What About John (McCain)?

John McCain Official SC
At a time when most of the American public is veering towards isolationism, not wanting to get involved in any more distant wars, Senator John McCain wears his neoconservative values like his Medal of Honor. Does the 2008 Presidential candidate still have a place in Washington?
John McCain doesn’t like the Tea Party, which may seem ironic seeing as he introduced the world to one of the movement’s pioneers, Sarah Palin. Indeed, one of the Republican Party’s most prominent junior senators, Ted Cruz of Texas, has stated, “I would not be in the U.S. Senate today if it were not for Sarah Palin.” Now, however, Ted Cruz is one of several vocal Republicans that McCain has referred to as “wacko birds” and, while McCain still refrains from criticizing his former Alaskan running mate, the two often find their views on what the future of America should look like diametrically opposed.
On Syria, McCain seemed to be one of the few Republicans who wholeheartedly supported the rebels, despite the fact that a very large number of those fighting Bashar al-Assad were fundamentalist Muslims not so different from Al-Qaeda–a group McCain pledged to pursue to the “gates of hell” in 2007. In a surprising September 2013 interview on Fox News, McCain defended a video of Syrian rebels shouting “Allahu Akbar”, claiming that the battle cry, which literally means ‘God is great’ or ‘God is the greatest’, was the same as Christians saying “Thank God!” On the other hand, Sarah Palin, in response to the Syria conflict, wrote a Facebook post entitled “let Allah sort it out”.
Indeed, unlike John McCain, most conservatives today are not too keen on seeing America embroiled in the politics of some far-flung world region. McCain’s most recent appearance in Ukraine, which has been subject to mass protests since Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych refused to sign an agreement with the European Union, shows the senator’s apparent Cold War mentality. In the occupied main square of Kiev, the country’s capital, McCain took a public jab at Russia, stating “the destiny you seek lies in Europe” (in other words, in the West and not with Russia.) He even warned those listening that the U.S. could take “concrete action” against Yanukovych’s government if any efforts were made to take back the public space and buildings that protestors have been occupying for weeks.
Well-worn East vs. West remarks such as these are not only out of line with geopolitical realities (Ukraine is a country that is very attached to both Western Europe and Russia), but is also out of line with the kind of foreign policy that most Americans want. The U.S. is currently directly engaged in two wars that cost billions of dollars our country does not have. Most conservatives would probably prefer that the U.S. concentrate on creating jobs rather than using money borrowed from the Chinese to maintain futile campaigns in the Middle East. According to a 2011 Gallup Poll, the three most important issues to Republican voters are the economy, the federal budget deficit, and unemployment in that order.
In a recent New York Times Magazine article on McCain, the war veteran admits to questioning whether he is too old for the Senate, and whether he is out of line with the dominant currents among today’s conservative voters. There is no doubt that John McCain is still a leader in the Republican Party, though perhaps not the ‘maverick’ he once billed himself as. The real question is, as McCain declares war on Tea Party Republicans like Ted Cruz, who is likely to win?

The Road To Freedom Is Paved With Shale

 The Road to Freedom is Paved with Shale

Despite continuing opposition by liberal environmental groups, the case for shale gas grows stronger every day. From jump-starting the economy to liberating Washington from dependence on foreign powers, the shale revolution is fueling freedom around the globe.

Independence is the “one word that best characterizes this Nation and its essential nature”, declared then-President Richard Nixon during his 1973 national address. From the rugged self-sufficiency of our founding pioneers to the values of modern day Americans, few would disagree with these words from Nixon. The freedom to move forward in the direction of our choosing, to promote the values that we deem important, is what our country was founded upon and what many of our fellow citizens from the Left to the Right of the political spectrum hold dear. This independence, Nixon continued, comes at a cost, though; it takes “great sacrifices of blood and also of treasure.” For the last century, the great irreplaceable treasure has been fuel.

“Our independence will depend on maintaining and achieving self-sufficiency in energy,” Nixon concluded in his 1973 speech. Dependence on foreign energy is like being in debt. As long as we continue to bend over backwards to secure energy contracts with other countries, we will never truly be free as a country to fully pursue our own ends. Now, however, it seems we are closer than ever to achieving what Nixon heralded back in the 70s. One monumental scientific breakthrough, how to combine horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, has launched a new revolution in American energy, one that even has us set to surpass Saudi Arabia in fuel exports by 2020.

Liberal opposition to the shale revolution, however, is predictably standing in the way of American greatness once again, with environmental concerns seemingly set on keeping us in servitude to foreign powers. Fortunately, the case for shale gas is overwhelming, both as a motor of economic growth and the key to political liberation around the world.

The energy to ignite the American economy

There is no magic cure-all solution to the calamitous financial situation that we have found ourselves in after 5 years of ‘hope and change’, but the exploitation of American shale gas comes pretty close. In an age when the United States has been steadily losing manual jobs to China and other countries, shale gas will jumpstart American manufacturing to levels not seen in years.

As international energy specialist Philip Verleger argues, the fact that the US has perfected shale gas extraction techniques and boasts a competitive market that is not dominated by one giant player means that the new energy revolution will start here in the states. Competition ensures the low energy prices that bring investment in industry and job creation. Companies such as Michelin and Shell are already taking advantage of the low natural gas prices and building new plants in the US.

A free foreign policy

More than simply spurring economic growth, shale gas allows the United States to cease its dependence on questionable allies such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, states with poor human rights records and little respect for American values of freedom and democracy. Outside the United States as well, shale gas is proving itself to be a tool of political liberation. In Eastern Europe, where President Vladimir Putin is able to push around ex-Soviet states such as Belarus and Ukraine through their dependence on Russian gas, the discovery of shale gas is being touted as the key to their independence.

Though Belarus has already fallen to Mother Russia and joined a Kremlin-led ‘customs union’ that many are referring to as a ‘new USSR’, Ukraine is rapidly exploiting their shale gas deposits in an effort to shake off Russia’s hold. Indeed, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych hopes that energy independence will grant his country the freedom to choose its own future, to join the European Union and the Western World rather than remain under Putin’s thumb.

It seems that independence, that quintessential American value, has found in shale gas a powerful vehicle. Through the judicial exploitation of this incredible resource, the United States and countries around the world can reclaim the freedom to choose their own future.