By tippinsights Editorial Board, Tipp Insights
President Ronald Reagan would never have allowed a policy that unilaterally disarms us against adversaries. He would be shocked at what the Left has done to embolden Russia in the Ukraine conflict.
In the last five years, the Left’s war against fossil fuels, punctuated by claims of impending climate disaster as articulated by shrill Green New Deal propagandists, has indirectly played into Russia’s hands. Oil production has plummeted, triggered by drops in U.S. field output, and as world economies recover, prices have steadily risen.
Russia produces about 3.65 billion barrels of crude oil per year. The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) benchmark was $53 per barrel when President Biden was inaugurated. Oil prices have since steadily increased, almost in a straight line, to end at around $99 per barrel this week, averaging $76 per barrel over the last 12 months. Since President Biden’s inauguration, a $23 increase in oil price has translated to nearly $84 billion in extra cash for Russia, cash that is all profit, being marginal revenue over the cost of production. The new money has fueled President Putin’s confidence and resolve in engaging in war games around Ukraine.
There’s a correlation between high oil prices and bad Russian behavior. Russian aggression in the region last occurred on March 18, 2014, when President Putin reclaimed Crimea. WTI crude price closed that day at $99 per barrel, and President Obama was in office. For the next two years, prices steadily fell, forcing Russia into a recession. President Putin went into his cocoon to deal with domestic problems as the Russian economy teetered on the edge of collapse. In January 2016, WTI crude reached its lowest point in 13 years of $27 per barrel. Russia ceased to be a factor on the world stage until the Left revived Russia on a dubious 2016 election interference charge.
During the four years of the Trump administration, oil prices were not high enough for Putin to create mischief. According to the Energy Information Administration, U.S. field production of crude oil for the first 11 months of 2019 averaged about 12.23 million barrels per day – the highest in decades – when the oil-friendly Trump administration promoted energy independence. Besides, Trump’s unconventional foreign policy approaches and frequent criticisms of European allies regarding NATO funding derailed Putin. America and Russia even cooperated in defeating ISIS in Syria.
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