King George must be feeling somewhat chagrined these days. He has literally had his way trampling on civil rights and liberties with little repurcussions from the Democrats. But half a world away, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has handed him a big smack-down with its refusal to increase oil production. Rather than take any responsibility for our country’s tremendous appetite for oil and energy, Bush has decided that the blame should be placed on OPEC.
Bush chastised OPEC for helping to push the United States’ economy into a slowdown by stating “I think it’s a mistake to have your biggest customers’ economies slowing down as a result of higher energy prices.” OPEC was having none of that talk. OPEC President Chakib Khelil told reporters that the global market is being affected by what he called “the mismanagement of the U.S. economy,” and that the United States’ problems were a key factor in the cartel’s decision to hold off on any action.
The members of OPEC must be laughing all the way to the bank. Despite decades of warnings that we should be working toward energy dependence, one administration after another has failed to come up with a viable energy plan. Now Bush has decided to blame OPEC for our inability to control our appetite for oil and our refusal to cut our energy consumption.
While Bush flings his accustions, OPEC simply refuses to buy into his rantings; instead Khelil noted that crude stocks were well within their five-year average. And, waiting in the wings is China with its ever-increasing need for oil to support its rise as one of the world’s fastest growing economies. So, as Bush blusters, OPEC thumbs its nose at his pathetic attempts to blame our deepening economic crisis on their reluctance to increase oil supplies. The old phrase “over a barrel” was never more accurate.