It seems like yesterday that I heard that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I had been at a Business Development Week planning meeting at the library. When the second airliner hit the other tower, we all understood that this was no accident and we were at war. My son would enlist in the Navy a year later.
A lot has changed over the past fifteen years, but the world remains a dangerous place. We remain locked in a struggle with foreign forces that hate everything we stand for.
In the current atmosphere of hyper-partisanship, we sometimes forget that the differences between Americans, be they Democrats, Republicans, or Independents, pale in comparison with the differences between Americans and the likes of Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, and assorted Islamic terrorists. These folks hate us for what we are and will continue to attack us in any way in which they think they can get away. That includes regular cyber attacks that can be traced back to Russia, North Korea, and China. It also includes land grabs like Putin’s annexation of Crimea and China’s ongoing attempts to take over the South China Sea. Just this week North Korea exploded another nuclear weapon and threatened to use its nuclear arsenal against the US.
Fifteen years after 9/11, Islamic terrorists remain a threat to the US and our allies. While one can argue that ISIS is composed of a bunch of terrorists who are using a warped view of Islam as an excuse for their actions, it is also clear that some of our “friends” in the middle east, most notably Saudi Arabia, have encouraged and promoted an intolerant, fundamentalist version of Islam that has made ISIS possible.
It is my belief that we will not put an end to these threats so long as we and our allies continue to finance them. How do we cut off the flow of money to these folks? Here are a few ideas for starters:
Russia depends heavily on oil and gas sales to members of the EU. Perhaps we should help our allies in Europe wean themselves off Russian oil and gas. If that takes tankers full of American natural gas competing with Russian pipelines, so be it.
The Saudis use their oil revenues to prop up fundamentalist schools and mosques that teach hatred of the West in general and the US in specific. Why are we buying oil from them? I’m personally putting my money where my mouth is on this one. In the 1990’s and early 2000’s, gas thirsty V-8’s dominated the Marlowe driveway. I picked up a Smart fortwo back in 2008 that had an EPA rating in the low 40’s. That was impressive eight years ago. Today, that car is a distant third in fuel efficiency among the four cars parked out back. The only vehicle that is worse, a 2002 Chevy Silverado that gets around 13 mpg on a typical tank of gas, rarely goes anywhere other than Home Depot. Both the Silverado and the fortwo will likely get traded in or sold outright when I go car shopping next year. The replacement will have an electrical plug, which means it will run primarily on American coal. The only remaining question is whether or not it will have a gasoline engine.
We should be using a combination of energy conservation, domestic coal and petroleum production, and alternative energy production to hasten the day when we can tell the Saudis and the rest of OPEC exactly what they can do with their oil rigs.
By all accounts, the only reason the North Koreans have survived is because of their Chinese benefactors. We do a LOT of business with China. We ought to be using our influence with them to get them to lean on North Korea. The Chinese need to understand that they have a very large stake in reining in Kim Jong Un before he does something stupid with the nuclear weapons and missiles he is developing.
New Port Richey has been holding 9/11 ceremonies every year since the attack. This year’s event in Sims Park will start at 4:30pm with music, followed by the program at 5:00pm. As important as it is for us to remember our countrymen who died that day and the brave first responders that worked at the twin towers and the Pentagon, it is important for all of us to do our part to make sure that our leaders set the stage so that we aren’t faced with this sort of attack in the future.
I hope to see you Sunday evening at the 9/11 ceremony in Sims Park.
Rob Marlowe, Mayor