Jim Geraghty wrote an opinion piece for National Review published Tuesday that asked why the US has let itself become so dependent on Russian oil during the Biden Administration, even as it has been forced into a difficult negotiating position with Vladimir Putin.
He observed that America’s energy policy is going off the rails and is not hard to see. In 2021, the US imported from 12 million to 26 million barrels of oil and petroleum products each month from Russia. The most recent data from the Energy Information Agency indicates that America imported 17.8 million barrels in November of last year. Russian oil imports shot to the highest level in a decade immediately after Joe Biden assumed office. By August, Russia had become the second-largest oil importer to the US market.
In the White House press briefing held Monday, Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked if it is difficult for the US to continue escalating levels of Russian oil imports during the ongoing diplomatic crisis involving the imminent invasion by Russia of neighboring Ukraine. She was also asked to maintain a strong position with Germany regarding the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline and seek assurance that Germany will support sanctions against Russia if necessary.
Jean-Pierre responded by calling the questions about dependence on Russian oil a “hypothetical.” She then went directly back to the Administration, talking points about how the President has been “very, very clear” that America would impose “severe, decisive economic consequences” on Russia in “lockstep” with our allies.
Geraghty notes that Germany’s ambiguous position about whether it will sanction the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline makes sense in context with America’s continuing reliance on Russian oil. It is logically inconsistent for America to criticize Germany for wanting to purchase natural gas from Russia cheaply through a direct pipeline while steadily increasing its imports of Russian oil.
Meanwhile, concerns about dependence on imports, in addition to the actions taken by the Biden Administration to cripple domestic production, are contributing to increasing energy costs. Crude oil topped $95 per barrel this week, compared to $52 per barrel when Joe Biden assumed office.