Obama Touts Energy Independence

Obama touts progress towards U.S. energy independence. While a laudable and important goal, commentators have criticized the tendency to focus solely on energy independence.

"Since oil prices are set on world markets, we would not be immune from volatility elsewhere — unless the United States decided to wall itself off, an extreme measure that could inflict severe pain on the nation’s allies," Senior CFR Fellow Michael Levi noted in December.

The New York Times noted in November that: "Unfortunately, energy and foreign policy experts say, the United States would still need to worry about the Middle East since oil prices are set globally and much of the oil traded on world markets is produced by countries like Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran."

More effective would be Obama's subsequent suggestion that America moves away from oil energy entirely: "So tonight, I propose we use some of our oil and gas revenues to fund an Energy Security Trust that will drive new research and technology to shift our cars and trucks off oil for good."