Michael T. Klare is the Five College Professor of Peace and World Security Studies (a joint appointment at Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst), and Director of the Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies (PAWSS), a position he has held since 1985. Before assuming his present post, he served as Director of the Program on Militarism and Disarmament at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. (1977-84).
Professor Klare has written widely on U.S. defense policy, the arms trade, and world security affairs. He is the author of Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America’s Growing Dependency on Imported Petroleum (Metropolitan Books, 2004), along with many other books. He is also the defense correspondent of The Nation, a Contributing Editor of Current History, and has contrbuted to numerous publications.
Michael Klare serves on the board of directors of the Arms Control Association, and the advisory board of the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch; he is also a member of the Committee on International Security Studies of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Question: What are we doing right? What are we doing wrong?
Michael Klare: Well, I think America has been sleeping that is putting in a nutshell. We had a major energy review in 2001, when President Bush first took office, he asked his Vice President Dick Cheney to convene an energy review, it was called the National Energy Policy Development Group, the NEPDG, they issued a report on May 17, 2001, shortly before 9/11 and the essence of that report was to lets keep doing what we have always been doing only more of it. I mean the one dramatic innovation they made is essentially was to let's drill in ANWR, the Artic National Wildlife Refuge, everybody knows about that. The fact is that, if you drill everywhere in sight in Alaska, it would add one million barrels of oil a day to our daily consumption or 20 million barrels a day. So that would make very little difference in our supply. They really didn't say very much more, except to keep producing more oil, consume more oil, more natural gas, more coal and more nuclear power, there was very little incentive made to develop alternative sources of energy. Now, meanwhile many other parts of the world, especially in Europe and Japan have given far more incentives to develop energy alternatives, wind power, solar power, biofuels, and to emphasize conservation in various ways through tax penalties for high gas guzzling cars, that also by building high-speed trains, like you have in Europe and public transportation. None of that, absolutely none of that has been happening in this country. So, now it is seven years later we are in worse shape than we were in 2001 to face an energy crisis. From my perspective this is one of the worst things that the Bush administration has done. I don’t want to blame it all on President Bush. The Congress Democrats and Republicans has largely gone along with this, because there are lot of powerful economic interests in favor of this state has go and we really need a shake up.
Question: Are we doing anything right?
Michael Klare: Well in just the past year congress has moved a little bit more swiftly to develop bio fuels to demand increased automobile efficiency, but it is really very little and it is very late. So, we have to go move much more quickly and I should say that as a result of grassroots pressure in States and Municipalities, you see a lot of progress in the Pacific Northwest and New England, areas other States have begun demanding that public utilities insist that much more of their electricity generation be produced by renewable fuels, so you do see progress at the State and Municipal level, but not at the Federal level.