns out, our two cultures complement one another.  With Japan, and our Anglosphere allies, the American alliance will rule the waves, and thus the trade, of the world in this century.

This is what President Trump means when he talks of energy dominance.  Trump thinks geopolitically.  He wants Japan as our number-one ally in Pacific.  He knows that the Japanese need oil.  He learned of the oil in ANWR.  He put two and two together and got ANWR opened.

Trump is making things happen in this world, world-historical things.  Most Americans haven't got a clue to what he's up to.  But he's doing a masterful job. 

Fritz Pettyjohn was a state senator in Alaska.  He blogs at

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