John Stossel is right about the economic idiocy of "energy independence":

Most every politician and pundit says "energy independence" is a great idea. Presidents have promised it for 35 years. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we were self-sufficient, protected from high prices, supply disruptions and political machinations?

The hitch is that even if the United States were energy independent, it would be protected from none of those things. To think otherwise is to misunderstand basic economics and the global marketplace.

To be for "energy independence" is to be against trade. But trade makes us as safe. Crop destruction from this summer's floods in the Midwest should remind us of the folly of depending only on ourselves. Achieving "energy independence" would expose us to unnecessary risks -- such as storms that knock out oil refineries or droughts that create corn -- and ethanol -- shortages.

Trade also saves us money.

I think Stossel misunderstands McCain's desire for "strategic independence", however.

"I have set before the American people an energy plan, the Lexington Project -- named for the town where Americans asserted their independence once before," John McCain said. "This nation will achieve strategic independence by 2025".

Barack Obama, promising to "set America on path to energy independence," is upset that we send millions to other countries. "They get our money because we need their oil".

I don't think the idea is to use domestic oil/energy exclusively, but to break the strategic power that OPEC and our enemies derive from their oil reserves.

Sen. John McCain says he would seek to break U.S. reliance on foreign oil by 2025 by stepping up offshore drilling, nuclear power and conservation.Aides to the Republican presidential contender say his aim is strategic energy independence - a U.S. economy where oil is no longer be the primary fuel or dependent on cartels such as OPEC.

"Strategic independence" is part domestic energy policy, and part foreign policy.

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