Any sane analysis of Russia’s recent behavior toward the United States and the West ends with the conclusion that the oligarchs in Moscow see no reason to fear reprisals for their aggression.
Their operating premise is that they are big and strong enough to withstand the obtuse semi-threats from President Obama and the EU.
One reason for this hubris is energy. Even with an economy in shambles Russia is still a leading exporter of energy. They provide the lion’s share of the natural gas needs of Europe.
Russia’s aggression is not limited to Soviet era annexation and intimidation of their former Soviet Republics. Invoking unpleasant memories of OPEC in the 1970’s when the cartel used oil as a political weapon against the West, Russia has been known to use natural gas a political weapon. Clearview Energy Partners of Washington DC notes in a report “three times in the last decade Russia has cut off its natural supply to Ukraine.” They also note “about two-thirds of Russian gas exports traverse Ukraine.”
Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine gives Republicans in Congress the opportunity to revisit the argument that energy security is a matter of national security. It is time to use energy as an electoral weapon. Reshaping domestic energy policy at home should give the GOP another offensive card to play.
Our reliance on imported oil allows our enemies to attack each and every American consumer from the other side of the globe. We have the option to end that threat, strengthen our economy and improve national security. It is long past time for the president and Democrats to stop impeding obvious and smart energy options.
While nations hostile to our own best interests continue to drill for oil, develop new energy sources and gobble up resources around the globe, Democrats in Washington can’t make the obvious choices.
Spending $100 on a barrel of oil produced in the United States creates more jobs in this country than spending $100 on a barrel of oil produced overseas.
One solution could be more drilling in Alaska. Oil production from Alaska has plummeted from over two million barrels per day in 1988 to 572,000 barrels per day in 2011. This is not happening because Alaska is running out of oil. It’s because Democrats in Washington long ago ran out of common sense and political courage. Now, the Trans-Alaska pipeline is in serious jeopardy of shutting down because we aren’t producing enough oil to keep it full.
The president’s solution? Offer to open an area that is relatively unappealing to oil and gas producers and claim that he’s for Alaskan production, except for in the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve, which we all know holds massive potential for improving America’s energy security.
Another solution is aggressive development of natural gas, specifically the Marcellus Shale. We can drive our vehicles on natural gas at less than half the price of gasoline. This is not disputed. It is, however, subject to the same blanket opposition the professional environmentalists throw up to any domestic energy production that’s not solar, wind, or algae.