Any American with a passing interest in history understands the role of energy in our World War Two victory. The vast strength of our manufacturing and energy sectors delivered support and strength to our servicemembers, some on the front lines of Pacific islands 8,000 miles away.
Fast forward eight decades and global tensions are again on the rise in the Indo Pacific. Only a fool would downplay the role energy plays for both the United States and our Allies. Unfortunately, too many lawmakers in Washington are more beholden to the green climate cult than American energy independence, and it is making the world – and our security – less stable.
China is ramping up its saber-rattling around Taiwan and the warning bells should be screaming in Washington. China went through three days of intense drills simulating nothing less than a massive strike on Taiwan. The action led to a reported standoff of 20 military ships, 10 from each side, combined with 71 Chinese warplanes around Taiwan. Afterwards, one Chinese leader declared they are “ready to fight.”
China is responding to last week’s meeting between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in California. These visits took place less than eight months after former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi set foot in Taipei, which also prompted military actions.
It is clear things are heating up. It is also clear the United States is not in the optimal position. The U.S. Navy is having to play catch-up to the Chinese after the Communist nation spent years building up their fleet, and that deficit will not be erased overnight. Additionally, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is exposing a need for American military industry to adapt in order to keep up with the production of munitions. One study shows a potential conflict could lead to a weapon shortfall in a matter of weeks. Finally, there is the question of fuel for our military with multiple reports now raising the question about the readiness of America’s aerial tanker fleet, an essential component of projecting power in the Pacific.
These challenges are well-known to American leaders and also to our adversaries. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) knows we are working to address these shortfalls, and they know it will take time. This weekend’s exercises, the boldest yet, may prove the Communist nation is feeling an urgency to make a move because their advantage window is closing.
In response to China’s rise, America’s allies in the region are getting ready. Late last year, Japan approved a budget that increases military spending by over 26 percent, setting yet another spending record for the 9th year in a row. South Korea, always under threat from their neighbors to the North, is also increasing spending by nearly 5 percent. Australia’s military spending is up to more than 2 percent of their GDP. And of course Taiwan increased spending near 14 percent in a single year to their highest ever.
Just as our allies are taking steps to prepare, our nation must do the same.
One of the many lessons from the War in Ukraine is the ability and willingness for our enemies to weaponize energy supplies. Putin may cut off natural gas in the dead of winter, but he’s learned the American energy worker won’t, and the difference cannot be understated. Today, 50 percent of Europe’s natural gas and 12 percent of its oil is from the United States. American energy is critical to our friends, and it would be no different in the Pacific.
Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea all depend on energy imports to keep their lights on. No matter how much the green movement would have you believe otherwise, each of those nations relies heavily on fossil fuels. For example, Taiwan uses fossil fuels for nearly 83 percent of their electricity generation. Most comes from coal.
These allies are indispensable to America’s efforts to counter China in the Pacific and they, like Europe, rely on real energy. Greta Thunberg’s rhetoric about climate change will not slow down the CCP’s march to global domination.
America is taking a hard look in the mirror about our weaknesses in standing against China and energy must be part of that equation. HR 1, the “Lower Energy Costs” act is an important step in the right direction. Of course, lowering domestic fuel prices is the right goal, but a secondary benefit of passing the bill would be to jump-start more American energy production immediately.
Those who ignore the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them. Abundant energy supply powered America to victory in World War Two and it can help us be more secure in 2023 and beyond.
If we need more warships, munitions, and tankers, we’ll need more energy. Our military and our allies are counting on it.
Larry Behrens is the Communications Director for Power The Future and has appeared on Fox News, Newsmax and One America News. You can find him on Twitter at @larrybehrens or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.