Should we continue buying oil from Russia, or should we produce it ourselves?
On the one hand, we certainly could try to be content with shutting Russia out of the global economy as we already are in every other way. In so doing, we could punish Putin politically and economically for what he is even now doing to the people of Ukraine in trying to reconstitute the former Soviet Union.
Yet so long as the U.S., the U.K., and the E.U. continue importing Russian oil, we are subsidizing Putin’s war efforts to the tune of $700 million a day, and all the rest combined is not so nearly impactful as our dependence on the energy his country exports. And he knows that.
Nevertheless, we could confine ourselves to grandstanding, decrying this barbarous aggression, superimposing Ukrainian flags on our social media profiles, engaging in hashtag diplomacy about how we #StandWithUkraine, and just hope the whole thing blows over with continued diplomatic and economic pressure that stops short of banning Russian oil.
On the other hand, we could outright ban Russian oil from the market, just like that. We could promise we will not buy it. And both before and after this proves hasty in the absence of a backup supply, we could wax eloquent about our addiction to fossil fuels – as Climate Change alarmists are predictably doing. Now is supposedly as good a time as any to switch to renewable energy.
Only now is not as good a time as any. It’s the worst possible time, particularly given the cost and the time it would take. We don’t have the time, and we don’t have the requisite funds.
But as the rising cost of transportation and fuel drives up the price of everything else, perhaps even making many things flatly unavailable if the fuel runs out in some places, we will #StandWithUkraine in a very special sense if we try this – that of seeing our country also in ruins as our economy grinds to a halt without enough of the actual stuff we run it on. This in turn will leave us to the tender mercies of both President Putin and Chairman Xi who will glibly continue on using fossil fuels in a much more pragmatic and ultimately successful way.
Yet there is still another option, and this one I do not recommend, particularly in light of the circumstances. We could go to outright war with Russia. We could declare a no-fly zone over Ukraine and then enforce it very effectively. But then the nukes will fly and we will find WWIII has commenced in earnest. And with a disastrous duo in the White House as well as generalized partisan gridlock in Washington, plus our own energy industry having been stymied to an irresponsible and reckless extent through the arbitrary cancellation of major infrastructure projects in our country and the waging of lawfare and bureaucratic obstruction against the oil and gas industry, we will find that we are not in the best position for WWIII economically, socially, or militarily.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is not coincidentally why Russia and China are on the move now. They know it, and we should both know it and proceed with caution accordingly.
There is at least one more option, though. This one I favor most. Without outright banning Russian oil when we still apparently need it, and without continuing to make ourselves dependent on Russian oil, and without firing a shot in Ukraine, we should make ourselves energy independent again – not by clumsily wish-casting and supposing all our vehicles and factories and homes can run on unicorn breath and pixie dust, but by efficiently extracting, transporting, refining, and utilizing our own domestic supplies of oil and gas.
Force Russian oil out by supplying our own to displace it, and do this by encouraging rather than discouraging the private sector which is so talented and capable and willing to do this for our national interest and the security of our allies abroad. This will bring the price of oil and gas down, relieve our dependence on our adversaries and would-be enemies, cut off a major source of power and wealth for them, and meanwhile make our own people prosperous and independent again.
The simple answer to whether we should be buying Russian oil now is that we should never have made ourselves dependent on them in the first place. But better late than never, it is time for America to commit to energy independence for the long haul.
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