NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- A while back, I wrote an article on global empires . The British Empire was the largest in history as measured both by land area (13 million square miles) and population covered (531 million). As measured by share of GDP, the U.S. Empire was the largest: In 1945, its GDP was 35% of global GDP. Things have changed since then.
Unlike Japan and China, the U.S. was at one time richly endowed with energy resources. Even today, it is the third leading producer of energy from oil, the second leading producer from coal, the second leading producer of energy from natural gas and by far the largest producer of nuclear energy. But because of its voracious energy consumption, the U.S. must supplement its own production of energy with imports. It now imports 63% of its crude oil, and this constitutes 21% of all crude oil traded globally. This is an extreme and dangerous dependency. The European countries and Japan have imposed heavy taxes on motor vehicle fuels so gas prices have been in the $6-$7 range for more than a decade. But the U.S. government policy has been able to keep the gas price as low as possible. The result? Per capita, the U.S. consumes almost four times as much oil as the other OECD countries. Is there a U.S. energy policy?
Serious problems started in Vietnam: 55,000 Americans were lost, more than 2 million Vietnamese were killed, the U.S. pulled out and nothing was accomplished. The Cold War ended when the USSR economy collapsed. The Middle East: Most governments in the Middle East, with the exception of Israel, hate America. And not just a little hatred. This hatred led directly to a new terrorism era with suicide bombers, plane hijackings and 9/11. Foreign policy that creates such hatred is not good foreign policy. The hatred came not only because the U.S. helped establish the Israeli state. Rather, it resulted from the U.S. arming Israel to be its U.S. policeman in the Middle East. Israel used its power to occupy and seize lands from its neighbors. Of course, there were provocations. But Israel has been condemned by the UN Security Council for aggressive acts 29 times, far more than any other country in the history of the UN.