Thomas Friedman warns that the Bush administration's energy policies are fueling terrorism. It's not an original argument but a cogent one nonetheless. America's oil dependancy props up corrupt and repressive Middle Eastern regimes. Friedman says the most progressive Arab nations are those with little or no oil to export, such as Bahrain and Dubai.
Mr. Bush says we're in "a global war on terrorism.'' That's right. But that war is rooted in the Arab-Muslim world. That means there is no war on terrorism that doesn't involve helping this region onto a more promising path for its huge population of young people - too many of whom are unemployed or unemployable because their oil-rich regimes are resistant to change and their religious leaders are resisting modernity.
Friedman advocates a gasoline tax, but a more farsighted solution would be to put a stop to our sprawling development practices. Build denser, walkable communities. Eliminate zoning codes that segregate residential and commercial development. Create a reliable funding stream for public transportation.
Of course, not all the blame lies with politicians. Much of it rests with ourselves. Americans have deliberately chosen a way of life that is not only bad for their health and their communities, but for the nation and perhaps the world as well.