Acknowledging that Russia "carved out a big chunk of Ukraine," President Biden this afternoon announced a very weak low-level set of sanctions on Russia. So, these were not exactly the swift and severe consequences that he had been bragging about for so many weeks.
The Russian stock market rose 6.5% after Biden's sanctions announcement. What does that tell you? In the prior several days, it had been collapsing.
Biden did follow Germany in not certifying Nord Stream 2, but that's just a temporary paper contract issue. It's not a long-term or permanent shutdown. He basically hit a couple of banks tied to the Donbas region.
The GDP for the whole of Ukraine is about $160 billion, maybe, and the GDP of Donbas is under $6 billion. The GDP of Lugansk is a billion—also, maybe.
Delaware's GDP, just to pick a random comparison, is $76 billion. So, to call Biden's sanctions "small beer" is understating it. Remember, if Russia invaded Ukraine, our President was going to impose "swift and severe" consequences, but he didn't. I'm particularly interested in Mr. Biden's statement about protecting America from rising gasoline prices.
PRESIDENT BIDEN: My administration is using every tool at our disposal to protect American businesses and consumers from rising prices at the pump. As I said last week, defending freedom will have cost for us as well and here at home. We need to be honest about that.
So, Mr. Biden, you need to be honest about the damage you're doing to the American energy industry. In fact, you've done everything you can to drive up prices and you know it because you're dancing to the radical green tune. Your jihad against fossil fuels has held down production in the face of rising demand and that has been a key factor in driving up world oil prices towards $100 a barrel.
In effect, Biden's jihad against fossil fuels is financing Vladimir Putin's military adventures because if we were producing at 13 million BPD as we did pre-pandemic, except for 11 million BPD, oil prices would be substantially lower and Putin would be significantly poorer.
Mr. Biden's energy policies have been utterly self-destructive to America and have directly empowered Vladimir Putin and all of Putin’s crazy ahistorical, romanticized, inaccurate vision of history. Russian is a nothing-heimer economy—roughly $1.5 trillion worth of GDP. The U.S. is $23 trillion.
As the late Senator John McCain put it years ago, Russia's like an old gas station masquerading as a country and Biden's anti-oil policies are enabling Putin to raise gas station prices.
While Mr. Biden has the audacity to tell us how he wants to protect American businesses and consumers from rising prices at the pump, the New York Times headline for February 20—that's right, the New York Times—was "Biden Administration Halts New Drilling in Legal Fight Over Climate Costs."
It went on to say that the Interior Department is indefinitely freezing decisions about new federal oil and gas drilling.
The Bidens are also at war with several judges who disagree with the idea of the social cost of carbon, which is a phony metric drummed up by extreme greenies. Their idea is that pipeline analysis should include carbon emissions from upstream production and downstream consumption, even though there is no reliable way to measure either, according to a Wall Street Journal editorial.
The Louisiana attorney general Jeff Landry has called the social costs of carbon "voodoo economics." AGs from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming are suing the federal government.
Last week, Biden’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) revised its policy for natural gas pipelines and export terminals using this phony metric to stop new pipelines.
Of course, we all recall that in the first hour of his presidency, Biden vetoed the Keystone XL Pipeline. Later, he banned drilling in Alaska, raised drilling fees on public lands, and on and on.
If Mr. Biden were a smart president and really wanted to go after Putin, he would simply tell American fossil fuel companies to turn the spigots back on and he would lift all the tax and regulatory barriers that he has erected.
Turning the spigots back on would provide all the spare capacity necessary to stabilize oil and natural gas prices and to continue American dominance in LNG exports to Europe and the rest of the globe. Turning the spigots back on would really stick it to Vladimir Putin, but Mr. Biden is not a smart president.
He is a weak president and a weak man with only a paper-thin understanding of all the natural forces involved in climate change. A smart president would pursue an all-the-above energy policy because we need all the energy we can get from every possible source in order to spur prosperity at home and national security abroad.
Save America. The cavalry is coming.
This article is adapted from Larry Kudlow's opening commentary on the February 22, 2022, edition of "Kudlow."