Ukraine and Russia have dominated the headlines recently. Ever since Putin moved troops to the Ukrainian border, the threat of an invasion has been looming. In an extreme escalation, Putin recognized two breakaway regions known as the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. This is in some ways similar to the 2014 annexation of Crimea. Of course, this situation is slightly different because Russia has not annexed the region, not yet at least, but this does not mean that they do not have an ulterior motive. By separating Ukraine, they are slowly chipping away at the country, but more than this, it also gives the Russians influence over these areas, and the regions have been used to station so-called “peace-keeping troops”.
Separatists regions in Ukraine inherently must have ties with Russia, because in this region the only thing that matters is recognition from Russia. If Russia recognizes Donetsk and Luhansk, they are real countries and any action taken by Ukraine or another entity would be viewed as a direct attack to an ally of Russia, but if it is not recognized, then Ukraine has complete authority over these regions. This is the reason that the recognition of the regions, as well as placing “peace keeping troops” in the area is a direct escalation.
Because of this, Joe Biden announced new sanctions against Russia. Don’t blame Biden for sanctioning Russia, if anything, this action is too weak. While Russia is not a major threat to America, China certainly is. By allowing the invasion of Ukraine we would signal that we are incapable of responding to the expansion of our enemies, and China would inevitably invade Taiwan and the South China sea. It is necessary to respond to Russia, but the effects of these sanctions will cause yet another drastic increase in the price of oil.
When Jen Psaki was asked about this, she nonchalantly responded by saying, ”yeah, energy prices, exactly.” This response encapsulates the administration’s attitude towards the oil industry perfectly. It is simply assumed that the effects of a sanction would inevitably affect the prices of oil in the US, but there is no good reason that this should be the case. The only reason that this will affect the price of oil is that we depend on Russia for our energy needs. Russia exports massive amounts of oil, and we import a lot of this oil. Without this oil imported from Russia it will be impossible for our supply chain to keep up with the steady demand for oil, and shortages will occur, causing the price to increase drastically.
This was not always the case. Under the Trump administration, the oil industry flourished in America. In fact, the industry was so beneficial that Biden’s campaign team knew he would lose the election if there were fears he would shut down the industry, so Joe Biden explicitly campaigned on the promise that he would not attack oil. However, just months into his presidency, Joe Biden shut down the keystone pipeline.
The administration is well aware of the vast benefits that energy independence would have, but they are more concerned about climate change — or at least outsourcing climate change to foreign powers for political reasons. Before, we were not dependent on other countries for oil, and this oil independence had four main benefits. First, energy independence is essential to national security because it prevents energy blackmail, and Russia probably would not have the international leverage to invade Ukraine if the US could still supply the world with energy.
Energy independence also lowers the price of oil locally which is a major advantage of oil independence in and of itself. One factor commonly overlooked is employment. The energy sector employs thousands of Americans with well-paying jobs, but when Biden took office, many of these jobs were lost. Finally, the lower price of fuel has broader effects on the economy. This is because almost every industry relies on transportation. When transportation is less expensive, profit margins grow, and prices go down. When transportation is more expensive, the opposite is true. This is a major reason for high inflation rates.
We should not simply let the Biden administration get away with this because it is justified in the name of sanctioning Russia. There is no reason that we had to destroy our energy independence in the first place, and this is one of the Biden’s administration’s greatest failures. The tension in Ukraine only serves to show the danger of energy policy that is shaped by environmental activists.
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