Former Ambassador to the European Union and Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy C. Boyden Gray and counsel Michael Buschbacher published an article in The American Conservative on January 26, critiquing the Biden Administration’s energy policy and its foreign policy consequences. They write,
The President has lamented that there is little we can do: Russia will likely invade Ukraine, and the U.S. will likely be forced to respond with military action. As President Biden knows all too well, military intervention against Russia would not be a sign of strength, but of impotence. America’s weakness was not inevitable, however; it is a known consequence of this administration’s reckless energy policy and the weakness it showed in its botched withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Both Russia and the United States are oil and gas powers, deriving much of their geopolitical leverage from control of these essential fuels. The article continues,
[I]n February 2014, in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, President Obama was able to impose stiff sanctions, restricting Russian access to energy and arms without having to worry that Russian reprisals would negatively affect the global economy. These sanctions led to the collapse of the Russian ruble and to the Russian financial crisis. As a direct result, Russia was forced to limit its military ambitions in the region.
Now, almost exactly six years later, President Biden has no such luxury. An America that begs Russia to increase oil production in the fall is not a credible threat to impose sanctions in the winter. And so, President Biden has been reduced to making crude threats of domestically unpopular military intervention, and the real possibility of dragging the world into an international crisis.
But it is not too late to correct course. As the article explains,
America needs to be an energy leader if it wants to use its geopolitical influence to protect our allies, defend human rights, sanction bad actors, and—yes—lead global efforts to confront climate change. Unless they change course, the climate idealists in this administration will sacrifice all of these in exchange for small domestic reductions in emissions. Energy growth is not the abandonment of our climate goals; it is a necessary, if not sufficient, way to achieve them.
The full editorial, entitled Joe Biden’s Low-Energy Blunder, is available here.
Amb. C. Boyden Gray served as White House counsel to President George H.W. Bush and as Ambassador to the European Union and Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy under President George W. Bush. Michael Buschbacher is counsel at Boyden Gray & Associates. Previously, he served in the leadership office of the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice.