The very notion that Donald Trump is actually being perceived by some as a serious contender in the 2012 presidential race is surreal enough -- but when he starts elaborating on what his actual policies would look like, we venture into the realm of full-blown absurdity. For instance, in a recent interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Trump conveyed what a primary plank of his energy policy would be: Stealing Iraq's oil fields -- by force, mind you -- and siphoning the black gold straight back the US. Yes, Trump evidently believes that since the United States 'invested' some $1.5 trillion in the Iraq war, we are entitled to "the spoils" and may extract it from the sovereign nation. And this man wants to run the country. These statements are so mind-blowingly ridiculous (not to mention repulsive), that I think I'll let the segment in the interview speak for itself. (via ABC)
Trump: George, let me explain something to you. We go into Iraq. We have spent thus far, $1.5 trillion. We could have rebuilt half of the United States. $1.5 trillion. And we're going to then leave. So, in the old days, you know when you had a war, to the victor belong the spoils. You go in. You win the war and you take it.This man is actually in the lead in some polls of GOP primary hopefuls, despite breathtaking displays of a complete lack of understanding about governance or foreign policy. And the idea at the core of this particular statement -- that Iraq somehow owes the United States huge sums of cash and oil because the Bush Administration chose to invade it -- is so morally repugnant I'd rather not comment further. The fact that he thinks we have the right to take it by force makes the whole mess even more repellent.
Stephanopoulos: It would take hundreds of thousands of troops to secure the oil fields.
Trump: Excuse me. No, it wouldn't at all.
Stephanopoulos: So, we steal an oil field?
Trump: Excuse me. You're not stealing. Excuse me. You're not stealing anything. You're taking- we're reimbursing ourselves- at least, at a minimum, and I say more. We're taking back $1.5 trillion to reimburse ourselves.
As preposterous as all this is, there's an unfortunate lesson to be extracted from Trump's rant: that there are far more silver-tongued politicians in the establishment who share this basic attitude. Granted, they're rarely this extreme or bizarrely justified. But the notion that we can get the oil we need to run our economy by force is hardly a new one. No one has been as brazen to iterate as much in public, but we now have definite proof that securing oil reserves was indeed at the forefront of the United States' pre-invasion planning. And few are blind to the immense role that oil production plays in geopolitical affairs, or the fact that nations' energy policies are often dictated by men who don't think too differently from Trump -- they just know better than to blab about it on national television.
It should serve to further demonstrate the pernicious impact oil dependence has on global affairs -- and why we still desperately need a leader with a forward-looking vision for energy.
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