Michael Swartz / March 2, 2022

Energy Fallout From Russia’s Invasion

The big Euro energy picture is one of unforced dependence on Russian oil and natural gas.

We’ve told you about our domestic oil woes and the resulting surge of prices at the pump, but energy has become a global topic of discussion over the last several months because we’re all being squeezed.

It took a Russian invasion of Ukraine for Germany to reverse course and decide that the combination of domestic renewable energy and Russian natural gas via the Nord Stream 2 project and other existing pipelines may not have been such a hot idea after all. Despite the months of saber-rattling by Vladimir Putin, Germany was going full speed ahead with the shutdown of three of its nuclear power plants, and Europe as a whole was following our lead on green energy.

“While Putin plotted to undermine and eventually invade Ukraine, the West made his job all the easier by pursuing energy policies that transferred billions of dollars to Moscow’s coffers while pursuing misguided ‘Green New Deal’ policies,” wrote veteran analyst John Fund. “Those policies have now left our European allies dependent on Russian energy, and they’ve left the U.S. much less able to supply any energy gaps with our own domestic production.”

To that, we can add the editors of the Wall Street Journal, who wrote this week that “Europe’s climate obsessions have rendered it vulnerable to Vladimir Putin’s extortion, and the U.S. is in danger of repeating that tragic mistake.”

Indeed, the pronouncement last fall by EU President Ursula von der Leyen that “it is important [for the EU] to invest in renewables that gives us stable prices and more independence” doesn’t seem to have aged well, has it?

Europe has been over a barrel, so to speak, for several years as Russia has had the power to turn off the spigot to pipelines extending to the heart of Europe through Poland and Ukraine as well as under the Baltic Sea. The latter is the original Nord Stream pipeline, which as planned parallels the Nord Stream 2 pipeline recently sanctioned by Joe Biden (after he green-lighted it last year). Germany has halted the project. (Initially, the Biden administration promised not to disrupt world energy supplies.) Thinking they had that security blanket, and instead of opening their territories to exploration for oil or natural gas, Europeans opted to spend their money chasing the fantasy of energy self-sufficiency through renewables, in part thanks to Russian propaganda and his useful idiots running Western environmentalist groups. It’s another decision that hasn’t aged well.

If the Ukraine invasion had happened two years ago — and it didn’t because we had a strong leader at the time — America could have backstopped the Europeans by shipping LNG over to them thanks to our bountiful supplies. Instead, our role has been reduced to passive observer. As our Mark Alexander remarked last week:

On the subject of energy dependence on Russia, Biden’s most significant gesture thus far in his sanctions game with Putin, further affirming [Donald] Trump’s fortitude versus Biden’s ineptitude, was his reversal of Trump’s sanctions on Putin’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline — Russia’s cash cow conduit to Europe — only to now reverse his reversal and restore Trump’s sanctions on it. Of course, those sanctions have no immediate effect on Russia.

While the Europeans are in a jam of their own making, we have moved into a position where we’re following right behind them. Perhaps the best illustration of the mess in which Biden has entangled our nation is the fact we are now importing Russian oil for our needs, to a point where Russia has become one of our top five foreign suppliers. Once that sinks in, then it can be considered that we have also developed a dependence on China for supplying and processing the materials for harnessing and storing a large portion of our renewable energy.

And our trouble comes without an invasion to galvanize the population.

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