To Energetically Oppose Russia

Dr. Malcolm Cross

There’s growing bipartisan support in Congress for cutting off all oil imports from Russia.  That’s a good idea.  An even better idea is to help Europe cut off energy from Russia as well.

President Biden is to be commended for the sanctions America has imposed on Russia so far.  According to many accounts, the Russian ruble, its stock market, and its overall economy are collapsing.  Good for Joe—and the Ukraine.

Ending Russian oil imports to America is a good next step.  America pays roughly 22 million dollars a day for Russian oil.  Ending imports will reduce revenue to Russia.  Moreover, Russian oil accounts for only 3% of America’s fossil fuel consumption, so its loss will not significantly hurt us.  It can be covered with oil released from our strategic reserves until our own oil production can be ramped up.

But President Biden should take a cue from German Chancellor Olof Schotz who’s beginning to wean Germany from dependence on Russian fossil fuels.  Schotz is examining a variety of options, including extending the life of Germany’s nuclear power plants and building infrastructure to accept and deliver American liquified natural gas.  Biden should cooperate with Schotz in every possible way.  In fact, he should do whatever he can to destroy Russia’s energy export industry and thereby deliver one of the most crippling blows possible to the Russian economy.

Russia only gets less than $700 million a month from the United States.  But Russia also gets about $22 billion a month from Europe.  The loss of that revenue would be devastating.

There are, of course, problems with trying to sever Europe’s energy ties to Russia.  America must pump and produce more oil and natural gas to supply to Europe and there may be a time lag between the hoped-for severance of ties with Russia and the production and delivery of enough oil and natural gas from America to make up for the loss.  The price of energy may temporarily spike in the interim.

Moreover, President Biden may have to face the wrath of Democrats who claim we must reduce fossil fuel production and usage and increase our reliance on renewable energy sources to save the environment.  Indeed, President Biden himself pledged in the recent presidential campaign to cut back on fossil fuel production.  No doubt he wants to avoid blowback for breaking a major campaign promise.

Nonetheless, if President Zelensky can combat Russia’s effort to conquer Ukraine, and if Chancellor Schotz can fight to overcome resistance from environmentalists in the German Social Democratic and Green parties which help comprise his governing coalition, then President Biden should join with these heroes to expand our fossil fuel production to liberate Europe from dependence on Russian energy, even at the cost of opposition from his fellow Democrats.  Besides, however much we may suffer because of higher gasoline prices at the pump, our suffering will be nothing compared to what the Ukrainians are enduring now.

Malcolm L. Cross has lived in Stephenville and taught politics and government at Tarleton since 1987. His political and civic activities include service on the Stephenville City Council (2000-2014) and on the Erath County Republican Executive Committee (1990 to the present).  He was Mayor Pro Tem of Stephenville from 2008 to 2014.  He is a member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and the Stephenville Rotary Club, and does volunteer work for the Boy Scouts of America. Views expressed in this column are his and do not reflect those of The Flash as a whole.

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