Who is a closer ally of the United States: Canada or Iran?
It’s not a trick question. Yet the Obama administration doesn’t seem to believe the answer is Canada. Its newly minted nuclear deal would allow Iran to resume oil exports. Meanwhile, the president continues to refuse oil from Canada by stalling approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.
That’s absurd and dangerous for national security. As we do favors for a country that finances global terrorism, we’re giving the cold shoulder to a longstanding friend who can help us achieve energy independence. The Obama administration needs to rethink its priorities.
With $1.4 million in goods and services exchanged every minute, Canada is our best and largest trading partner. Our northern neighbor spends $312 billion Canadian dollars on American merchandise annually.
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Our relationship with Canada has long been a key component of our national security. Our 5,500 miles of common borders have been at peace for over 200 years. From World War I to the war against terrorism, American and Canadian soldiers have fought together to defend our mutual freedom.
Canada is also America’s safest and most stable supplier of energy. Ninety percent of Canada’s oil and gas exports go to America.
Despite this, President Obama has chosen to jeopardize our relationship by stalling approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, a proposed conduit connecting the oil sands of Alberta with existing pipelines leading to the Gulf of Mexico. And the damage is growing.
TransCanada, the company building the pipeline, is considering a court challenge to our federal government to recoup damages from the arbitrary delay. Canada’s leaders are warning that blocking Keystone XL will damage the two nations’ relationship.
Meanwhile, the United States may allow Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism, to sell its oil without restriction. The nation, whose leaders regularly lead chants of “death to America,” was prohibited from exporting oil as part of sanctions aimed at checking Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
With the nuclear deal in place, though, Iran will regain its place as the second biggest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Potential customers are already lining up for the 400,000 barrels of oil Iran could soon ship daily.
It’s still unknown how unleashing Iran’s oil reserves will impact America’s national security. But Keystone XL will certainly make America safer. The oil it will bring across the border will help us achieve North American energy independence. The pipeline would transport 830,000 barrels of oil per day. That equals 90 percent of the oil imported from Venezuela’s anti-American government in 2012.
By 2020, the pipeline would deliver 4 million barrels a day -- twice the amount of oil we currently import from unstable Middle Eastern petro-states.
Within the next decade or so, 100 percent of America’s liquid fuel needs could be met by North American oil. No longer will we have to cater to the whims of governments that despise us for our freedom. No longer will protecting our vital interest in a secure supply of oil be at the center of our national security policies.
But before we can achieve these benefits, we must return to the original question — and answer it correctly. Should our loyalties lie with a neighbor and friend who can help us achieve national security, or with an underwriter of terrorism?
Canada is the obvious choice. In light of our nuclear agreement with Iran, it’s time to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.