Anne Korin: Why Shouldn't We Believe Her?

This morning I heard on C-SPAN radio about 10 minutes of an Anne Korin speech (Co-Director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, and Chair of Set America Free), delivered live to the National Conservative Student Conference in DC.  In the space of a few minutes, filled with a fast-paced presentation of data on global oil production and US oil consumption, I learned that she favors quick adoption by the US of plug-in hybrids, combined with flex-fuels combustion engines, as the most immediate path to extricating ourselves from our current national security pickle.

She sure made sense to me -- but then, I'm a sucker for arguments set up with a marshaling of seemingly relevant facts (that why I'm a Biden supporter, by the way - but that's another topic).  She made so much sense that I'm about to sit down and watch the video on C-SPAN's site (Korin appears about one hour in on the morning session).  

I did a quick search online looking for any critiques of her analysis -- nothing so far.  I'm curious what the progressive blogosphere thinks of her work.  Anyone?  I did learn she teamed up with James Woolsey on a National Review article last September: "Turning Oil Into Salt," and that apparently Woolsey is now advising McCain.  I also found a KCRW radio show she appeared on last November (in a segment titled, "Is America's Thirst for Expensive Oil Fueling Dictators?")

Thanks for any comments.

~ Rob

Tags: electricity, Energy, Ethanol, flex-fuels, gas, Gasoline, hybrid, Oil, opec, renewable, security (all tags)



Re: Anne Korin: Why Shouldn't We Believe Her?

I see this is on right now on C-SPAN TV, and is scheduled to repeat at 2:10 am eastern -

Watching it now, she's doing some pretty amazing truth telling to these young conservatives!

~ Rob

by Rob McC again 2008-08-04 07:21PM | 0 recs
I've been watching her on C-Span too...

Unfortunately you couldn't find anybody to answer your diary..I'm not a very knowledgeable person, hence not the right person to answer your query..

by louisprandtl 2008-08-04 07:37PM | 0 recs have to see that the business community

is coming around to accept alternative energy for sometime now. Only holdouts are Bush fans and likes of Exxon-Mobil..

by louisprandtl 2008-08-04 07:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Anne Korin: Why Shouldn't We Believe Her?

I watch it just 5 minutes ago and completely fell in love. She's so amazing!

She backed up all her arguments and everything she said was spot on. I only wish people would pay more attention to the things that she has said.

My only concern was the amount of energy it took to create ethanol was not worth what it took to create it. I am glad to hear that that's not exactly the case.

by MDubya 2008-08-04 11:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Anne Korin: Why Shouldn't We Believe Her?

"completely fell in love"

You and me both.  And her appeal appears to be post-partisan, to boot.  Type her name in YouTube, and you'll find Congressman Bob Inglis (SC-R) asking her at a House Foreign Affairs Cmt. hearing ("Rising Oil Prices, Declining National Security," 5/22/08): "Ms. Korin, Are you available to run for President?"

Her testimony at the Committee hearing is here: 52208.htm

by Rob McC again 2008-08-05 12:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Anne Korin: Why Shouldn't We Believe Her?


I saw Anne Korin tonight for the first time as well. I'm amazed and disappointed that I've never heard this brilliant woman before. I too Googled her to find much less than expected.

Sickening to think about what impact we could have if Congress had the guts to take a few simple actions.  Too few Bidens and too many Pelosis.


by ZiffMan 2008-08-05 12:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Anne Korin: Why Shouldn't We Believe Her?

I too just discovered Anne Korin on Cspan last night. She was terrific - so well spoken.

The proposals she makes so coherently are not new to me.  They are extremely well argued in detail in Bob Zubrin's excellent book Energy Victory.  Zubrin, like Korin, is associated with SetAmericaFree, an organization espousing these ideas.  

I am mystified why neither presidential candidate embraces the power of this message.  Since leaving the Democratic party 30 years ago, I have not voted for a single Democrat.  However, Obama (or McCain) could earn my vote tomorrow if he were to give the speech that Anne Korin did yesterday.

by hotbrightlights 2008-08-05 04:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Anne Korin: Why Shouldn't We Believe Her?

An article I came across this morning with Anne Korin. id=770

I watched her talk last night on C-SPAN, I wanted to go to sleep, but I just had to watch the whole thing.  Simply brilliant.  We need to bring her to the front of the energy policy debate.

by vhm9ks 2008-08-05 05:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Anne Korin: Why Shouldn't We Believe Her?

Korin is correct to highlight the need to find alternative energy sources and wean ourselves from dependency on foreign fossil fuels.

Unfortunately, her argument is spun to serve her ulterior motives and inserts dangerous misconceptions into otherwise valid warnings.

She clings to the Milton Friedman economic premise that, absent OPEC manipulation, oil would flow freely and the problem would be solved. She ignores top oil analysts such as Matthew Simmons and Ken Deffeyes who have presented evidence that oil production has peaked and we need to prepare for a world in which fossil fuel availability will inexorably decline at a time when demand is soaring.

She brushed off the question about the energy return on energy invested (EROEI) of ethanol being less than 1. Her quote of an EROEI for corn ethanol of 1.3 is in the ball park. But this means that we are still consuming 3 gallons of oil to produce 4 gallons of ethanol. Pure corn can produce an EROEI of 1.3 but when corn residues are included in production the EROEI drops below 1, meaning more oil energy is used to produce the ethanol than that which is obtained from the product. She threw out a comment asking if anyone knew the EROEI of gasoline and went on without answering.  The EROEI of gasoline was about 40 in the mid 20th century and is now down to about 8. Even a college freshman can see the implications of this trend.

She and her cohorts fail to tell the truth that the solution to this problem is to live within our own sustainable means, not to embark on a war with the rest of the world over fossil fuels.

by sail59115 2008-08-05 07:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Anne Korin: Why Shouldn't We Believe Her?


"her argument is spun to serve her ulterior motives"

I'm glad you spared us your opinion of what Ms. Korin's vile "ulterior motives" must be.

"She and her cohorts fail to tell the truth that the solution to this problem is to live within our own sustainable means, not to embark on a war with the rest of the world over fossil fuels."

I'm also glad that you know the "truth" and the "solution to the problem".  I'm sure that as you live within your sustainable means, you will be making a tremendous contribution.

Good grief!   Ms. Korin is advocating a specific plan if action to address a growing horror.    Thank goodness there are a few grownups in the world.

by hotbrightlights 2008-08-05 08:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Anne Korin: Why Shouldn't We Believe Her?

I don't quite understand your response, although I am new to this politically aware state I am in.  

What alterior motives and misconceptions did she spin?  She wants to reduce the US dependance on foreign oil, NOT embark in a war with the rest of the world.  That seems to be her point.  

Oil is controlled by a cartel that is out of the US's hands to reign in.  We cannot increase our supply to a point that we will not be reliant on the middle east for our transportation infrastructure.  Since the Jihadists, OPEC, and even speculators know this we cannot ever expect prices to come down for long and remain stable.  Jihadists will mess with supplies to raise the prices and then take "kickbacks" from OPEC, and the speculators will just see that coming and keep the prices high.  Oil is a snowball that's coming down the mountain, I think she is trying to say we can't stop it.

Due to our inability to control supply Anne talks of controlling demand, so she speaks about alternatives in particular flex fuels and PHEV (plugin hybrid energy vehicles).  She is not suggesting that we remove oil as from transportation needs, but decrease its influence.  Please read 52208.htm

I think you and Anne have a similar goal, to live within our sustainable means, but to just say reduce would be short sighted.  Anne is speaking about innovation.  I would estimate that the EROEI of ethanol, methanol, and PHEVs would increase as oppose to decrease like oil.  IE: convert the combines to ethanol, make PHEV semis etc etc...

More related material by Ms. Korin-  - to me this demonstrates how little the US can expect to control OPEC essay83606/gal-luft-anne-korin/terrorism -goes-to-sea.html  -speaks about the reality of having terrorists specifically targeting oil to strain our economy

by esfbene 2008-08-05 09:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Anne Korin: Why Shouldn't We Believe Her?

At last, someone who:

  • asked the right question
  • gathered the data
  • analyzed the data
  • provided logical steps to the solution
  • can coherently explain it

This is an absolute breath of fresh air compared to the usual so-called pundits we hear.

Cartels are notoriously difficult to breakup, so her 'salt' analogy works for me. If we accept that OPEC will adjust its output to keep the supply at a 'constant' level, any solution that doesn't address that is probably just 'pissing into the wind'. (Gas tax holidays et al).

Anne Korin's proposal is well thought out, but given that the country is now closer to fascism than democracy and the current gaping lack of political statesman; I suspect things will have to get much worst before real solutions like this are implemented. Like mass-public-action marching on the streets kind of worse.

by Botony 2008-08-05 09:34AM | 0 recs
by vhm9ks 2008-08-05 11:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Anne Korin: Why Shouldn't We Believe Her?
The talk by Anne Korin to which Rob McCagain refers in his thread-starting blog entry on this page was at the Young America's Foundation's (YAF) 30th National Conservative Student Conference in Washingon, DC, going on right now (at least "right now" as of this writing). Her talk can be viewed both on the YAF web site, and on the C-SPAN web site (though on the C-SPAN web site, it may only be visible viahe link I'm about to give for a couple more weeks). On the YAF web site, her talk is singled-out and easier to access than on the C-Span site, but the audio on the YAF site version is comparatively sub-standard. On the C-SPAN web site you must "fast-forward" (e.g., drag the little progress indicator thingy at the bottom of the vide player) to her part of the two-hour broadcast (which is approximately halfway through it, at the 1 hour point, where her talk then begins); and the image is kinda' small, but the audio is superior. So, take your pick...

Here's the link to the C-SPAN video (must copy and paste):
rtsp:// military.rm

Click here to see the YAF version.

(I see that there are already pieces of the C-SPAN broadcast, with the good audio, on Youtube. Let's hope that someone puts the entire talk, with both good audio and video, up on Youtube soon.)

As a lifelong Democrat, and as an instinctive liberal/progresive (meaning, simply, that liberal/progressive positions just seemed to come naturally to me -- despite my parents being Republicans -- ever since I was a kid, before I really and truly even understood such things as the notion of left vs. right), I am somewhat more inclined to keep channel surfing whenever I happen upon a speaker on C-SPAN who has the Young America's Foundation logo and URL on the background behind her. Why I paused long enough to allow Ms Korin's words to engage me when I did so yesterday I don't know, but I'm sure glad I did.

In my opinion, the cautionary words of sail59115 on this page are well worth factoring-in to our assessment of Ms Korin's presentation. She self-identifies as a conservative; and she is clearly, expressly and unabashedly anti-quota, anti-tariff, anti-taxes, anti-subsidy... anti pretty much all types of economic control, generally; and she wishes we could have a completely free and unfettered global marketplace. I say "wishes we could have" because among the things most notable (and attractive) about her is her practicality. She might like a free and unfettered global marketplace, with no economic controls, but she understands that the political and economic realities of the marketplace we actually have make that impractical. This, in my opinion, helps make her and her sensibilities accessible and appreciable even to progressives... hence the reason, I think, that she so got my attention, and kept it for the remainder of the C-SPAN broadcast. In fact, I watched/listened to it again (and even recorded her part of said broadcast to my local hard drive, for future reference) today.

It was more than just her straightforward, non-sensical, articulate style of delivery that made her hour-long slice of the C-SPAN pie yesterday appealing and enlightening. There's no doubt, I think, that she is, in a word, brilliant. Note that she gave her entire presentation in the main without looking at a single note. While some of what she said in her main presentation may have been so well-rehearsed and nearly-memorized that that is why it came off so well, her organization of thought, her recall, and her articulateness during Q&A confirms that this woman is operating on a little more brain power than most of us.

How I missed being aware of this remarkable woman until yesterday, I don't know. I'm about as impressed with her, just generally, as I've ever been with any person of her alleged political sensibilities. And I use the word "alleged" because from what I observed of her, I suspect that if she had a character flaw it would be the lengths to which she goes to convince herself of the label she has assigned to her socio-political positions given the reality of what she actually says while trying to express said label. Of course, I concede that the validity of that assessment relies inordinately heavily upon what the word "conservative" has come to mean in today's post-contract-with-America world. In fact, Ms Korin's self-identification is probably more appropriate by an older standard.

Evidence of this comes from her own mouth in response to one of the questioners when she said: "Conservative does not equal allegiance to one political party. Blind allegiance to any political party, in my view, is never good. Conservative means an allegiance to a set of principles. If people are not representing these principles, they do not deserve the support of the conservative movement. It's that simple; and this is a much bigger discussion than the oil issue."

My suggestion that assessing her requires an older standard simply refers to how much remarks like that remind me of pre-1970s Republicans... Republicans which many of we who are yesterday's liberals (and today's progressives) wish more Republicans were more like today.

When watching the video, listen to the powerful and no-nonsense way that she responds to some of the questions during Q&A. A couple of young turks in the audience who thought they could take her on were summarily dispatched by her and her take-no-prisoners assessments and point-making.

I like this woman. I don't agree with everything she said, but I like the body of her logic and reasoning for saying them. I think that Obama, when he becomes president (maybe even before) should recruit her as a top energy advisor. She is the very embodiment of the type of extraordinarily bright persons around which successful leaders throughout history have surrounded themselves. Of course there would need to be others among said advisors who would counter-balance Korin's slightly right-leaning advice, but were I president I'd certainly shut-up and pay attention whenever she opened her mouth.

I could not have more respect for her... no matter how she self-identifies. This is a special woman from whom I believe we're all going to hear a lot more in coming years. I, for one, am looking forward to it.
by DesElms 2008-08-05 11:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Anne Korin: Why Shouldn't We Believe Her?

I could not have summed up my reactions to hearing her speak any better than you just have.  Thank you

by vhm9ks 2008-08-05 12:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Anne Korin: Why Shouldn't We Believe Her?
Yeah, well... in re-reading it, I realize I made mistakes like writing "non-sensical" instead of "no-nonsensical" or "no-nonsense" and a couple of other pretty stupid mistakes. I should have used "preview" mode. Sure wish there was an edit mode. At any rate, I hope the readers will forgive me. I'll be more careful next time.
by DesElms 2008-08-05 04:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Anne Korin: Why Shouldn't We Believe Her?

She is a laser sharp, synthetic and analytical thinker.  She actually puts our stellar politicians to shame in her ability to state the problem,back it up with the facts, and pragmaticallys state what the most effective course of action is to take.  She has a powerful mind and I agree, that she should be Obama's top energy advisor.  Also, Paul Roberts from Mother Jones has written several energy articles and predicted where we would be at this time, years ago.  I think we have it backwards. Perhaps they should be running the country.  I think Anne Korin was outstanding in her presentation and yes, I agree, "brilliant".

by tilly 2008-08-05 04:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Anne Korin: Why Shouldn't We Believe Her?

Several people have suggested that Obama should bring Ms Korin on as a top energy advisor.  I strongly agree;  we should press his campaign to do so.  There is tremendous strength in her ideas not only to attack our oil problem, but to determine the identity of our next President.

In the meantime, McCain has recently brought on board as a senior energy advisor another key member of the SetAmericaFree organization, former CIA director (and Democratic appointee) James Woolsey. cs/uselection2008/johnmccain/2169365/Joh n-McCain-hires-former-CIA-director-Jim-W oolsey-as-green-advisor.html

Imagine the debates with McCain espousing SetAmericaFree's Blueprint and Obama reminding us to check the air in our tires.  I truly would be comfortable with either McCain or Obama in office.  My vote will go to the one that is ready to attack our vulnerabilities in our oil dependency.

by hotbrightlights 2008-08-05 11:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Anne Korin: Why Shouldn't We Believe Her?

I heard her on C-Span Radio too, and I was transfixed!  She's a genius!  She puts everything together, from sugar to gasoline, into one extremely interesting and well-reasoned picture.

by netgk 2008-08-05 06:49PM | 0 recs
Story on Muckety

Found this story on

Anne Korin's profile is rising with the price of crude oil

Anne Korin is accustomed to writing for policy wonks who read Foreign Affairs and testifying about global security before politicians in Congress, but with the rising price of oil her message may soon be reaching a wider audience.

Korin's recent speech at the National Conservative Student Conference on reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil seems to have touched the nerves of audience members and viewers of CSPAN who saw her speech. She is the co-director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security and was one of the keynote speakers during Monday's opening session of the weeklong conference, hosted by the Young America's Foundation in Washington.

More here -> korin%e2%80%99s-profile-is-rising-with-t he-price-of-crude-oil/4442

by neohuh 2008-08-06 10:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Anne Korin: Why Shouldn't We Believe Her?
C-SPAN seems, now, to have archived Ms Korin's talk referenced on this page; isolated it from other talks aired at the same time; and has given it its own access page.

To access the page featuring Ms Korin's talk on the C-SPAN web site, click here

To view (once you're on the access page): Click on the red Flash video "f" button, under "Watch", on the right. (Your Adobe Flash Player must be installed and properly working as a browser helper object in order for it to work.)
by DesElms 2008-08-11 05:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Anne Korin: Why Shouldn't We Believe Her?

I just heard Korin on NPR's "Onn Point" - Wow.

Wow! What an uninformed fast talker! Isn't anyone else concerned by her complete lack of credentials in the energy field? She seems to me to be an insta-pundit. Be careful, people!

Listen again to what she has to say and then fact check her. What struck me about her was the overt racism and Islamaphobia that marked her speech.

Now let me start by saying that yes, I am all for cutting dependence on foreign oil. And no, there are not many people that are more critical of the Kingdom than me. But, I did have a few energy classes in grad school... which is more than Korin can say in her bio.

First off, the current oil crisis is not because of OPEC. Anyone who says so hasn't read anything in at least 5 years. Saudi's strategic goal since the 70s was to keep oil between $20-$25 per barrel. And they fought to keep it that way. Remember $9/barrel oil in 1999? That was because of Saudi was trying to hurt Venezuela for destabilizing the market.

Anyone who makes money off oil will tell you that high prices are catastrophic because it encourages long-term independence. Plus, extra income leads to waste.

So why doesn't Saudi produce more oil to lower the price? Simply, because it can't. Saudi is nearly maxed out. They're producing at more than 90% capacity. So why not go full speed? Try running your computer or car at 90% for a while. See what happens.

The fact is that global demand is now so high, no oil producer can affect it. Remember supply and demand? The oil market today is defined by high demand, low supply. Nothing can change that. Not even Saudi.

The fact that Korin doesn't get that is enough to betray her lack of knowledge.

Plus, listen to her "facts" about Saudi... and notice she doesn't say peep about Venezuela or Russia - only the real bad Arabs. Hmmm...

That's not to say that Saudi isn't governed by a despicable, dictatorial regime. If anyone would like the anti-Wahabi rant, I will be more than happy to dish it out. But Korin clearly doesn't know how the Kingdom works or what Wahabism is, let alone what drives Salafi-Jihadi terrorist groups. I wish it were as easy as petrodollars.

Now, I'm sure that I would agree with some of what she has to say, but she says a lot of BS, too. I don't know anything about her except from what came out of her own mouth in that interview - and she struck me as a huckster. Just be very careful, people. She's not as fast as her smooth words make her out to be.

by Menaus 2008-08-12 06:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Anne Korin: Why Shouldn't We Believe Her?

This is in response to the last post. I know that it is important to watch out for people who are doing things for the wrong reason, and to be weary of recommendations that are tainted by bias. Having met Ms. Korin, and learning about what she does and why, I can say that the allegation does not suit her.

I can think of a few good reasons why she "singles out" the Saudis (she does worry about other OPEC nations and some about Russia). The Saudis openly fund Wahhabi Islam Madrassas, and are the main source of funding for Jihad Islamists/whatever you want to call the people who want to convert or kill us in the name of Islam. She only recently got into the political realm with Set America Free; for much time before, she simply researched the issues with the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security ( After 7 years of work at Stanford for her PhD, she quit in order to pursue this issue full time. What goes on in the Middle East in Arabic is very different than what comes out of it in English. There are (translated from Arabic) videos of former-insiders who warn us: the Muslim world believes that it is a miracle from G-d that the Saudis (who since the country's inception professed Wahabbi Islam, and was the Arab World's equivalent to Wyoming until they struck A LOT of oil) have come into such wealth. She doesn't make up the fact that it is a fundamental element of the Islamist/whatever-you-want-to-call-it strategy that our Achilles heel of oil dependence be used as a pressure point when push comes to shove (comes to killing civilians). Amidst the compelling case being built up against these terror funders, the West is allowed zero information as to how much oil they have left or at how much of their capacity they are operating at. If one spends a couple years of their life (being an Arabic speaker) looking into the mounting evidence that something is up with OPEC -- it's hard to think otherwise. The only way that one can say that OPEC (whose members both fund and are at the mercy of Islamists) is not helping to orchestrate this is to belittle them. These Islamists mean what they say, and they say what they mean (in Arabic, that is). In addition, the fact that terror cells target energy infrastructure makes it irrelevant whether a State purposely withholds oil from the market - in wartime our economy would be exposed to such attacks.

What she says is not racist because it is based on a very compelling case against OPEC. She worries about Russia too, but the Russians are less subtle than the open proclamations by OPEC's friends that they want to ruin our economy and hurt us.

As a human - I'm with you that it really stinks to think of a group of people without the best presumptions in mind. But at a certain point one has to accept the truth that there are people who really do want to hurt us, and we need to protect ourselves from them. To give (most) OPEC members the benefit of the doubt on this issue to overlook the evidence, and it's not smart policy.

In any case, her policy recommendations are really good.

by Joni1 2008-08-13 12:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Anne Korin: Why Shouldn't We Believe Her?


Also, if OPEC thinks that high prices are "catastrophic," why did it only agree to raising their production by 500,000 barrels only the second time Bush came to grovel. If it was catastrophic to them, and they had such capacity, then they should have gotten that going when they saw prices going up.

Also, where did you get that "more than 90%" figure from? It certainly didn't come from any on-the-ground engineers' reports.

Just to be clear on what you've said: Because OPEC has upped its production from 30 to 32 million bpd since 30 years ago, and that they are operating "near capacity" would mean to say that 30 years ago, in 1977, they were operating "near capacity."  Forget technological advances etc. such that the rest of the world has been able to double its production.

This position is just too gullible. It gives a huge presumption of amity to those who openly profess their hatred of us.

by Joni1 2008-08-13 01:05PM | 0 recs


Advertise Blogads