Last week, Joe Biden’s Department of the Treasury agreed to waive sanctions on Venezuela so Chevron could drill oil in Venezuela. This comes on top of the administration’s policy of only selectively enforcing oil sanctions on Iran. It makes no economic sense as the administration is making difficult the production of fossil fuels at home which create well-paying jobs and generate economic growth. In fact, it makes no sense at all no matter through what lens you look at it.
The Biden administration, not to mention the rest of the Democratic Party, has an ideological objection to fossil fuels produced in the United States. Since the Biden administration took office, several oil refineries in the United States have shut down. The new administration’s anti-fossil-fuel agenda has made doing business a long-term risk for the oil and gas industry. Meanwhile, the governor of California has pledged to end the extraction of oil in his state.
As one of his first acts as president, Biden killed the production of Keystone Pipeline. A Barack Obama administration study had found that the production would cause net-zero emission. The act was not as much about emission concerns as a new, pompous administration’s sending a signal to the world that a war on fossil fuels was under way. Mounting regulations and court battles followed.
Meanwhile, the administration agreed to lift the sanction on the Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline, allowing its completion. Not because Russian natural gas production is cleaner—rather, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm has called it the dirtiest natural gas in the world. It was because it wasn’t American. Germany needed a gas supply, and the only alternative was American liquidated natural gas, more expensive than Russian gas. And bringing down the price by increasing the supply was a nonstarter for the administration.
The administration defends itself against criticism that it has granted 9,000 new drilling permits, but this obscures the facts. It has stuck to its campaign promise not to allow new drillings on federal lands and waters, a lot of which in Alaska and Gulf of Mexico include large sums of oil and gas. On top of that, there is a long way from new permits to extracting new oil.
With fewer refineries, producing oil and gas at home has become more challenging. Moreover, extraction requires building infrastructures in those lands, and the uncertainties over the future energy policy prevent many who hold these permits from operationalizing them. The fear that, once the prices are under control, they will become the enemy in Biden’s war again. So despite the administration’s claims, the production level of oil has not reached its pre-pandemic level.
Putting your chips in the stocks of a totalitarian dictator is never a good idea. Ask Europeans who will be freezing this winter if you don’t believe me. So, it’s mindboggling that, now that the administration has realized that it cannot rely on Russian energy for the economic security of Americans and allied nations, its response has been re-entering Iran and Venezuela as major players. Are we to believe that communist Nicolas Maduro and the ayatollah like us more?
The Venezuelan communists and the Iranian Islamists have responded to the U.S. policy not in kind. In August, the Russian military personnel arrived in Venezuela for a joint war game in America’s hemisphere for the eighth year in a row. The Islamic Republic of Iran on the other hand has deployed its military personnel to Ukraine to operate military drones to help Vladimir Putin win his war on Ukraine.
The administration’s energy policy is dangerous, not to mention a threat to the human rights agenda it claims to prioritize. Both will use the money raised from the sale of their oil and gas to cut off the heads of their own citizens and bite the American hand that feeds them. These are regimes that kill their own peoples, and we can bet safely that those who have no mercy for their compatriots will go after us given the opportunity. The Venezuelans will continue to disrupt our hemisphere with the money, and the Iranians will build nukes directed at us.
Volodymyr Zelensky, warned before Putin invaded Ukraine that Russia would use its energy supply to Europe as a “dangerous geopolitical weapon.” And you can bet that he’ll say the same about Venezuelans and Iranians if Biden ever cared to ask him. And for what? Much dirtier oil and gas, enriching people with the dirtiest souls and minds.
President Biden claims to be the defender of democracy. It’s a noble cause. But you can’t defend democracy by relying on the good will of democracy’s worst enemies.