Meredith Angwin

Energy Analyst & Author

In Vain?

When we talk about American’s wars, there is a phrase that we often use. The phrase was used in the Gettysburg Address, though I doubt that was the first use.

“That these dead shall not have died in vain.“

We don’t want the bravery and the suffering to be useless. We hope that the sacrifice of those who died in the wars, and those who were affected by the wars, shall not be in vain. We want the country for which they fought to remain a strong, independent, democratic nation.

I have many connections with those who fought in America’s wars.  My uncle Phil, who used to joke that there is a beautiful woman behind every tree in the Aleutian Islands. (No trees.) My husband, a tin can sailor (U.S.S. Wedderburn, DD 684), steaming off the coast of Taiwan.  My many friends from the Silent Service.  Most of the men in George’s family, including his father, brother and cousins. My friend from my breast cancer survivors’ group, who was career military. My dear friend at Vermont Yankee, with his burns and his Purple Heart.  The boy  from my high school class who died in Vietnam.

I am grateful for all of them. That they did not suffer (or die) in vain is important to me, especially today.

The Threat is About Energy

What is the greatest threat, right now, to the United States remaining a strong, independent and democratic nation? In my opinion, we can look at Europe and see a threat playing out. The threat is about energy. The more a country relies on Russia for energy….the less willing that country is to confront Russia about Russian aggression.

In my opinion, to truly be sovereign, a country needs a strong military, and self-sufficiency in food and energy. That is a tall order. Small countries can’t achieve it. Big countries can achieve this, and they need to achieve these goals.  Why do big countries need to do this? Because big countries need to make formal or informal alliances with small countries, in order to keep the world peaceful. Why hasn’t China invaded Taiwan already?  China is not afraid of the Taiwanese army.  However,  China does not want to tangle with the U.S. Navy. (I recommend Greg Easterbook’s The Blue Age, which describes the role of the U.S. Navy in keeping the peace.)

Today’s world is heavily connected and there is a world-wide market for goods. That is mostly a Good Thing.  Among other things, people like me can travel all around the world for comparatively little time and cost. This was not true when I was a child. Jet travel to Europe started in 1958.  It started out rocky, for sure, with too many crashes.  Nevertheless, jet travel was an improvement for many people. Before the transatlantic jet service, middle class people might take one trip abroad in their lifetimes.  If they were lucky.

I like our connected world. But I remember that the world is a dangerous place. Other countries do not necessarily have our best interests at heart.

Energy, Food, the Miltary

It will not surprise people that I am in favor of reliable nuclear energy for America.  We need our own supply chain for nuclear builds and nuclear fuel. And for hydrocarbons, which remain absolutely essential. (I recommend Alex Epstein’s recent book, Fossil Future.)  It may surprise people that I am not just writing about energy, but I am writing about the military, and about food. But all these issues are related.

Let’s be honest.  The world has abundant food because of abundant fertilizer, which depends on abundant energy. In terms of food, this Robert Bryce interview with Doomberg is frightening. Lack of energy circles around to lack of food which circles around to civic unrest which circles around to the military again. If you watch the Bryce-Doomberg interview, be prepared.

Meanwhile, I will think loving and grateful thoughts about all the people I know who served in the military. Thank you all. With a strong military, and self-sufficiency in food and energy, your service will not be in vain.