Biden team sacrifices Ukraine for Russian and Iranian oil

It shouldn’t have been a tough decision for the Biden administration: push Russian President Vladimir Putin into economic oblivion or hedge his bets with thousands of Ukrainian lives at stake and hope that Russian fossils can fix soaring fuel price.

Unfortunately for those bearing the brunt of Putin’s murderous rampage, Team Biden failed to act on the economic engine that fuels its ambitions before it escalated into a devastating war.

The time to close Russia’s fossil lifeline is long gone.

After years of accounting for less than 0.5% of annual U.S. imports of oil and refined products, Russia has steadily increased its share over the past decade, peaking at more than 7%, overtaking Saudi Arabia. as the third largest exporter to America.

The United States imported about 18 million barrels of Russian oil per month, filling the void created by the Venezuela sanctions in 2019. Russian oil is a good substitute for Venezuelan crude, and Russia has likely undermined others potential suppliers.

This may seem insignificant at first glance. But exports of fossil and related hydrocarbons account for around 45-50% of Russian GDP. One has to ask: if Europeans who import significantly higher percentages of Russian hydrocarbons can accept serious cuts, why is America still helping to fund Russian military wars and global adventurism?

Russian President Vladimir Putin is using US oil purchases to fuel his invasion.
Photo by SERGEI GUNEYEV/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images

Replacing Russian oil with other sources would have been relatively easy just a few months ago. Now the United States is playing dictator poker with countries that should never have been part of this equation.

How did we come here? Several US administrations have used different levels of punishment against other nations. Some are singled out for permanent opprobrium, and others, guilty of far more egregious crimes against humanity, barely receive a slap on the wrist. Russia, a longtime purveyor of death and destruction using illegal weapons to maximize pain and suffering, was in the wrist club.

Venezuela, ruled by a man using oil resources to starve and torture his own compatriots, suffered maximalist pain through sanctions in 2019. Nicolás Maduro then turned to this unholy trio of Russia, China and Iran, a country whose crimes often pale in comparison, to save its oil empire.

Then there is Iran. Regardless of its sins – the slaughter of Syrian civilians, the destruction of Lebanon by its emissary Hezbollah, turning Yemen into a bloodbath to prove a point, a human rights record that defies description – Iran has always managed to coax his way back into the good graces of those foolish enough to believe Tehran’s latest story.

The United States imports 18 million barrels of Russian oil per month.
The United States imports 18 million barrels of Russian oil per month.
Andrei Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Biden team is working feverishly in Vienna to strike a deal with Iran and its key enabler, Russia. He is also scrambling to put officials on the ground in Caracas to tell Maduro that all is forgiven if he ditch Russia and start selling his oil to America again, which it will gladly start buying again.

A cynic may notice a theme: teaming up with dictators to crush an even worse dictator – without whom, coincidentally, Iran and Venezuela would have been far less powerful in the first place.

In a few days, the actors of this farce of negotiation in Vienna would like to announce an agreement with Iran. Russia will likely be the guarantor because Iran already has highly enriched uranium, or HEU. It is no exaggeration to assume that a key part of the deal will be Russia’s commitment to ensure that it has or monitors Iran’s highly enriched uranium. Negotiators could even announce an agreement allowing Russia to convert this HEU into low-enriched uranium for commercial reactors.

People protesting the Russian invasion of Ukraine in Washington, DC on February 26, 2022.
People protesting the Russian invasion of Ukraine in Washington, DC on February 26, 2022.
Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Minimal or no US or Western role in HEU surveillance, just good words and empty promises from Russia and Iran. Unsurprisingly, in another last-minute ploy, Russia is seeking sanctions relief and guarantees under the deal.

The second part of this deal is to lift sanctions on Iran, followed soon after by a flood of Iranian oil and gas onto the world market, essential for a country in search of hard currency. A fundamental law of economics is that the more oil there is on the market, the lower the price; the Biden administration is betting Iranian and Venezuelan oil will cause less pain at the pump.

This is why the Biden team did not act immediately to stop the import of Russian crude: the Iran deal and an economically dubious premise about the effect a US cut would have on oil markets. And that’s why he responded with twists to every Ukrainian request until the bombs were dropped.

Lest anyone raise the specter of climate change and the need to accelerate the fossil transition, the agreements at play suggest that, miraculously, climate change is only happening in the skies above the United States and nowhere. go elsewhere.

Debra Cagan is a senior member of the Transatlantic Leadership Network and a former official with the Department of State and Defense.

New York Post

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