DANIEL VAUGHAN: Biden's Foreign Policy Runs Through The Gas Pump

 April 19, 2024

Here's how you know everyone in the White House is focused on the November elections: every policy decision is about increasing the odds of victory, no matter what the cost to anyone else. The Biden administration is hyper-sensitive to one issue right now: gas prices. And they're doing everything possible to drive those prices lower, even if it means supporting enemies of the United States.

In an interview, White House economic adviser Lael Brainard, also a former member of the Federal Reserve, told journalists, "President Joe Biden's top economic aide said the administration wants to keep gas prices in 'current ranges' this summer while sidestepping questions on whether the Administration is considering a fresh release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve."

She added, "This is the time of year when the gasoline mix changes, and so we're keeping a very close eye on gas prices at the pump and also of course some of the events in the Middle East." Brainard also hinted that the White House would use past tools to monitor and control prices, which is why the journalists asked about the Strategic Petroleum Reserves.

And while Brainard tried sidestepping specific tactics, other administration officials were less reserved. John Podesta told reporters that this option was explicitly on the table for the year.

It's not surprising that the SPR is an election-year option. But the White House isn't stopping there; it's also protecting Russian and Iranian oil production.

As Ukraine is increasingly on the defensive, awaiting a Russian onslaught, there have been a few bright spots. Ukraine has targeted Russian oil refiners for destruction, which would severely hamper Putin's ability to fund his government. These strikes have made Biden and the White House furious. Biden dispatched Kamala Harris to tell Ukraine not to target Russia's oil refineries out of fear of spiking oil and gas prices.

The Wall Street Journal's editorial board noted the same inherent hypocrisy, "So Ukraine has to suffer attacks on its territory, but it can't hit back at its aggressor? Striking Russian air bases and drone facilities have obvious military value, and Russia's refineries obviously help to fuel and finance the Kremlin's war machine."

In Ukraine, Biden does just enough to prevent Ukraine from losing without taking any other steps that might allow Ukraine to advance. Meanwhile, he blasts Republicans domestically for not approving more funding. But his strategic ambivalence for what happens to Ukraine is driving the boat.

But it's not just in Ukraine. Just days after launching a historic attack on Israel, Reuters reports that Biden is "unlikely to cut Iran's oil lifeline." What are the White House's reasons? They claim "worries about boosting oil prices and angering top buyer China."

On a bright note, the House passed sanctions legislation against Chinese purchasing of Iranian oil by a vote of 383-11. The White House has not signaled whether it supports the measure at all. In a statement, Biden claimed the White House was doing everything possible to target Iran's military capabilities and directed the Treasury to take action. Notably absent from the statement was anything from the Energy Secretary or any legislation passed by Congress.

The Wall Street Journal nailed it again, observing, "It's no secret the White House has been reluctant to stiffen sanctions against Iranian oil lest prices rise before the November election. The Administration has looked the other way as Chinese 'teapot' refineries have imported an increasing amount of Iranian crude at a discount."

The conclusion is simple: for 2024, the White House is placing the gas pump above everything else. If you're keeping score at home, this should also tell you how much the White House believes in their own lines about attacking inflation. Biden and his staff believe they're one gas price spike away from watching all positive inflation news vanish overnight.

And given that Biden has made it his job in recent months to declare victory over inflation, a reversal would be a supreme setback. With that in mind, he's aligning everything against preventing a rise in gas prices, even if that means empowering or aiding Russia and Iran.

If Biden believed in Russia and Iran's defeat, he'd promote that view and explain the price of victory to Americans. He's not making that case. He's choosing a muddled middle ground in which Israel and Ukraine are forced to bear the price of the White House's bad foreign policy.

Ukraine and Israel are not interested in playing a losing game, and who can blame them? They're the ones staring down the barrel of a threat. Biden worries about gas pumps, and Ukraine and Israel are concerned about survival.

Success or failure in Israel or Ukraine sits in the White House. The aid packages are hot-button issues, but that's child's play compared to hitting Russia and Iran where it counts. And when push comes to shove, Biden is choosing his own campaign, which benefits Russia and Iran over our allies. All you have to do is follow the gas bill to figure out the truth.

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