In a classic example of a joke needing a punch line, President Joe Biden passes the offering plate around to a who’s who of totalitarian regimes while blocking increased oil production from supplies literally under our feet.
The list of oppressive nations that can rush in and save the day includes Iran, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. Yes, the same Iran we hope will not become nuclear, the same Venezuela strongly allied with Moscow and the same Saudis. Their government murdered a journalist in cold blood for daring to criticize its medieval leadership.
Talk about picking your poison. On the bright side, those mean tweets are much less frequent nowadays!
As gas prices blow record highs, it’s apparent even within the Biden administration that something must be done. On Tuesday, the White House announced it is banning oil, natural gas and oil imports from Russia in response to the invasion.
So prices are going even higher. Fair enough, as there is bipartisan support for the move, the US gets less than 3% of its oil imports from Moscow, but now what?
To begin with, administration officials were in Caracas over the weekend for rare one-on-one talks with the Venezuelan government over easing oil sanctions on the country. Which, by the way, has the largest oil reserves of any nation. However, the two countries’ history is tainted from colonial times to Hugo Chávez’s departed and current leader Nicholas Maduro.
So, what about Iran?
Besides being the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, though Putin is giving them a run for their money, there’s the pesky fact that the state is a well-known pursuer of nuclear power and very likely nuclear weapons. The deal that former President Trump pulled the US out of is still on the table and sitting at the table is none other than Russia.
The US is in negotiations in Vienna to restart the dormant nuclear deal. On Tuesday, even as the Biden administration ended energy imports from Russia, congressional Republicans introduced legislation called the “No Oil From Terrorists Act” to prevent precisely what the president is considering.
Which leaves Saudi Arabia. Are they a much better option?
Here are the facts.
In April 2020, the national average for a gallon of gas hit a three-year low of $1.74 and was much lower in large parts. On his first day in office, Biden signed the executive order that halted the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
By the end of February, seven weeks later, gas was $2.70. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is partly to blame for the pain. American families feel at the pump, but so is an ill-advised but easily reversible act on Biden’s first day in office.