(TheConservativeNews.org) – When it comes to both foreign policy and his liberal energy agenda, President Joe Biden has embarrassed our nation. I can sum up President Biden’s incompetence in these areas with one simple story: a tale of two pipelines.
On one hand, Biden blocked the crucial Keystone XL Pipeline, signaling to the world that American energy independence is no longer a priority. On the other hand, he green-lit the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, strengthening Russia’s energy hold on Europe. And in the process, he gave Russia the leverage to create the crisis that we are witnessing unfold in Ukraine. Let me begin with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and Biden’s policy failure on that score.
Until last year, getting tough on Russia was one of the few issues that seemed to unite conservatives and progressives. When I served on the House Armed Services Committee, my colleagues all recognized the real threat that Russia poses to our nation. In 2019, Congress passed a bipartisan measure to impose sanctions on the Russian company that is building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to deliver natural gas from Russia to Germany. The sanctions had strong support from both Democrat leadership and the Trump administration.
President Donald Trump signed the sanctions into law after pointing out that the pipeline “really makes Germany a hostage of Russia if things ever happened that were bad.” He wanted to contain the Russians, not empower them to overrun Europe.
Maintaining Trump’s sanctions should have been an easy call for President Biden. Polish President Andrzej Duda told Trump that he fiercely opposed Nord Stream 2. The head of Naftogaz, a Ukrainian energy company, called the pipeline Russia’s most “dangerous geopolitical project.” And thanks to America becoming a net exporter of energy during President Trump’s administration, the United States had created the capacity to sell our gas to European allies and reduce the reliance on Russian energy.
However, last May, the Biden administration waived those bipartisan sanctions, allowing Nord Stream to move forward. In doing so, they handed away leverage to the Russians and doomed Ukraine in the process.
Some theorize that President Biden simply reversed an important accomplishment of the Trump administration for spite. A more sinister theory suggests that because his son, Hunter Biden, served on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company, President Biden had, at a minimum, the appearance of a conflict of interest. To make matters worse, Hunter “received a $3.5 million wire transfer from Elena Baturina, the wife of the former mayor of Moscow,” according to a Congressional report.
It is impossible to say for certain whether such a conflict exists. But leaders of both parties were sure that blocking this Russian pipeline was the right thing to do. And by allowing it to move forward, the United States lost vital leverage over Moscow. Biden is now scrambling to regain this leverage he lost, but it is too little, too late. His new sanctions come after Russian troops have already moved into Ukraine. Unfortunately, it appears the damage is done.
I hope that Biden will someday explain why Canadian oil causes global warming, but Russian gas doesn’t.
What makes Biden’s approach to Nord Stream 2 so much worse is the fact that he took a completely opposite approach to the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have benefitted my home state of South Dakota and our entire nation. On his first day as President, Biden blocked Keystone XL from moving forward. This pipeline would have been able to deliver more than 800,000 daily barrels of Canadian crude to refineries on the Gulf Coast.
In South Dakota, we were ready to complete construction of Keystone XL. The project would have brought thousands of jobs to our state, would have provided property tax revenues to our small towns for years, and would have lowered gas prices for Americans across the country.
Unfortunately, President Biden took a shortsighted approach to appease his liberal base. Americans are seeing the results at the pump. Gas prices continue to rise. And we have lost our ability to counter Russian energy policy because we are significantly weakened from an energy production standpoint.
Here in South Dakota, high gas prices are hurting everyone. It is a long way to drive anywhere in our rural state. Our long, cold winter is far from over. And thanks to Biden’s inflation, fuel costs continue to rise. Keystone would have helped ease those fears while giving America the flexibility to counter Russian aggression by expanding energy exports to Europe. I hope that Biden will someday explain why Canadian oil causes global warming, but Russian gas doesn’t.
Trust in leaders is a key element of a dependable foreign policy. Just as important as the actual policy is confidence in the person making decisions at the top.
Biden lost the confidence of the American people thanks to the chaotic manner in which he withdrew American troops from Afghanistan. As bad as the optics were in Afghanistan, the current Ukraine crisis may be worse because he is emboldening Russia, our longtime geopolitical foe.
In this tale of the two pipelines, President Biden’s disastrous foreign policy and energy agenda intersect. His twin failures are putting our nation, and the entire free world, at risk.