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Addicted to Oil: Strategic Implications of American Oil Policy

Authored by Commander Thomas D. Kraemer. | May 2006

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In his 2006 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush proclaimed that "America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world." He announced it was time for the United States to "move beyond a petroleum-based economy and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past." He set a goal "to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025." This conjures up the grand image of President John F. Kennedy's declaration to send a man to the moon by the end of the decade—it is not such a mission. Only 18 percent of oil imports are projected to come from the Middle East in 2025. The Bush goal in reality only results in a decrease of American oil consumption by 14 percent overall. Oil is a fungible, globally traded commodity with rising demand, so this initiative will have minimal impact on influencing America's national interests in the Middle East. However, most rehabilitation programs follow a 12-step process. The Bush plan is Step one in weaning America from its addiction, and is a necessary, but not fully sufficient, step to ensuring our future national security through Middle East Oil independence.