Just last month, an “unknown” entity bombed two Japanese oil tankers traveling towards the Strait of Hormuz in international waters. Evidence from subsequent investigations, as well as Iranian political motivations, strongly point towards the possibility of Iranian involvement. And just a week ago, Iran claimed a “violation of international regulations.” In turn, it seized a British-flagged oil tanker as well as a Liberian oil tanker registered under a British company. Considering that oil tankers ship a whopping 20% of the global oil demand through the Strait of Hormuz, it’s not looking good. This leads us to ask: are foreign oil imports, especially those from the Middle East, worth the trouble?
Former US Navy Officer Believes It’s Not Worth It
We needed an answer, so we talked to a former US Navy non-commissioned officer exclusively for The Rising. He was the perfect source, having been deployed to the Strait of Hormuz on the USS Dextrous. For the purpose of maintaining his safety, we’ve omitted his name.
Long story short, he says it’s not worth the trouble.
He evaluated the situation and consequently believed there was Iranian involvement. He first noted that the bombing was “definitely offensive mining.” So, it is absolutely clear that the bombings were carried out deliberately. Further, he noted that Iran was: “very sensitive about other nations going in or out of their waters, whether on accident or on purpose.”
Being the most likely known entity to use deliberate force, Iran is the likely perpetrator behind the bombings.
Additionally, he sees a connection between the bombings and Iran’s intentions. In his words, the bombings were aimed to “increase the insurance premiums on the oil tankers and cargo ships [operating] in that region, and that price would ultimately trickle down to consumers here in America.” And while Iran denies involvement in the bombings, he believes that “they were trying to do in this instance was to send a tacit message to the US letting us know that they’re unhappy with us.” That is, of course, without openly admitting an attack on a civilian vessel.
We Cannot Ignore Iranian Involvement in Oil Importation
Even more damningly, Washington released video footage of an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGCN) speedboat, moving up to remove an unexploded mine, closely from the side of a cargo ship. He reasoned that “by removing the device, you’re getting rid of the evidence of the attempted attack.”
Consequently, the Iranian government’s claim of innocence in the context of the video evidence doesn’t do it any favors. It is starting to look like that Iran is willing to deliberately cause civilian casualties in pursuit of its interests.
Iran’s seizure of two British owned oil tankers last week further corroborates its willingness to use deliberate aggression. Iran has officially implied that last week’s seizure of the tankers was in retaliation against the recent British seizure of an Iranian oil tanker. The tanker, carrying oil destined for Syria, was in violation of multinational sanctions on war criminal Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
So what does Iran’s involvement in these incidents tell us? Simply speaking, they show that we are dealing with an entity that will go for broke in protecting its geopolitical interests. We cannot underestimate the potency of a state that plants bombs on civilian vessels and hijacks commercial vessels.
Oil Imports Enable Dangerous Behavior from Iran
At the same time, the United States’ importation of Middle Eastern oil enables Iran to continue its dangerous behavior in many ways. Most significantly, our reliance on Middle Eastern oil hurts the efficacy of Western sanctions against Iranian military aggression. The importance of the sanctions is undeniable: Iran enacted them to stem Iranian ballistic missile development, support terrorist groups, and fuel rogue governments like Hezbollah and Syrian Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
It is extremely concerning to see how vulnerable these sanctions are to Iranian military action. And given Iran’s strong resistance to the sanctions’ demands, it is highly likely that Iran would counter the sanctions with an obstruction of the Strait of Hormuz.
Could Domestically-Sourced Fossil Fuels Prevent Turmoil?
This leads us to consider potential fallback measures. As American dependence on foreign oil decreases, a shift towards domestic oil makes for a seemingly clever solution. But is it practical, and most importantly, would it work? Not according to a report compiled by the US Congressional Budget Office. According to the report, during the 2008 recession, Canadian oil prices spiked drastically, mirroring the global trend of oil prices. The market change helped Canada big time, despite it exporting twice as much oil as it imports.
What can we learn from this example? This example proves that “oil independence” is an extremely insufficient means of buffering out the effects of global market change. Even with complete independence from foreign oil, a spike in oil prices abroad would raise prices domestically.
In other words, domestically-sourced oil will not (entirely) protect us from turmoil caused by Iran.
We Need to Move Away From Fossil Fuels and Oil Imports
It is beyond doubt that our Middle Eastern oil supply line is too fragile to rely on in the long term. And for that matter, in the long term, we should pivot away from fossil fuel. But we’re a ways away from accomplishing that. By principle, we must strive to absolutely minimize foreign influence on something as vital as the national energy supply. We must pivot away from fossil fuel reliance.
What are our possible replacements? Remaining possibilities include renewable energy sources like wind and solar power, or more immediately, nuclear energy. And what’s the commonality between these alternatives? They’re all far more environmentally friendlier than fossil fuels. Turns out renewable energy sources are not only environmentally sustainable but also sustainable for the future economic well being of the United States and the rest of the free world.