Lewis Morris / August 4, 2022

Don’t Depend on Dictators

U.S. energy needs don’t have to go the way of Germany — at the mercy of hostile nations.

In the 21st century, strategic independence will mean the difference between freedom and tyranny. Strategic independence means not having to rely on other countries for energy, for essential consumer goods, or for important computer and medical technology.

The United States is losing its strategic independence. For years leading up to Donald Trump’s presidency, America was letting slip its dominant place in the international market. We relied on anti-American regimes like Venezuela and Iran for our oil and found ourselves dragged into some ugly overseas affairs as a result.

Trump reoriented that trend in four short years. His policies turned America into a net exporter of energy and began the long, slow walk back to energy independence. Fast-forward through the China Virus to the Joe Biden presidency, and Trump’s progress has been all but eliminated. Biden has declared war on the American energy industry and aims to squeeze it out of existence, regardless of the consequences. The reasons for that are many, but suffice it to say, Biden does not have America’s best interests at heart. And it could cost us dearly.

It’s a scary place to be when you are beholden to tyrannical regimes for your sustenance. Just ask Germany. With the frigid European winter approaching, Europe’s leading economy is about to suffer the consequences of letting Russia supply most of its fuel. And the rest of the EU will suffer with it.

Russia covers roughly 40% of total European gas demand, and in individual countries that share is even higher. It has tightened the spigot since its invasion of Ukraine, with vital gas flows into the continent at minimum levels.

Last week, Russian energy conglomerate Gazprom reduced flow on the Nord Stream pipeline to 20% of capacity. It blamed the issue on a blown turbine, but whether that’s true or not doesn’t matter. The outcome is that Europe is powerless to do anything about it.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz appears to have adopted the long (and wrong) view of his predecessor Angela Merkel, whistling past the graveyard as he places the comfort and safety of German citizens in the hands of Vladimir Putin.

The writing has been on the wall for months about the long winter ahead. German industrial and manufacturing sectors have tightened belts. Production quotas have been reduced. Projects have been outsourced to the Mediterranean and elsewhere or cut entirely. This will surely put more downward pressure on an economy that is already struggling. One in four Germans has already slipped into energy poverty, which is what happens when the cost of electricity affects the ability to cover other essential expenses.

The German government hasn’t been so quick to respond. Scholz’s team has begun contemplating gas and electricity rationing only in recent weeks. He doesn’t seem ruffled by the disaster that Merkel created and that he has perpetuated.

If there is any justice, Merkel will be best remembered for handing her country’s energy security over to Putin so that she could feel self-righteous about reducing Germany’s carbon footprint. Her single-minded push to remove nuclear energy, coal, and oil from Germany’s energy equation short-changed her dream of making Germany a 21st-century economic giant. Industry floundered under the green crusade, prices rose, and consumers were robbed at the grocery counter. Any of this sound familiar?

This winter, Germany will most likely be firing up those shuttered coal plants just to keep its citizens from freezing to death.

Biden is dragging America down the same path. We have so much energy in this country that we could single-handedly counter Russia’s actions in Europe and have cheaper fuel and consumer prices at home at the same time. But the president is committed to a green dream. We all need to wake up from that dream before the real nightmare begins.

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