Center for Strategic Communication

President Obama and Governor Romney at the second debate. Credit to Scout Tufankjian,

Tonight, President Barack Obama and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will engage in the last round of Presidential debates at 9 p.m. EST at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.  The third and final debate will focus on foreign policy issues of concern to undecided voters, including, we here at ASP hope, questions on energy. The campaigns thus far have lacked a substantive discussion of energy policy, but tonight’s debate is an opportunity for each candidate to offer their vision for America’s role regarding this important issue.

Moderator Bob Schieffer should ask the candidates the following question:

Gentlemen, last week Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a major speech entitled “Energy Diplomacy in the Twenty-First Century”. In her speech the Secretary outlined energy’s importance to American foreign policy, describing it as an issue that touches on wealth and power, economic development and the environment, and political stability. What does “Energy Diplomacy” mean to you, and would it be a priority for your administration given the incredible array of American interests abroad? What is the relationship between our domestic energy resources and our ability to conduct a smarter, modern foreign policy?

We won’t go into details about what we believe the candidates’ answers will or should be, but we do think this is an important issue to be discussed.

We here at ASP believe energy has a central role to play in the foreign policy strategy of the United States. As we and others point out, energy has an enormous role to play in vital areas of international concern; including the oil exports of Iran and Russia, the surge of natural gas production within the United States, the effects of climate change throughout Asia and Africa, and American “vulnerability” to foreign sources of energy. In order to promote our own energy security, the United States must invest in a range of energy sources and avoid an overreliance on any one resource. An overreliance on oil for example, restricts American foreign policy and makes our military dependent on a single, volatile fuel source.  

This notion of “energy security” does not necessarily entail an independence from world energy trade or insulation from disruptions in the market, but rather the ability to prepare for and respond to inevitable changes to tomorrow’s energy resources and technology. The United States must invest in a variety of energy sources, infrastructure, and new research and development in clean energy to move to the forefront of modern, intelligent energy production.

While fossil fuels will continue to play a critical role in the American energy mix, natural gas, solar, wind, biofuels, hydroelectric, nuclear fusionand other sources must all be used to diversify our energy options. . The U.S. must pursue innovation and a long-term approach towards energy resources if it is to promote the future security and prosperity of our own nation and indeed, the entire world.