RUSH: Let's go to the phones. Eddie in Monroe, New York, you're next on the EIB Network, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. Thanks for taking my call. I love your show.
RUSH: Yes, sir.
CALLER: (garbled) I had a... I tell you, it's easier to get in touch with President Bush than it is you. One comment I wanted to make. I think -- What do you think on OPEC not putting out enough oil because of our support behind Israel and our military backing behind Israel?
RUSH: Okay, I'm really having trouble hearing the phones today so I'm having to read the transcription of what you said. You're asking me what do I think about OPEC not putting out enough oil because of our support for Israel?
RUSH: So you think they're punishing us by keeping oil in the ground?
CALLER: Maybe. Maybe just a little bit, yeah. Not -- not -- not -- not -- not delivering it to the United States, not maybe keeping (unintelligible).
RUSH: I'm not going to close the door on any possibility, because last week I was talking with some people who... No, I wasn't talking with people! It was a Heritage Foundation report. That was Sundays in the New York Post. Damn it, I print that out and it didn't show up here! I knew I was looking for something I couldn't find. It was a great, great column by a Heritage Foundation person named Cohen who laid out the exact reasons why this is happening. The Saudis want us out of Iraq. They want us out of the Middle East. They are our biggest enemies, is this paper's theory. I'm going to go find that. Hang on just a minute. I'm glad you reminded me of that. Don't go away, folks.
RUSH: All right, here's Ariel Cohen, and this was published Sunday in the New York Post on the op-ed page. "Ariel Cohen, Ph.D., is Senior Research Fellow in International Energy Security at The Heritage Foundation and the author of The Real World, a weekly column published in The Middle East Times." It begins this way: "As you go deeper into debt filling up your tank with $4 gas this weekend, look on the bright side -- you're helping to fund countries that hate you. From Russia to Iran to Venezuela, America's adversaries are splurging on oil windfalls, while programs directed against Uncle Sam and his allies are funded by petroleum revenues. Big bucks are allowing the oil sultans and dictators to intimidate US allies, buy politicians and academics, and purchase election outcomes. Oil prices are going up partly because of supply and speculation -- but also because these countries can decide to punish the US or limit our influence, particularly when they disagree with policies toward Iraq and Israel.
"Part of the reason they can do this is that governments of the Oil Producing and Exporting Countries (OPEC) cartel, and the non-cartel producers like Russia, make sure that international oil companies do not own reserves in the ground. Exxon, for instance, spent only 4 percent of its exploration budget in the Middle East last year -- local governments do not allow Western companies to take control of their own destiny. Thus, the global oil production is at the mercy of opaque and corrupt national oil companies, while the governments that own them enjoy skyrocketing oil prices and the growing, mind-boggling wealth." The ironic thing about all this is that Americans in this country, thanks to the liberal Democrats and the Obama campaign, have been told for decades to hate US oil companies. They're the big bogeyman. "The revenues of the major oil producing countries have quadrupled in three years. Since 9/11, oil prices have more than quintupled. This year Europe and the US will spend approximately $2 trillion on imported oil, while the world will spend close to $3 trillion.
"This money recycles back to the US and the West, often in the most legitimate ways. Sovereign Investment Funds have acquired large chunks of America's financial flagships: Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Blackstone and the Carlyle Group. A foreign government acquiring a serious stake in US corporate gems can influence US policies in the Middle East and elsewhere. The oil sheikhs can 'tweak' attitudes towards extremism and terrorism, and buy access to politicians through lobbying and campaign contributions. In the future, these funds may acquire defense and technology flagships: Boeing, General Electric, Lockheed Martin and others, or go after primary media assets, from CNN to FOX. However, oil revenues may be used in much more sinister ways. Money can buy nuclear weapons programs, ballistic missile arsenals, and other arms. It can also pay for terrorist armies. Today's attempt to overthrow the pro-American government in Lebanon is bankrolled by Iran.
"Hezbollah is a wholly-owned Iranian subsidiary. Its chief has the official title of the 'representative of Iran's Supreme Leader' in Lebanon. Iran paid for the 27,000 rockets Hezbollah has aimed at Israel. Iran also buys Hamas weapons and popularity in Gaza. In a recent children's TV broadcast by Hamas' Al Aqsa TV, a 'Hamasnik' boy is shown assassinating President George W. Bush in the Oval Office and declaring that the White House will be turned into a mosque. Money may not buy you love, but it sure pays for propaganda. Al Jazeera, the Qatari Arabic and English language TV is a propaganda arm with global reach. Viciously anti-American, it talks to tens of millions of Arabic speaking Muslims worldwide, as well as audiences in Pakistan, India, London and Detroit. Saudi Arabia, the cradle of ... Wahhabism, is financing hundreds of religious seminaries (madrassahs), educating generations of US-hating and anti-Semitic Muslim extremists from Michigan to Manila.
"Some of them will pick up arms to fight the US and its allies in Iraq and Afghanistan. Wahhabis deny other religions the right to exist in dignity, as a recent religious ruling (fatwa) in Saudi Arabia demonstrated. Two journalists who argued for tolerance were sentenced to death. In the US a majority of mosques partake of Saudi and Gulf largesse. The Saudis often provide religious leaders (imams), textbooks and curricula, to Muslim communities and schools. There is little to no control as far as the content of the teachings or schoolbooks, but a Freedom House study found that these are anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, anti-American and anti-Israel. Despite trips by President George Bush and Vice President Cheney, Saudi Arabia refuses to increase output -- and why would they? They can use it as leverage to get their way, particularly in Israel. Riyyadh also employs an army of lobbyists and other 'influencers' in Washington, London, Brussels and elsewhere around the world. These shadow mercenaries promote a benign image for the Kingdom" of Saudi Arabia.
"They appear on TV, write newspaper and journal articles, direct university programs on Islamic or Middle Eastern studies. Saudi princes have poured tens of millions into prestigious universities, from Georgetown and Harvard to Cambridge and Edinburgh. Former senior government officials and ambassadors are on the royal payroll influencing their colleagues in the diplomatic service. This is how the Saudi 'peace plan' calling for undermining Israel through a massive influx of Palestinian 'refugees' received US support at the highest levels. This is how the Carter Center in Atlanta ended up taking millions in Gulf oil money. This is why Jimmy Carter looks like he's shilling for the Iranian-Saudi client, Hamas. If all this were not enough, Hugo Chavez ... is spending billions in dollar oil subsidies to assemble an empire of dependencies in Latin America. According to evidence on a laptop taken from a dead guerilla leader in the neighboring Ecuador, Chavez supports the FARC narco-guerillas who are attempting to overthrow the democratically elected government of President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia," who's also on the Democrat Party's enemies list.
"Chavez, an ally of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, provides cheap oil and loans to Daniel Ortega and his wife, the Sandinista rulers of Nicaragua. Chavez also supports leftist leaders and forces in Cuba, Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. Their intent is to deny the US influence and allies in South America, and ease the way for an Iranian-Hezbollah penetration of the Southern Cone" of South America. "Russian leaders, more anti-American today than ever, have written the book on using money and energy muscle to buy friends and influence neighbors. They made an example out of Ukraine, by cutting gas supply to it on New Year's Day for four days. They also intimidated France and Germany into bucking the US at the Bucharest NATO summit and objecting to Georgia and Ukraine being issued a [NATO] membership plan. Russia's Gazprom has hired former German Chancellor Gerhardt [sic] Schroeder as the Chairman of a pipeline consortium, and made a similar offer to former Italian Prime Minister and the top Eurocrat Romano Prodi. Vladimir Putin does brisk energy business with Silvio Berlusconi, and with the French President Nicolas Sarcozy [sic], though both are considered pro-American.
"German businessmen enthusiastically lobby Chancellor Angela Merkel on the Kremlin's behalf. Russia, some argue, has more clout today in Europe than Washington. Finally, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, and even US friend Kuwait are dumping the [dollar] in favor of the Euro in energy transactions. ... To stave it off and to combat its oil-rich adversaries, the US needs, in the short term, to expand its domestic energy sector. Increasing oil and gas production in the West, along the Pacific and Atlantic continental shelf, and in Alaska will help, and so will a coal and nuclear power build-up. The US Congress should also abolish corn ethanol subsidy and lift tariffs on the really competitive ethanol made from sugar cane. Brazil and Africa can produce more ethanol than Iowa and Nebraska. However, in the long term, more advanced technological solutions are vital to stem the global wealth redistribution to OPEC potentates and other America-haters. World powers have risen and fallen over major economic factors. This should never be the case of our nation. The oil potentates should know that the US will not be intimidated -- or bankrupted out of existence."
Ariel Cohen, Ph.D., is Senior Research Fellow in International Energy Security at The Heritage Foundation. I spent the time to lead with this because we had a caller asking about the whole notion here of whether or not OPEC was keeping a lid on oil supply to punish us for supporting Israel and so forth. I think the essential analysis of this is -- and the basic analysis is -- that we are a great country at grave risk in a dangerous world; and there are people, countries, despots, tyrants, thugs, who would love to cut us down to size; and they don't have to do it militarily. They can do it by making us dependent on what they have that we don't have. Uh, making us dependent on what they have and we also have, but that we won't produce! They have to be happy as they can be when they look at the presidential race in the United States of America and say, "We don't have to give money to either side, 'cause whoever wins, America's energy policy is going to only benefit us: the people who are trying to cut America down to size."
Because it seems to them -- OPEC, Chavez, the Saudis, whoever you want to mention; Putin, the Russians -- they can look at our presidential campaign and they can see that whoever wins, America is going to become more and more and more dependent on foreign oil. In fact if these presidential candidates get their way, the US is going to actually punish itself without any help from abroad, by inflicting tremendous tax increases and regulations on American businesses that produce energy and thereby destroying the ability to create wealth on the part of American investors, corporations, and citizens. So if you are the enemy of the United States, and you're trying to punish us for whatever reason -- you don't like our policy with Israel, you don't like us being in Iraq, you don't like the fact that we kicked your butt in the Cold War and the Berlin Wall came down; whatever reason you hate us -- you gotta be smiling big today, because you're watching your greatest enemy and threat destroy itself.