From an article by Edward L. Morse in the winter issue of Foreign Affairs:
As an energy-rich country that nonetheless depends on oil imports, U.S. energy security requires a combination of three elements. It needs to reduce consumption, to diversify its national fuel supplies and to maximize the exploitation of domestic resources while recognizing that complete energy independence is impossible to achieve.
Yet for the past decade the government has had a de facto energy policy that minimizes the development of national oil and gas resources, maximizes gasoline consumption and relies increasingly on energy resources concentrated in oil and gas. This is not surprising. The United States is a schizophrenic society in oil matters -- a huge producer and an even more enormous importer. Resolving the competing claims and interests of consumers and producers is nearly impossible... .
Whether or not the United States and other industrial countries learn appropriate lessons from the latest crisis and undertake new meaningful energy policies to help the restructuring of the world's energy institutions remains an open question. The petroleum sector has dealt the world more wild cards in the past 20 years than virtually any other key segment of the world economy. While the wild card recently placed on the table by Iraq is changing many of the rules of the game, it is unlikely to affect them very substantially in the long run. The oil system has been moving in directions based much more on the economic logic that has governed its growth than on specific government acts. But government policies can make a big difference in ameliorating or worsening conditions.