THE BLOG
10/26/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Candidates Will Have To Consider Balancing Commitment To Israel With Energy Needs

Should the United States compromise its "most-favored" relations with the State of Israel in order to shore up the economy and acquire more Islamic produced oil (energy)?

Since the short term US economy cannot recover without a less expensive and more secure source of energy, is catering to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC,) an Islamic controlled organization, an imperative? For the United States, with its Judeo-Christian ethics, the answer is: No! But it is a decision that only a President can make. Even though sometimes-empirical solutions are attractive and expedient, principals, commitments, and morality, should take precedence.

The most visible problem is that no one except for OPEC can turn the spigot on overnight, and offer the United States a relief of its present day oil crunch. New off shore drilling, refineries, and nuclear power plants, as well as improved shale oil production and sun and wind energy are all good long-term improvements of the energy crises, but none offer short-tern reprieve.

In his speech at the United Nations and then on the Larry King show, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a major force within OPEC, made it Clear that as things stand with Zionism (Israel,) OPEC would not likely offer to ease the oil crunch that Western nations are now suffering. Ahmadinejad did leave a little wiggle room, very little, yet enough to suggest that the United States may be able to communicate with him providing it is willing to compromise its position vis-à-vis Zionism.

The desperate state of the United States economy that requires immediate remedies softens the stance of even the staunchest ideologues when it comes to compromising. A number of ex-Secretaries of state, for example, suggested that even speaking with rogue nations might be a prudent foreign policy option.

One other aspect of the economic problems of the United States has to do with the financial industry. A $700B, or a similar bailout package, does not deal with the cost of energy. The bailout would not keep oil prices from rising. At $200.00 per barrel, for example, not many airlines, trucking, or other shipping companies could survive, and the damage to the economy will likely be irreparable. Without dealing with the energy supply, dumping money into financial institutions would prove a futile effort.

The two major party candidates for the office of United States President are advocating "change." Barack Obama's motto, change we believe in, is consistent with recent words by Senator McCain who also advocates the way Washington operates. Recent statements and action by both candidates offered clear demonstration that their advocacy for change goes beyond just words.

Two examples of how the candidates seem ready for compromise are in order. McCain selection of a Vice Presidential candidate, who is clearly not sympathetic to the Jewish cause, may be a signal from his camp. Obama's reversal of the position that he stated to the Israel American Foreign Affairs Committee regarding Jerusalem was an unquestionable demonstration that at best he did not realize that he was dealing with deep Jewish sensitivities, at worse that he did not care.

Changes the candidates made regarding their Israeli positions leaves a crack for Islamic elements who would like to see Zionism, and Israel either disappear, or at least minimized, to hope that they may be able to negotiate with the United States and reduce Israel's importance to the Western allies.

Since the need for OPEC oil is so severe, what would an American Presidential candidate have to do in order to acquire that oil? A President would have to ensure a dependable and uninterrupted supply until new energy resources are developed.

It is not likely that a new United States Administration would go as far as Ahmadinejad wishes; removing Israel from the map is not a likely scenario. But, even Ahmadinejad may be open for compromise. For example, would he accept an offer to have the United States complete his nuclear power plant in return for recognition for Israel's right to exist? If he does, would the United States use its leverage to force Israel to go back to the indefensible pre-1967 borders?

One can hope that the issue of oil versus Israel's interests will receive the attention it deserves prior to the November election. It would be in the best interest of the nation to have Obama and McCain discuss the issue at their first Presidential debate, a debate about foreign policy.

The question in front of the candidates may be: Does your obligation to take care of the country's economic health take priority over past commitments, and policies, especially as they relate to the State of Israel? Since reducing United States commitment to Israel may be a prerequisite to getting OPEC oil, the most promising short-term to mending the US economy, should the United States compromise and reduce some of its obligation to Israel?

A new President of the United States would be put in the unenviable position of deciding how important is if the economic well being of the country, and if it should have priority over historical commitments, obligations, and alliances.


This week OffTheBus is publishing a variety of stories that cover the policy differences between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama. If you have a policy expertise and would like to participate, please see Calling All Policy Gurus.