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President Joe Biden and his handlers launched their party’s battle campaign against planet-ravaging American petroleum use and export on his very first day in office by capping off the Keystone XL pipeline and placing moratoriums on oil and gas drilling on federal lands and waters.
Then, just earlier this week, Team Biden terminated drilling permits in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Isn’t it remarkably paradoxical then, to wonder why that very same administration would now decide to lift Trump’s sanctions on the corporate entity and its CEO who are overseeing the construction of Russia’s Arctic Gazprom Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea into Germany which will bypass and isolate the fledgling democracy of Ukraine from Western Europe?
After all, didn’t Biden promise to draw a contrast between himself and Trump by vowing there would be no more “rolling over in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions”?
The White House is now setting up an empty rhetoric of U.S. objection to Nord Stream 2 completion in which the Biden administration will continue to sanction ships involved in finishing the project while refusing to sanction the company and its chairman (Putin crony and former East German intelligence officer Matthias Warnig) who are in charge and accountable.
This move seems bizarrely out of touch with U.S. Secretary Antony Blinken’s confirmation hearing statement, “I am determined to do whatever we can to prevent that completion” of Nord Stream 2.
Michael McCaul, the top-ranking House Republican on foreign affairs, characterized Nord Stream 2 as “a Russian malign influence project that threatens to deepen Europe’s energy dependence on Moscow, render Ukraine more vulnerable to Russian aggression and provide billions of dollars to Putin’s coffers.”
Even a member of the president’s own party, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, said in a statement: “I urge the administration to rip off the Band-Aid, lift these waivers, and move forward with the congressionally mandated sanctions.”
Pipeline completion, which may occur this summer without intervention, will give Putin enormous leverage in Europe. Russia has a long record of withholding critical supplies to neighbors during disputes, including cutting off gas to Ukraine.
Timing for lifting the sanctions is particularly ironic, occurring just weeks following a Russian-origin May ransomware cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline which left thousands of petrol stations across the US southeast with fuel shortages.
Although U.S. officials have stated that they don’t believe the Russian government was directly responsible, the line between criminal hacking groups and state-backed cyber operations is often murky in Russia, China, and elsewhere.
As discussed in my book, Cyberwarfare: Targeting America, Our Infrastructure, and Our Future, governments often recruit hackers and services from deniably independent groups to carry out their own objectives.
Russia, one of the world’s three largest oil producers and second-biggest natural gas exporter, will also be a big winner in the Biden administration’s reversal of Trump’s withdrawal of the U.S. from the 2015 Paris climate accord.
With an economy smaller than Italy’s, oil and gas provide 40%-50% of the government’s operating budget, 55%-60% of export earnings, and an estimated 30% of Russia’s GDP.
Accordingly, those oil and gas revenues are key to financing Russia’s global military power and projecting Moscow’s presence as an important supply source to China and other import-dependent nations.
Meanwhile, Nord Stream 2 natural gas supplies will be a big boon to another big Paris party, the EU, as well … most particularly to its big Economic powerhouse Germany.
In attempting to meet its carbon emission reduction commitments, Germany installed more wind capacity than any other EU nation and ranked as third-largest by 2018. Between 1999 and 2013, Germany also installed more solar capacity than any other nation, much of it imported from China. Of the two, solar was 40% less efficient than wind.
As a result, 40 million German households witnessed the total amount they paid for electricity increase an estimated 50% in nine years between 2006 and 2015.
Over eight years up to 2014, large business and industrial users wound up paying about one-quarter more for electricity than the EU average. Along with spiraling costs, adding intermittent wind and solar electricity also challenged power reliability.
Up until 2008, Germany’s grid had never been interrupted. In 2012 there were 1,000 brownouts, followed by more than 2,500 in 2013.
Sometimes wind or solar generates more power than the grid can safely handle or that its consumers can use. This has necessitated Germany having to pay Switzerland and the Netherlands to take “garbage power” off their grid.
The Biden energy agenda will benefit Russia, cut off oil and gas independence and exports, and terminate an American energy resource advantage that has stimulated over $200 billion of investment in new factories, generated millions of jobs, produced vital federal and state revenues, and reduced the U.S. trade deficit by several hundred billion dollars.
And after all, wasn’t the original idea behind the far-left Democrat war against fossil fuels supposed to be about finally protecting the planet from the menace of billions of years of climate change?
How does such a strategy protect us against the world’s greatest existential threat?
I’m referring, of course, to climate change – certainly not to Democrat apathy regarding Marxism, China, or even Russia now that Trump is out of power to “collude” with.
It seems to me that terminating our own fossil-fueled pipeline to energy independence from hostile adversaries while de facto condoning another that reduces our markets and makes our leveraged allies reliant on Russian supplies isn’t a winning green new deal for America.
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