by Brandon J. Weichert
Under former President Donald J. Trump, for the first time in decades, the United States became a net exporter of natural gas and oil. That helped to keep global energy prices relatively low. It also gave the United States leverage over the international system in ways it had not enjoyed since before the 1970s.
Alas, the propagation of the novel coronavirus from Wuhan, China, along with the ceaseless lies of the Western “mainstream” media made such a prosperous and secure future under Trump an impossibility.
In the eight months since assuming office under a cloud of controversy, Joe Biden has done more to harm America’s inherent strategic advantages in the global energy market than any U.S. rival could have imagined. Under Biden, the United States has gone from being a net exporter of global energy to begging the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to produce more oil for the world to consume.
Because the Biden Administration killed the much-needed KeystoneXL Pipeline that would have linked Canadian energy sources with American refiners. Once inaugurated, the Biden Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enacted a bevy of onerous regulations that ensured American fossil fuel producers would not produce their essential product out of fear of retribution from vengeful federal regulators.
Biden also killed similar pipelines linking northern Michigan with Canada. Meanwhile, global supply chain woes following the painful COVID-19 lockdowns from the previous year ensured that there would be even more strain on the already stretched global energy supply. Plus, the reopening of the world’s major economies, coupled with the massive government spending that occurred over the previous year to combat COVID-19, forced a spike in demand that was not commensurate with supply—further straining that already limited energy supply and sending the price of energy into the stratosphere.
Higher energy prices not only harmed American consumers but, over the last year, it has given renewed life to the Putin regime in Russia. Since Russia is a major producer of natural gas and oil, Moscow needs consistently high prices of energy to survive—and dominate—in their region of the world.
To top it off, Biden, a man Western media insisted would be the toughest world leader on Russia since Batu Khan and his Mongol horde invaded that region in 13th century A.D., then removed all of the Trump-era sanctions on the Russian’s planned Nord Stream II (NS2) pipeline that was set to link Russian natural gas with Germany—thereby making Europe more dependent on Russia than at any other time in the postwar era.
All these moves by Biden amounted to completely unnecessary self-inflicted wounds that only empowered Russia at a time when Russia had been kept back from fulfilling its most egregious foreign policy designs, thanks to the energy and foreign policies of the previous Trump Administration.
As America under Biden got less energy independent and softer on Russia, Vladimir Putin licked his lusty lips. Finally, prices in the natural gas and oil sectors were consistently high enough to support Putin’s military plans for Europe. Biden’s presidency was heralded as having the most aggressive Russian foreign policy in decades. Today, as Russian forces amass along their contested border with Eastern Ukraine, the question is not “if” Russia invades and attempts to shatter the U.S.-led regional order there, but “when”? And given previous guarantees made to Kiev by Washington and Brussels, a Russian invasion of Ukraine could be devastating for the U.S.-led regional order in Europe.
If Biden were serious about keeping the status quo in Europe, he’d reduce restrictions on the production of American natural gas and oil, restore sanctions on the Nord Stream II pipeline, and start shipping America’s excess energy capacity to Poland and other parts of Europe to offset the loss of the Nord Stream II pipeline. Then, Biden would invest in a robust space-based missile defense force to reduce Russia’s nuclear threat, while empowering militarily competent nations, like Poland, to take the lead in keeping Russia out of Europe.
Ukraine is probably a lost cause at this point. But the rest of Eastern Europe needn’t be. Biden doesn’t need to go to war with Russia to preserve American access and influence in Europe. All he needs to do is give Europe—specifically the Eastern European countries most threatened by Russian revanchism—the tools it needs to defend itself while flooding Europe with cheap sources of North American energy so as to offset any dependence on Russian energy.
Maybe America can’t keep Russia out of Europe forever. But Washington can complicate Moscow’s most aggressive plans for Europe, giving the Europeans the time they need to stand up their own defenses. The world is at the precipice of another major European conflict largely because Biden has formulated truly bad policies that have led Europe and the United States to this position of weakness. All of this in one year. Imagine what three more of the Biden Administration will bring us.
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Brandon J. Weichert is a geopolitical analyst who manages The Weichert Report. He is a contributing editor at American Greatness and a contributor at Asia Times . He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers). His second book, The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (Republic Book Publishers) is due in Fall of 2022. Weichert is an educator who travels the country speaking to military and business audiences about space, geopolitics, technology, and the future of war. He can be followed via Twitter: @WeTheBrandon.
Photo “Putin and Biden” by kremlin.ru CC BY 4.0.