North American energy independence would have dramatic effects on the American economy and foreign policy, according to retired Marine Maj. Gen. Anthony Jackson.
Jackson recently retired after 36 years of service, most recently as commander of Marine Installations West, which includes all Marine Corps bases in the western United States.
He spoke with me in a phone interview this week, sharing his perspective of how America's dependence on foreign oil has affected war and
While serving as a desk officer in the Pentagon in 1990, Jackson answered the phone when the United States was notified of Saddam Hussein's
“The phone rang, and the gentleman on the other end of the line was screaming. He said, ‘The Iraqis are here,'” Jackson said. “Since that day on Aug. 2, 1990, we have been in conflict in the Middle East.”
While oil is only one of many reasons why the United States is involved in two wars half a world away, Jackson said the fuel has a dramatic effect on how the country handles those conflicts.
“We would look at it differently if the Western nations were not so reliant on fossil fuels,” Jackson said. “It would allow us to take a more balanced look at our foreign policy.”
Jackson said the country likely still would be heavily involved in the Middle East, but the
“The negotiation table would help us solve more problems in the Middle East than our conflict because we wouldn't have something vital to the American and Western economies that we are trying to defend,” he said. “It would significantly reshape our foreign policy with respect to the Middle East.”
The military has been especially focused on renewable energy since 2001 when America's military action increased in the Middle East in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.