Why is it that whenever the United States achieves strategic dominance in a critical area for our national security, the left wants to disarm?

In the 20th century, America’s emergence as a nuclear superpower made our victory in the Cold War possible. And what was the left’s reaction? They opposed ballistic missile defense and championed nuclear disarmament. Today, one of the great geostrategic developments of the early 21st century has been the United States’ emergence as an energy superpower. As recently as 2008, the United States was the world’s largest oil importer, but today, we are one of the largest exporters of oil and the largest exporter of natural gas. What made that possible was the shale revolution, which not only created millions of jobs, but also transformed the national security landscape in America’s favor. And once again, this development is opposed by a disarmament movement on the left — this time energy disarmament.

Fearful of losing states like Pennsylvania, Joe Biden now insists he does not want to ban fracking. But when Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said during a primary debate in March, “I’m talking about stopping fracking as soon as we possibly can … no ifs, buts and maybes about it,” Biden chimed in, “So am I. No more — no new fracking.” He also told a young woman at a New Hampshire campaign stop, “Kiddo, I want you to look into my eyes. I guarantee you we’re going to end fossil fuel.” And his running mate, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), has said, “There’s no question I’m in favor of banning fracking.”

In his new book, “The New Map: Energy, Climate and the Clash of Nations,” Pulitzer Prize-winning author Daniel Yergin describes how the shale energy revolution has benefited America — and the harm energy disarmament would do. In an interview, I asked him about the calls on the left to end fracking. “When I hear some of the politicians say, ‘We want to ban fracking,’ ” Yergin replied, “I want to say: ‘Why?’ The beneficiaries of banning fracking would be Russia and Saudi Arabia, who would fill the gap that will be created in the market.”

Yergin pointed out that “one of the major critics of U.S. shale development is somebody who lives in Moscow named Vladimir Putin, who doesn’t like shale because he sees it as bolstering U.S. foreign policy.” He explained that “when the Russians cut off the gas through Ukraine in 2006, the Europeans were not in a good position.” But today, thanks to the shale revolution, Russia has lost its leverage because our European allies can buy American natural gas or gas from other countries.

Yergin also noted that the Obama-Biden nuclear deal with Iran would not have been possible without the shale revolution. “The Iranians never thought the sanctions that Obama put in place would work because they thought the world needed the oil, but it turned out that Iranian oil was replaced by U.S. oil,” he said. The same is true of the unprecedented sanctions Trump has placed on Tehran today. “Whether you agree with the Obama approach to Iran or the Trump approach, or what might be a Biden approach, none of those approaches would work if the U.S. was still … heavily importing oil.”

One of the major security developments in recent years has been the emergence of a new partnership between the United States and India to counterbalance China. Fracking is one of the critical foundations of that expanding partnership, Yergin said. “In a very concrete way, exports of U.S. liquefied natural gas and oil to India have created a kind of tangibility to the relationship that was not there before.” By contrast, one of the countries that stands to gain the most from the elimination of fossil fuels is China, which has replaced the United States as the world’s largest oil importer. China knows that in a confrontation with the United States over Taiwan, the U.S. Navy could shut the Straits of Malacca to tankers carrying oil to China, crippling the Chinese economy. China, Yergin noted, will be “the big winner” in any transition to renewable energy.

If the campaign to ban fracking succeeds, he said, the result would be a rapid decline in U.S. oil production — with dramatic strategic consequences. “The shale revolution has really been a big contribution to U.S. energy security, national security, our position in the world. Were that to be demolished … that would weaken the position of the U.S. in the world.”

Yergin’s book is not a polemic; he simply presents some inconvenient truths that the climate-change zealots would prefer to ignore. The fact is there are real tensions between our national security interests and our environmental interests. The shale revolution has produced a moment of American energy dominance. We should pause before we heed the calls to mindlessly disarm.

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