Biden begs OPEC for oil for political preservation — after kneecapping America’s energy industry

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For the third time in fewer than eight months, Saudi Arabia has deliberately humiliated President Joe Biden on the world stage.

Biden, lauded as a preeminent foreign-policy expert after a half-century in the Senate, couldn’t get the Saudis to answer his phone calls in March. He made a personal visit to the kingdom in August to ask them to increase oil production, and they declined. And on Thursday, the Saudis provocatively released a statement confirming the Biden administration had asked them to hold off oil-production cuts until after the midterm elections to “avoid bad news.”

Biden, after shooting America’s oil industry in the foot, asks OPEC for first aid.

For a purported statesman, he is decidedly ignorant about the geopolitics of fossil fuels. OPEC is not our friend and not our ally. The cartel was created in 1960 for the explicit purpose of challenging and defeating America’s oil industry. President Jimmy Carter was just as naïve thinking OPEC would respond to reason or diplomacy.

“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake,” Napoleon reportedly said two centuries ago. Team Biden begging the Saudis and OPEC, yet again, is not just bad strategy — it’s shameful.

Biden’s speechwriters often end his teleprompter remarks with a phrase they probably want etched on the façade of his presidential library: “There’s nothing we can’t do when we come together.” Clearly, that line does not refer to producing our own oil.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman greets President Biden at Al Salman Palace upon his arrival in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on July 15, 2022.
Reuters
River Oil Field
The Saudis released a statement confirming the Biden administration had asked them to hold off oil-production cuts until after the midterm elections to “avoid bad news.”
AP/ Jae. C Hong

We do not need the Saudis or OPEC. We had a domestic energy industry so robust, in 2018 we became a net petroleum exporter for the first time since 1949. Prices were lower across the board — the opposite of inflation rates at 40-year highs.

Our policies made the OPEC nations economically weaker. Before the COVID pandemic, Saudi Arabia’s economy was shrinking while oil prices stabilized at $64 a barrel. Today, the kingdom rejoices as it sits on billions of surplus petrodollars. Biden’s domestic energy policy has hurt Americans while making America weak abroad.

As for the shameful, Biden has leased the fewest acres for oil and gas drilling than any president since World War II. He’s canceled lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and on both coasts.

It’s shameful to go begging authoritarians for oil when you have, at your fingertips, all the life-saving oil your citizens need. It’s shameful for the president to see Americans suffer but refuse to stand up to radical green groups.

What’s most despicable is that Biden does this not for our benefit — but for his political party’s showing in the midterms. Biden does not want Americans to win. He wants Democrats to win the election. Those are not remotely the same thing.

Team Biden and Democrats play tricks to obfuscate this truth. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) pretends domestic oil levels are just shy of former President Donald Trump’s records. He does this by including the 1 million barrels Biden takes out of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve per day as new production. He knows this is a ploy. The Biden administration knows as well, but such numeric manipulations are expected from a team that tried to convince us inflation is “transitory.”

We should be exhausted with rhetorical political games and partisan duplicity. President Barack Obama was caught on a hot mic in 2012 telling Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to exercise patience as he would have “more flexibility” after the election. The message to Vladimir Putin, the real Russian leader, was clear: Obama had two policies, one for the Russians and one for the American people, and the latter would not have political or electoral costs. That duplicity should have cost him in the 2012 election.

Rep. Ro Khanna
Rep. Ro Khanna pretends domestic oil levels are just shy of former President Donald Trump’s records.
AP/Jacquelyn Martin

Now Biden says the same thing. He has one policy for Saudi Arabia and OPEC and another for the American people, and the latter should not have political or electoral costs. That duplicity should cost him everything.

As Americans head into winter paying more for food, gas, electricity and heating oil and as the OPEC nations rejoice in their growing wealth and power, Biden’s top priority is political preservation. All this while America’s God-given blessing of abundant fossil fuels lies trapped under our feet because of climate hysteria.

There’s a price to pay for Biden’s foreign and energy policy weakness and duplicity. It’s too bad the American people are stuck picking up the tab.

Daniel Turner is the founder and executive director of Power The Future, a national nonprofit organization that advocates for American energy jobs.

Twitter: @DanielTurnerPTF

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