Energy Policy Shows Fallacy of 'Domestic' Debate

Article excerpt

The presidential debate Wednesday night is an opportunity for the candidates to discuss, exclusively, "domestic policy." But that very division of "domestic" and "foreign" policy has always been forced. For all the talk about the meaning of these forums, the reason debates can be so phony is because we've bought into the false notion that certain issues turn on and others turn off at our borders.

It isn't possible to discuss the budget without debating, for instance, the Pentagon's bloat. That, in turn, requires a conversation about both our military adventures abroad, and jobs at shipyards and factories at home. Education affects our children, but also our nation's strength. And immigration policy reflects the security of our borders, but also our economic competitiveness and capacity to lure global leaders here.

But nowhere is the divide between domestic and foreign so artificial than with energy policy. It is in this arena that the debates over domestic fracking, environmental harms, dependency on foreign oil, geopolitical threats, global warming, melting glaciers and a host of other head-scratching policy problems come together -- proving that the distinction, in Wednesday's debate, between domestic and foreign policy is about as definitive as sand on the shoreline.

In the Arctic, Shell Oil has just announced that it missed its window to begin a first-of-its-kind drilling operation off the coast of Alaska. After many delays, Shell recognized that the ice was coming back for the winter, and has packed up all but a few pieces of equipment until 2013. …


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