The Russian invasion of Ukraine has thrown the world into chaos, with energy prices being the most felt consequence outside of the open fighting of the conflict. Oil topped $130 a barrel on Monday morning after the Biden administration changed its stance on applying sanctions to Russian oil imports. Unfortunately, that announcement was not accompanied by a pledge to green-light domestic pipelines or to increase oil and gas leases on federal land, moves that may have brought some calm to the oil market.
What we are witnessing is a presidency that can only react, never thinking past the next news cycle. Biden was originally against sending NATO jets to Ukraine, now he’s for it. He was against delinking Russia from SWIFT, now he’s for it. He insisted the Nordstream 2 pipeline couldn’t be stopped, now he supports stopping it. It’s pure governing chaos, and the consequences of that fall directly on the populace he supposedly represents.
Then there is the rhetoric coming from the administration that isn’t thought out and actually puts Americans in danger.
US ambassador: "Any attack on civilians is a war crime" https://t.co/7HxhV2w5Xy pic.twitter.com/vHaFwPpn0i
— The Hill (@thehill) March 7, 2022
The emotional response to my criticism of the UN ambassador’s statement will be “Well, do you support bombing civilians?” No, I don’t, but war is not fought with virtue signaling, and setting bad precedents can have profound consequences. Is the drone operator who killed seven children in Afghanistan last year a war criminal? Should that person be tried as one?
And if the response is “They didn’t do it on purpose,” I’d respond to that in two ways. One, she didn’t stipulate intent because again, she’s not thinking things through enough to make a reasonable statement. Two, are B-17 crew members who carpet-bombed Berlin war criminals? Are the crews of B-52s who bombed Hanoi war criminals? Are the Israelis war criminals when they hit a residential building that is being used by terrorists?
If “Any attack on civilians is a war crime,” then the Biden administration has just set a standard by which thousands of Americans are now war criminals, intent and situation be damned. And I realize there’s a segment of the radical left that will jump to say “Of course, Americans and Israelis are war criminals,” but that’s not who I’m speaking to in writing this.
Moving past that, there are also long-term unintended consequences regarding the financial moves being made to “punish” Russia.
How does cutting off the Russian people from the world, down to watching Netflix, do anything but drive them further into the arms of Vladimir Putin? How is it smart to isolate Russia financially at such a level that we end up with a Chinese, Indian, and Russian monetary alliance? China has been waiting for an opportunity to push its payment services on other countries and to get more people off the dollar. The Biden administration is handing it to them without a second thought.
These are things the United States (and the West) are going to regret in ten years, even if the moves seem righteous at the moment. Leaders are elected to do more than feed present narratives, and the ability to think long-term is what denotes a good one. Joe Biden is not a good one.
To summarize, I get the desire to hit Putin for his aggression. I have that desire as well, but that’s not an excuse to be stupid. The reactive ineptness of the Biden administration has led to some very short-sighted moves that will only empower Putin in the end. Worse, they could reset the world order in a way that is profoundly harmful to freedom, liberty, and prosperity.
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