Reason Foundation

Reason Foundation

Reason Alert: Foreign Policy, Gas Prices

March 30, 2007

The Future of Foreign Policy
"Republicans are from Mars, Democrats from Venus. That is to say, Republicans are hawkish, Democrats dovish, and common ground is scant. In consequence, the relative bipartisanship that once marked U.S. foreign-policy debates has given way to a bitterly partisan era of which the Bush years provide but a foretaste. Future arguments over the use of force against Iran, North Korea, or other possible adversaries will make the Iraq dispute look like a dinner party. All of the above is conventional wisdom. That doesn't make it wrong -- at least, not entirely. But reality is more surprising and encouraging. Encouragement comes from the underappreciated fact that America's partisans agree on much more than the conventional wisdom would suggest. Surprise comes from what it is they agree on: They want a foreign policy that is less confrontational and more cooperative than the one the Bush administration has given them." - At, National Journal's Jonathan Rauch examines the future of U.S. foreign policy and finds, "Where foreign policy is concerned, the post-Bush period may look less like the hyperpartisanship of the Bush years than the muddled bickering of the Clinton era. Who knows? A period of neo-Clintonianism may even be presided over by a chief executive named Clinton."
» Michael Young: Meet Zalmay Khalilzad, Your New UN Ambassador

What's the Administration Hiding?
Reason's Radley Balko says the emails coming to light in the U.S. attorneys scandal make "you wonder what else we'd discover were this administration not so hell-bent on keeping everything it possibly can hidden from public scrutiny. As unseemly and overtly political as the U.S. attorney scandal may be, then, the one thing it has done—perhaps by accident—is demonstrate the importance of transparency in government."

Spiking Gas Prices
With spring gas prices over $2.60 per gallon nationally (over $3 per gallon in California - and over $4 in some parts of San Francisco), the conspiracy charges have started early this year. But Reason's Ronald Bailey says, "The only conspiracy behind increasing gas prices is in plain sight--government fuel mandates and taxes...the federal ethanol mandate adds substantially to gasoline prices. Ethanol costs more per gallon than gasoline; it contains less energy per volume so a blend of 90 percent gas and 10 percent ethanol delivers 3 percent fewer miles per gallon; and ethanol has a higher vapor pressure which makes it even more expensive for refiners to meet EPA summertime vapor pressure maximums. The ethanol mandate also adds to costs for blending gasoline because companies now have to manage different two fuel supply chains."
» Bailey: Political Peak Oil
» Bailey: Are We Running Out of Oil?

Foreign Companies Building U.S. Roads
"Our foreign-made shoes step on the gas in our foreign-made cars (many with American brand names) that run on foreign-produced fuel so that we can go home and surf the Internet on computers filled with foreign-made parts. But we don't want a foreign-based company investing in our roads?" - In a Houston Chronicle op-ed, Reason's Geoffrey Segal debunks the arguments being used against public-private partnerships and toll roads.
» Listen to Robert Poole Discuss Private Highways on NPR and WAMU's Kojo Nnamdi Show
» Transportation Research and Commentary

Banning Incandescent Light Bulbs
California, Connecticut, Illinois and the U.S. Congress are gunning to ban incandescent light bulbs. Reason's Katherine Mangu-Ward writes the trouble started "when someone decided that potential energy savings from lighting would be an important step in saving the planet from global warming." But she says the politicians don't need to push fluorescent bulbs because the market already is: "My cheap landlord, Wal-Mart, virtually every environmental group, and the companies that manufacture the new bulbs are all already showing the courage and leadership to 'make things happen' with advertising, giveaways, and free installation. Legislators who command us to adopt energy efficient light bulbs are foolishly redundant at best, like the general who gives orders to pillage after his troops are already rampaging through the city. At worst, they're freezing technological development, colluding with big business, and forcing more expensive products on the households that can least afford them."

Do You Want to Know When You're Going to Die?
"Genetic testing and other biomedical advances will some day provide all of us with a great deal more knowledge about when our lives are going to end. So here's the question: assuming that future genetic testing, combined with a sophisticated biochemical analysis of your past environmental insults, could accurately narrow your life expectancy down to a specific number of years, would you want to know how long you have left? I answer unequivocally, yes. I really want to know (barring accidents) if I'm going to live only 23 years or 41 more years, or even worse, if I'm going to drop dead in the next year. Attempts to restrict access to predictive genetic tests on paternalistic grounds must be strenuously resisted. In the near future, you will not only know that the Pale Rider is headed your way, you'll also have a pretty good idea when he will show up." - Reason's Ronald Bailey looks at what technology can tell us about our future health and explains why he wants all the information he can get.

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