Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Obama Putting OPEC and Russia Ahead of America (Updated)

NPR is reporting that "President Obama has indefinitely blocked offshore drilling in areas of the Atlantic Ocean and in Arctic waters, a move aimed at advancing environmental protection during his final days in office." The article goes on to explain that "Obama took these actions by invoking a law called the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, which gives the president the authority to withdraw lands from oil and gas leases."

I had cited earlier today to a short article that reasoned that the uptick in prices due to the voluntary cuts in production by OPEC and Russia is mostly to the benefit of American frackers. Obama probably believes that by cutting American production by limits on deep sea drilling, he will help OPEC reach its price goals.

Obama is a globalist, or internationalist, if you will, who seems to have drunk deeply of Francis Fukuyama's bold assertion that we have reached the end of history, and that "the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government." Obama sees himself not as the President of the United States, but as President of the World.

The difference is put in stark contrast by Obama's reaction to the terrorist attack in Berlin. The Atlantic describes it thusly:
     ... The Obama administration identified the victims as members of a nation. Its five-sentence statement about the Berlin attack used the words “Germany” or “German” four times. And the White House linked the United States and Germany strategically, declaring that, “Germany is one of our closest partners and strongest allies.” 
     Team Obama’s response to the Ankara assassination was also state-centric. It offered its “condolences to the Russian people and Government” and declared, “we stand united with Russia and Turkey in our determination to confront terrorism in all of its forms.” 
     Russia and Turkey are not “partners” and “allies” of the United States in the way Germany is. Still, the Obama administration implied a world in which even nations with sharply different interests cooperate against their common foe: “terrorism in all its forms.” Taken together, the Berlin and Ankara statements gesture toward a liberal internationalist order of the kind the United States helped build after World War II: an inner circle of cooperation linking the United States and its closest NATO allies surrounded by a broader circle represented by universal bodies like the UN, in which countries band together across ideological and geopolitical lines to battle the transnational scourges that threaten them all.
Compare this with Trump who recognizes that the West is under attack by a hostile civilization:
Team Trump’s statement was utterly different. It described the victims as members not of a nation but of a religion. Its statement about the Berlin attack didn’t refer to the victims as Germans. (It didn’t mention the words “German” or “Germany” once.) Instead, it defined them as people killed “as they prepared to celebrate the Christmas holiday.” The Obama team’s statement made no assumptions about the victims’ faith: It simply noted that the attack had occurred at “a Christmas Market.” The Trump statement, by contrast, implied that the victims all celebrated Christmas. And it linked those killed in Berlin to other “Christians” who “ISIS and other Islamist terrorists continually slaughter … in their communities and places of worship as part of their global jihad.”
 In other words, Obama is stuck in the "end of history" (PDF) thinking, instead of the ongoing "clash of civilizations" (PDF) outlook needed to protect the United States and the West. Trump, on the other hand, recognizes the West as a distinct civilization and, according to his appearances, believes it is something worth preserving.

Update (12/21/2016): The Washington Post article on this subject states that "[n]either measure affects leases already held by oil and gas companies and drilling activity in state waters."

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