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In the context of the Iranian nuclear crisis, U.S. policymakers are considering ramping up domestic oil production and searching for alternative energy sources. On Monday, AEI and Securing America's Future Energy hosted a panel of foreign policy, national security, energy and transportation experts to discuss Persian Gulf instability and its adverse effect on global energy markets.
Elliott Abrams of the Council on Foreign Relations noted that there are ways to tighten sanctions against Iran — specifically, by diminishing Iran's ability to sell oil. While Iran's capital of Tehran is currently selling less oil than it used to, the U.S. and European governments are still capable of extending economic sanctions.
Gen. (ret.) James T. Conway, 34th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, stressed that the ruling elite in Tehran has not yet felt the full effect of sanctions. If the U.S. hopes for successful sanctions, said Conway, it must endorse regime change and provide moral, if not physical, support to Iran's middle class.
Sam Gilliland of Sabre Holdings emphasized that the U.S. must support a policy of increased domestic oil production. He likewise alleged that a long-term energy strategy must be conceived and implemented, or else the West will be continually beholden to energy shocks.
Daniel Yergin of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates concluded that prospects for complete energy independence remain elusive. Nonetheless, due to declining U.S. oil demand, rising output of oil and increasing integration with Canada, the U.S. is certainly on its way to becoming less energy dependent.
--Alex Della Rocchetta
In recent months, Iranian saber rattling has shaken energy markets. Although sanctions targeting Iran may raise the price at the pump, inaction is also costly: allowing Tehran to pass its nuclear threshold will endanger security in the Persian Gulf and may lead to even greater oil price hikes.
Against the backdrop of the Iranian nuclear crisis, American policymakers are increasingly considering ramping up domestic oil production and alternative energy. How much can shale oil, new pipelines and offshore oil production shield the U.S. economy from instability in the Persian Gulf and Iran’s leverage over world oil prices? How do the recent bankruptcies of U.S. solar energy firms affect American alternate energy strategy? Join a panel of foreign policy, national security, energy and transportation experts for an open discussion.
Elliott Abrams, Council on Foreign Relations
Gen. (ret.) James T. Conway, 34th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps
Sam Gilliland, Sabre Holdings
Daniel Yergin, IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates
Michael Rubin, AEI
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Elliott Abrams is senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C. He served as deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser in the administration of President George W. Bush, where he supervised U.S. policy in the Middle East for the White House. Abrams joined the Bush administration in June 2001 as special assistant to the president and senior director for democracy, human rights and international organizations at the National Security Council (NSC). From December 2002 to February 2005, he served as special assistant to the president and senior director of the NSC for Near East and North African affairs. Abrams was president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., from 1996 until he joined the White House staff in 2001. He was a member of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom from 1999 to 2001 and chairman of the commission in 2001. He teaches U.S. foreign policy at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service.
General (ret.) James T. Conway served as the 34th commandant of the United States Marine Corps. As commandant, Conway served as the senior uniformed marine responsible for the organization, training and equipping of over 250,000 active duty, reserve and civilian personnel throughout the United States and overseas and managed the $40 billion annual Marine Corps budget. Prior to becoming the commandant, Conway served for four years on the Joint Chiefs of Staff as J-3 or senior operations officer in the U.S. military, where he oversaw the war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Conway functioned as a military adviser to the secretary of defense, the National Security Council and the president. Previously, Conway was the president of the Marine Corps University, commanding general of the 1st Marine Division and commander of 90,000 U.S. and British forces during the invasion of Iraq.
Sam Gilliland is chairman and CEO of Sabre Holdings, the world's leading travel technology company, where his love of travel, entrepreneurial spirit and technical expertise inspire him to lead more than 10,000 employees in 60 countries, spanning all segments of the travel industry. He was appointed to the role in 2003. Before that, Gilliland served in several senior leadership positions at Sabre Holdings including president and CEO of Travelocity, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Sabre Holdings, group president of Sabre Airline Solutions and senior vice president and general manager of Sabre Business Travel Solutions, a start-up venture within the company. Gilliland was appointed to President Obama’s Management Advisory Board in March 2011. In 2012, he was appointed to serve as vice chair during a third term on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Travel and Tourism Advisory Committee to Secretary of Commerce John Bryson. Business Travel News named Sam as one of the top 25 most influential executives in the industry for 2011.
Daniel Yergin is chairman and founder of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, one of the world’s leading energy advisory firms. Fortune Magazine called him “one of the planet’s foremost thinkers about energy and its implications.” A Pulitzer Prize winner, Yergin is the author of the bestseller “The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World.” The Economist called “The Quest” “a masterly piece of work” and the Financial Times called it “a triumph.” Yergin serves on the U.S. Secretary of Energy Advisory Board and chaired the U.S. Department of Energy’s Task Force on Strategic Energy Research and Development.
Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at AEI and a senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations. He is a former editor of Middle East Quarterly and, between 2002 and 2004, worked as a staff adviser for Iran and Iraq in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Rubin is the author of “Into the Shadows: Radical Vigilantes in Khatami’s Iran” (Washington Institute, 2001) and co-author of “Eternal Iran: Continuity and Chaos” (Palgrave, 2005). He lectures frequently on army bases and aircraft carriers regarding Iranian strategy.