Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Grandiose Myth of the Energy Superpower

This is a follow-on to an earlier post "Are We Captives to Our Own Oil?"

We keep hearing about Canada's great future as an "energy superpower." What is that beyond a grandiose myth?

This myth is clearly grounded in the Athabasca Tar Sands and driven by America's growing dependence on the bitumen to deliver a massive supply of SUV juice to the American market. Already Cheney and others are talking about a fivefold increase in tar sands production in the very near future.

Will this make us an energy superpower or an energy supercolony? We're going to do exactly what with all this newfound superpower clout? Are we going to use it to dominate, influence and direct Washington? Where else can we use it except where our filthy, ersatz oil is going to wind up?

Washington doesn't yield power that way. I'm sure those folks see the power balance between our two countries as just about right now and for the future, regardless of their oil dependence. If anything, I expect American leaders are looking for changes in our political relationship that will bolster their interests in Canada and our strategic assets. In that quest I think we're far more valuable to Washington as an energy supercolony than an energy superpower.

Deep economic integration? Of course. It's the deal that Harper is focused on and the cards he has to play are Canada's strategic assets and not just bitumen oil either. Water is the future oil and anyone who doubts that needs to drive from Georgia to California.

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