Global markets reeled today as America announced a total embargo on oil imports from the Middle East.
The move effectively smashes the stranglehold of OPEC. At the beginning of her second term in office, President Hillary Rodham Clinton said the decision was in the interests of national security. America’s fervent nationalism is the result of the terrorism that has threatened the country for the last decade. Clinton believes US dependency on Middle East oil is exacer-bating the threat.
The opening of vast new oil reserves in Alaska and Canada has enabled the US government to seriously consider inde-pendence in the field of energy supply. These, almost limitless, reserves will be supplemented with oil imports from Mexico, Central America, Nigeria and the UK, along with a mix of energy from renewable sources.
ANALYSIS >> SYNTHESIS: How this scenario came to be
2001: Research on hydrogen fuel cells
Within days of the bombing of the World Trade Center on 11th September 2001, a mood of introspection and nationalism sweeps across the United States of America.
The ‘Patriot Act’, is passed by the US Congress, to address the threat of terrorists entering America, increasing ‘visa bureaucracy’.
Conscious of the need to find alternative sources of energy, President George Bush sets aside US $3 billion for research into hydrogen fuel cell development, singling out this energy source as a top priority.
2003: Iraq War
The Iraq War occupies troops and Congress throughout year. Dozens of American soldiers are killed. The mood hardens.
Gaining visas to enter the USA has become increasingly difficult: foreign scientists are regularly denied entry to present papers at conferences. Even British Arab nationals are finding it difficult to gain entry.
America controls 3% of the world’s oil reserves, but consumes 25% of world production. Saudi Arabia is still the world’s single biggest oil supplier and controls the price of OPEC oil.
The ‘tar sand’ oil fields – deep, untapped reserves – of Alberta promise limitless oil. These Canadian oil fields are estimated to have 180 billion barrels of oil reserves – more than the fields in Iraq.
US environmentalists lobby against the opening of the rich Alaskan oil fields – America’s last great wilderness.
2004: Patriot Act II
The US government’s Patriot Act II, gives sweeping powers to act against foreign nationals. The mood of neo-conservatism and nationalism increases. Never has America been so isolated.
Hillary Rodham Clinton is elected President of the United States of America in November
As the year ends, US troops finally withdraw from Iraq. Accusing ex-President George Bush of meddling in too many foreign pies, Hillary Rodham Clinton sweeps to presidential victory on the, ‘We’ll do it for ourselves, by ourselves’ ticket.
2005: Dependency on OPEC reduced
The American public focuses on autonomy, independence and peace of mind. Dependency on OPEC oil is perceived as a direct threat to American security.
Despite the swing to a Democratic government, most Americans have become wary of foreigners. It becomes increasingly difficult for any Arab nationals to gain entry visas to the US, whether on business or for academic purposes.
In the face of the increasing terrorist threat, Environmental groups accept that the US needs to open the Alaskan and Canadian reserves, and the smaller reserves off the coast of California, to reduce the dependency on OPEC.
2008: USA supplies sufficient fuel for itself
Terrorism continues unabated in the USA. Fundamentalism – Christian and Muslim – has increased.
The oil fields of Alberta and Alaska are opened up.
There are significant developments in hydrogen fuel cell and fusion power research this year. Wind, biomass, tide and solar power are harnessed to supplement America’s need for energy. There is also a significant leap forward in the conservation of energy.
For the first time the USA can draw on a sufficient fuel supply to maintain itself.
An embargo on OPEC oil is seriously considered in the American press, then Congress. US concerns focus on reducing the dominant power of Saudi Arabia – which is in political domestic turmoil.
2009: Patriot Act III
With a strong majority, the Democratic government of the US debates and passes the Patriot Act III. Independence and self-determination are at the core of the Act’s philosophy.