In spite of the United States being energy independent when President Biden assumed office, we are now paying record prices for petroleum products that are contributing to near record inflation that was once termed by his administration as only “transitory.” The mere fact that the President is now blaming Putin and begging Saudi Arabia and Venezuela for the gasoline crisis illustrates his administration’s extreme naiveite and disjointed energy and national security strategy. Even if his administration desires to go “green” his means to achieve that goal is both foolhardy, disjointed, and dangerous to our national security.
This is just the latest in a string of haphazard, impromptu policies that have sown confusion among our allies and projected weakness and indecision to both Russia, China, and Iran. Even though Iran may be overshadowed by Russia and China for the moment, if the Biden administration believes Iran will not develop nuclear weapons and use them, they are extremely naive. If anything, Iran has learned that when Ukraine agreed to dismantle its nuclear arsenal by the Budapest Agreement under the assurance that their national sovereignty would be protected, Ukraine should have maintained its nuclear arsenal to preclude a Russian invasion.
Some fault Biden for not doing more to help the Ukrainians, some for doing too much and risking open war with a nuclear power. What these critics share, though, is the belief that Biden’s contradictory — halfhearted and constantly shifting military aid to Ukraine, the absence of any off-ramps for Russia, and total economic war on Moscow has been more dangerous than any clear, consistent, and integrated policy.
At this point, no one is sure what the Biden administration’s plan is to help end the war in Ukraine, what it thinks a stable peace might look like, or even if regime change in Moscow is really off the table as a matter of White House policy. Biden has announced no conditions for the easing of sanctions on Russia, articulated no vision for how Ukraine might “win,” or what the end state might look like. He seems only to have a vague sense that large and powerful countries should not invade their smaller and weaker neighbors. But when they do, how should America respond? What goals or national interests should guide our response? What should our priorities be? Biden and his advisors don’t seem to know.
They had better figure it out and soon. What we need now is that which we have least: a proactive vice reactive foreign and domestic policy that enables the United States to maintain its position of leadership on the world stage.
It may be a pain at the pump now, but the larger issue is our lack of “soft power” and the strategic vision employed by all great powers. It is time to step up Mr. President and look beyond your cue cards.