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Obama’s ‘war’ on coal bad news for Keystone, Dick Cheney argues

Dick Cheney says the threat of world terrorism is now worse than it was on 9/11.

David J. Phillip/AP

Dick Cheney accuses the Obama administration of waging "war" on coal and other traditional energy sources which leaves the controversial Keystone XL pipeline out of the picture.

Instead, the current administration is busy trying to pick winners among alternatives like solar and wind power through subsidies, the former U.S. vice-president told a business audience at the Toronto Global Forum Thursday.

When Mr. Cheney last ventured to Calgary a couple of years ago, he expressed confidence that Keystone would have no trouble winning approval. Here was a privately financed project that met all the necessary safeguards, had support from both Republicans and Democrats, would generate plenty of American jobs and would be carrying a badly needed product across states like Nebraska, which is already crisscrossed by dozens of other pipelines and isn't known as a garden spot in any case. But now he knows better. "I haven't been back to Calgary since," he joked.

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While Mr. Cheney, 72, was expounding on what he regards as the Obama administration's disastrous domestic and international policies, a small knot of protesters gathered across the street from the Metro Toronto Convention Centre demanding that he be arrested for his role in alleged war crimes authorized by the Bush administration. They were badly outnumbered by police and security personnel.

The old partisan warrior poked fun at his image, saying: "I'm going to put on my Darth Vader helmet," and then launching into one of his typical assaults on President Barack Obama's foreign policy, which he argues has emboldened enemies and worries allies.

Business people and bureaucrats expecting to hear more about global energy issues instead heard a lecture on the threat of world terrorism, which Mr. Cheney claims is now worse than it was on 9/11. That, he said, is because al-Qaeda and like-minded groups have been re-energized by developments in the Middle East and North Africa, including the civil war in Syria, the worsening violence in Iraq and the emergence of several countries as potential safe havens.

Like most fellow conservative Republicans, he laid all the blame for the recent U.S. government shutdown and the continuing Washington gridlock at the feet of President Obama and Senate Democrats.

Asked why the two sides can't reach a compromise, he said it's hard to see that happening with President Obama taking a path "fundamentally at odds" with U.S. principles, practices and history. It would mean Republicans going "halfway down the road to damnation."

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