AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Abbott
As the calendar turns over to August, oil prices have continued to hover near $100 per barrel, yet more confirmation that President Joe Biden’s desperate trip to the Middle East to beg Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to increase oil production was a strategic as well as a public relations failure. As gas remains well above $4 per gallon, Biden has stubbornly refused either to acknowledge the failures of his administration’s energy policies or take real action to facilitate increased domestic energy production.
After the United States achieved energy independence under former President Donald Trump, Biden quickly reversed that progress upon taking office, canceling the Keystone XL pipeline and halting oil and gas leases on federal lands on his first day in office. As a result, the country once again became reliant on foreign energy suppliers – including Saudi Arabia, which Joe Biden had promised to treat as a “pariah” during the 2020 campaign.
That hostile rhetoric came back to haunt him last month, as the President was forced to travel to the Middle East on bended knee and ask the Saudi regime to increase oil production in the hopes of driving down prices. Biden, who greeted the Crown Prince with a fist bump, was widely mocked for his awkward attempt at diplomacy.
As for the actual meeting, both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are offering deeply conflicting reports. While the Biden administration claims the conversation was positive regarding increasing oil production, the Saudis were notably more ambiguous about any commitments to boosting output. Though MBS offered vague promises to support America, Saudi officials emphasized that any decision on oil production would need to be made within the framework of OPEC, the group of petroleum-producing nations that has a major impact on world oil prices. That’s likely bad news for Biden and American consumers, as few nations in OPEC aside from Saudi Arabia have particularly positive relations with the United States.
In addition to Saudi Arabia, Biden has attempted to secure greater oil output from Venezuela – a country that has long been hostile toward U.S. interests, especially under the reign of illegitimate ruler Nicolás Maduro. Much like other American adversaries in OPEC – including Iran – Venezuela suddenly has leverage over the United States thanks to Biden’s energy policies.
Even as they fret over foreign oil production, however, the Biden administration and congressional Democrats have refused to support increased domestic production – and have even sent oil from the U.S. strategic reserve overseas. According to reporting from Reuters last month, more than 5 million barrels of strategic reserve oil were sent to foreign countries, including to Communist China. The Biden administration has still failed to provide any comprehensive explanation for why oil from the reserve – which sits at its lowest level in decades – is being sent abroad while Biden himself pleads with foreign powers to increase their production. At the same time, Biden has refused to lift his ban on new oil and gas leases on federal lands, and his administration has continued to impose a litany of burdensome regulations on oil and gas companies.
In Congress, Democrats have taken a similar path. Last October, members of a House committee harangued oil executives for investing in more drilling operations – just months before Biden officials asserted that it was the “responsibility” of oil manufacturers to increase supply to meet demand. While Democrats’ latest reconciliation framework is being touted as making “investments” in domestic energy production, closer examination reveals that the bill only contains vague calls for “comprehensive Permitting reform legislation” – in other words, no concrete strategies for boosting production.
There is a path by which America could become a global leader in energy production while also addressing environmental concerns. U.S. production of oil and natural gas is cleaner than any other country in the world. By cutting regulations and expanding leases on federal lands, Biden could bring prices down and reduce harm to the environment. Doing so would also isolate U.S. adversaries and support U.S. allies, addressing the national security concerns brought on by overreliance on foreign suppliers.
For the Biden administration, however, such a reversal seems unlikely at best. After promising to advance the “green revolution” throughout his 2020 campaign, Biden still appears beholden to the far-left environmental agenda – even going so far as to say that high gas prices aren’t really a bad thing at all, but are just part of an “incredible transition.” For Americans desperate for cheaper gas and lower costs for basic goods, a different kind of transition may be necessary: a change in leadership.
Andrew Abbott is the pen name of a writer and public affairs consultant with over a decade of experience in DC at the intersection of politics and culture.
We hope you've enjoyed this article. While you're here, we have a small favor to ask...
Support AMAC Action. Our 501 (C)(4) advances initiatives on Capitol Hill, in the state legislatures, and at the local level to protect American values, free speech, the exercise of religion, equality of opportunity, sanctity of life, and the rule of law.Donate Now