In Ukraine, Cold War II Meets the 'Great Reset'

Luckily for humanity, the outbreak of the Second Cold War has hampered the Great Reset project by fragmenting the international order on whose concerted coordination it is premised. The international order is split anew. For the first time since the end of Cold War I, Russian oligarchs were not welcome at the annual World Economic Forum gathering. "Russia’s absence at Davos," write Fidler and Simmons at the Wall Street Journal, "marks the unraveling of Globalization... The Davos meeting ... came to symbolize the era of globalization... Now, many participants are convinced that the era is over, its demise accelerated by the war in Ukraine."

Even before Putin's armies actually crossed the Ukrainian frontier, it was clear that an important part of the global world order had broken down. At a speech before the Munich Security Conference on Feb 19, 2022, three days before the invasion, British prime minister Boris Johnson said "we have to steel ourselves for the possibility of a protracted crisis, with Russia maintaining the pressure and searching for weaknesses over an extended period, and we must together refuse to be worn down. What Europe needs is strategic endurance, and we should focus our energies on preserving our unity and on deepening trans-Atlantic cooperation... After a generation of freedom, we’re now staring at a generation of bloodshed and misery."

Four months later, during a visit to embattled Kyiv, Johnson confirmed his prediction based on battlefield events. "I am afraid that we need to steel ourselves for a long war, as Putin resorts to a campaign of attrition, trying to grind down Ukraine by sheer brutality... the U.K. and our friends must respond by ensuring that Ukraine has the strategic endurance to survive and eventually prevail. Everything will depend on whether Ukraine can strengthen its ability to defend its soil faster than Russia can renew its capacity to attack... Our task is to enlist time on Ukraine's side."

Time running out for Plucky Little Ukraine?

Historians in the future may well regard Boris Johnson's "strategic endurance" speech as the equivalent of Churchill's Iron Curtain warning, when the unity of the anti-Nazi coalition collapsed into the first Cold War. "From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent," the old lion warned less than a year after Nazi Germany surrendered. It took a little longer after the fall of the USSR to happen, but Russia and China are also building a separate world.

Foreign Affairs puts the date the split formally began as Feb 4, 2022: "There they were, meeting in Beijing on February 4: Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Shortly before the start of the 2022 Winter Olympics, the two leaders released a remarkable 5,300-word joint statement about how the partnership between China and Russia would have no limits: "the existing world order, which aspired to build a global commonwealth, had already been failing." Twenty days later, Russia invaded Ukraine.

Yet neither the Davoisie nor the Biden administration saw it coming. Instead of recognizing the pandemic that China covered up as the death knell of the global world, they saw it as a chance for its fulfillment. Up until the outbreak of the war both Europe and America were obsessed with "climate change," so when Russian oil and Ukrainian wheat went off the world market Washington was caught completely off guard by the energy crisis and threat of famine that ensued. Biden, reports Politico, is racing against time to unlock Ukraine’s trapped grain. "The Biden administration is desperate to find ways to move as much grain as possible out of the war-torn country. They estimate the blockade is holding back more than 20 million tons of grain from the world food supply, driving food prices and world hunger to near-crisis levels." The current world clearly has higher priorities than the diversity, inclusion and environmentalism envisioned by the Great Resetters. It needs in the first instance, simply to eat.

Time for a volte-face?

There are no quick fixes. The fuel crisis has forced Biden to wrench his energy policy into reverse. But even those desperate reversals, says the New York Times, "which environmentalists and many Democrats oppose because they would retard efforts to combat climate change — would have little immediate impact because it takes months for new oil wells to start producing and pipelines can take years to build." Bill Maher ripped Biden for getting off fossil fuels without a replacement and with the president now begging Saudi Arabia for oil. "But the truth is that when people get off fossil fuels before they have a replacement, they wind up going back to even worse fossil fuels," Maher added, "Germany said, 'We don’t want nuclear power anymore,' which is the cleanest, and what did they have to go back to? Coal."

Coal is what China and India have never stopped doing in a big way. "If you think the world is moving beyond coal, think again. The post-Covid economic rebound and surging electricity demand have resulted in big increases in coal prices and coal demand. Since January, the Newcastle benchmark price for coal has doubled. And over the past few weeks, China and India have announced plans to increase their domestic coal production by a combined total of 700 million tons per year. For perspective, U.S. coal production this year will total about 600 million tons." Edward Grey's famous remark from August 3, 1914 comes to mind. "The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime."

But today Grey might add that the oil would keep the lamps burning in China. Few realized that at best renewables would take decades to implement; that it would take trillions to revamp the grid and other infrastructure before wind and solar could be depended on to any major extent. Biden and the Western Europeans failed to account for this, or assumed that the Woke West could surreptitiously make up the difference from Russian imports indefinitely -- and are now paying the price.

A British military think tank  argues that if the West is to have any hope winning the new long war against Russia and China -- acquire strategic endurance in Boris Johnson's words -- it must reindustrialize immediately. "The war in Ukraine has proven that the age of industrial warfare is still here. The massive consumption of equipment, vehicles and ammunition requires a large-scale industrial base for resupply – quantity still has a quality of its own."

This reality should be a concrete warning to Western countries, who have scaled down military industrial capacity and sacrificed scale and effectiveness for efficiency. This strategy relies on flawed assumptions about the future of war, and has been influenced by both the bureaucratic culture in Western governments and the legacy of low-intensity conflicts. Currently, the West may not have the industrial capacity to fight a large-scale war.

Even achieving stalemate in Ukraine would mean re-shoring industry and reducing dependence on China/Russia. That would mean the end of the global world, and for the moment at least, a halt to the dream of Davos and the Great Reset. While this would be a cruel disappointment to the Left there's no help for it. The West will need vast quantities of everything Woke doesn't make to win Cold War II: food, energy, freedom, healthy demographics and testosterone. It is possible to win Cold War II or be Woke, but not both. This is the fundamental choice Western politics must wrestle with in the coming years.

Seven-Dollar Gas Just Around the Corner

We've just passed Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer, and most Americans have already begun to map out their vacation plans for this year. After two summers lost to the Wuhan coronavirus there seems to be a widespread desire to make up for lost time by packing the kids into the car and heading out for an adventure.

Unfortunately, the price of gasoline figures to take up a significantly larger chunk of the vacation budget this year. The Energy Information Administration's average gas price tracker has been helpfully demonstrating the fact that, with more-or-less every update, we set a new record for prices at the pump. That record for the week ending on May 30th is $4.727 per gallon, with prices in some places in California topping the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour according to CBS News. These are almost unimaginable sums considering the fact that the price was $2.464 when Joe Biden took office.

And it's going to get worse. Fuel price analyst Patrick De Haan predicts that the price of gas will hit $5 per gall by June 17th. JPMorgan analyst Natasha Kaneva predicts that we will be paying $6.20 nationally by August. Both of those projections came out before the announcement that the European Union would ban Russian oil and gas imports by the end of 2022, which led to a significant increase in the per-barrel price of oil. Which is to say, those might be underestimates. We could be close to $6 per gallon by the Fourth of July. Maybe by Labor Day we'll be nearing $7.

Speaking of Russia, Ed Morrisey deftly counters the ridiculous White House spin that this is a crisis of Putin's making, saying "Gas prices have escalated by 91% under Joe Biden … so far. They went up 43% before Vladimir Putin began positioning troops around Ukraine, in fact." Had Biden not declared war on the oil and gas industry right out of the gate, we would have been better able to absorb Putin's blow to oil markets. Indeed, we would have been well positioned to step into the role of Europe's preferred energy supplier, likely bringing about a Russian energy embargo much sooner and possibly preventing the war from dragging on as long as it has.

Luckily Biden's attempt to pass the buck doesn't seem to be fooling anyone--  a new poll by the Trafalgar Group found that 60 percent of Americans believe Biden's policies are primarily to blame for our current economic woes. That bodes well for the midterm elections and, if it holds, for the elections in 2024.

Maybe those will lead to the types of policy changes that will turn this crisis around. Unfortunately they won't happen soon enough to keep gas prices from ruining our summer.

THE COLUMN: Why Are We In Ukraine?

By now, it's a commonplace to observe that, in accordance with Conquest's Third Law of Politics, our country is ruled by a cabal of her enemies. The brief Trump interregnum between 24 years of Clinton/Bush/Obama—in retrospect, nearly indistinguishable in the havoc each wreaked on the United States—and now the first term of Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., is barely a blip on the radar screen of Progressivism. As Mark Antony observes during Caesar's funeral oration: “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.” Welcome to the boneyard of America.

This is, alas, true regardless of whether the men themselves were of good character. Clinton wasn't, Bush more or less was, Obama isn't, and Biden is one of the worst men ever to assume the presidency: a bully, a liar, a plagiarist, a mediocrity and, at this stage of his senescence, a clear and present danger. As for Trump, no one ever mistook him for a secular saint, and indeed he was brought down and done in by his own manifest personal imperfections, poor personnel choices, and chronic inability to control his self-destructive solipsistic nature. But in Trump's case the good he did has already been interred with the bones of his presidency, and we are now left at the mercy of a vengeful Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party determined to bring us to heel and ruination.

Case in point: the Ukraine. Back in 1965, an accidental president, Lyndon Baines Johnson, hit upon the brilliant idea of fully involving the U.S. in a pointless war in Vietnam and southeast Asia. Nobody wanted this war. "I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong," observed Muhammad Ali around that time, upon learning that his vengeful draft board had just reclassified the heavyweight champion of the world from 1-Y (qualified for service only in time of war or national emergency) to 1-A. Most Americans agreed with him. LBJ, however, didn't care. We had to save Asian boys from the consequences of their imported Gallic laziness and martial impotence.

What a steaming pile of Texas codswallop that was, and even those of us who were in high school at the time knew it. But thus began the Forever Wars, the latest incarnation of which is currently being held in Kiev, Ukraine, formerly the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Although it's in a war zone, the manifest lack of danger to visiting American politicians and aging rock stars is quite obvious, as Jill Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and even Mitch McConnell have all showed up in party attire to what's supposed to be a live-fire zone, to take in the sights and perhaps enjoy a few golden oldies. Cui bono, or should I say cui Bono? As the playwright David Mamet notes in his new book, Recessional: The Death of Free Speech and the Cost of a Free Lunch: "When all politicians are agreed, someone is getting bought off."

This would be the same Ukraine whose dirty fingerprints are all over every significant scandal of the past several years, including the odiferous Burisma deal with the Biden family, as well as various electoral shenanigans in which prominent members of the amoral establishment political-consulting class have been involved up to their eyeballs, including David "Jake Lingle" Axelrod, Steve Schmidt, Mark Penn, Paul Begala, and Paul Manafort. As U.S. News noted in 2014:

Manafort isn’t alone in plying his trade in the former Soviet republic; as the Times noted in 2007, former Bill Clinton pollster Stan Greenberg was working for Ukraine’s then-president, Viktor Yushchenko, as were GOP operatives Steve Schmidt and Neil Newhouse. By the 2010 presidential campaign, the Times reported, Yuschenko had retained another former Clinton strategist, Mark Penn, while then-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko had hired David Axelrod’s old firm, AKPD Media. (It’s a small world after all: Schmidt would go on to manage John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign against AKPD client Barack Obama; Newhouse would in 2012 poll for long-time client Mitt Romney in his presidential bid.)

The U.S.-Ukraine political nexus hasn’t just involved campaign work. As Reuters’ Mark Hosenball and Warren Strobel reported last December, the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, “a Brussels-based organization sympathetic to [Yanukovych] and his political party” had paid nearly $1.5 million over the preceding two years to the firms of lobbying heavyweights like Republican former Reps. Vin Weber and Billy Tauzin and Democrat Anthony Podesta (whose brother John is a senior counselor in the White House). Where the Centre gets its funding is unclear, Reuters reported: “In a filing with the European Union, the group listed its budget for the financial year ending in November as 10,000 euros, or about $14,000 – a fraction of the $1.46 million it paid the Washington lobbyists.”

It's also the birthplace of Alexander Vindman, the professional rat fink who was one of the central figures in the bogus first impeachment of Donald Trump, which was occasioned by Trump's raising the issue of the Biden family's involvement in the Ukrainian financial sewer system:

I was a 44-year-old U.S. Army lieutenant colonel assigned to a position equivalent to that of a two-star general, three levels above my rank. Since July 2018, I’d been at the National Security Council, serving as the director for Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Russia. Recently, deep concerns had been growing throughout the U.S. foreign-policy community regarding two of the countries I was responsible for. We’d long been confused by the president’s policy of accommodation and appeasement toward Russia. But now there were new, rapidly emerging worries. This time the issue was the president’s inexplicable hostility toward a U.S. partner crucial to our Russia strategy: Ukraine.

"Our" Russia strategy"? Easy enough for a guy born in Kiev to say. And "inexplicable" only if you're rooting for the other side. But if like all of the Democrats and at least half the Republicans in Congress you're on the bipartisan team Gravy Train, elbow deep in the one supply chain—the military-industrial complex's arms-procurement racket— that's working just fine, you're sitting pretty while real Americans suffer. After all, nothing's too good for keyboard whiz Volodymyr Zelensky and Plucky Little Ukraine, so the hell with your baby formula.

True, the latest money-laundering bill to emerge from Maerose Prizzi and Yertle the Turtle's congress is temporarily on hold because that skunk at the garden party, Rand Paul, refused to make unanimous this latest looting of the American treasury:

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul defied leaders of both parties Thursday and delayed until next week Senate approval of an additional $40 billion to help Ukraine and its allies withstand Russia's three-month old invasion. With the Senate poised to debate and vote on the package of military and economic aid, Paul denied leaders the unanimous agreement they needed to proceed. The bipartisan measure, backed by President Joe Biden, underscores U.S. determination to reinforce its support for Ukraine's outnumbered forces.

The legislation has been approved overwhelmingly by the House and has strong bipartisan support in the Senate. Final passage is not in doubt.

Of course it's not. Why would it be? From LBJ's Vietnam to Bush pere et fils' unfathomable obsession with Iraq and Afghanistan, to the Establishment's newfound fealty to the Ukraine and its roundheeled banks and politicians, and their proxy war with Russia, Americans of my generation have hardly known a moment's peace. And for what? No bono here: the nation's economy is shot, its infrastructure's a joke, its military can't fight, its police are hamstrung in the face of decriminalized crime, its institutions are all under assault by the demon spawn of the Frankfurt School, and its domestic tranquility has been torn asunder.

Instead of listening to Johnson, we should have listened to a far greater president, the man who won the war in Europe, and one of the finest military/logistical minds this country has ever produced. Naturally, in his day, he was scorned by the Democrats as "stupid" and "inarticulate," just as pretty much every Republican president elected since has been. But hear him out:

All class, and not bad from a poor kid from Abilene, Kansas. Ike's gift was a clear-eyed assessment of reality, an understanding of his enemies, and the willpower to get the job done. He, better than most of his contemporaries, grasped the rapid increase in technological change and its unholy partnership with the federal government occasioned by World War II. "Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields." But even with (and perhaps due to) his long years of military service, beginning at West Point and ending as Commander-in-Chief, he was under no illusions about the dangers of such a partnership ahead:

A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction... American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions... This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience... Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications....

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic process. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

The ancient Romans had a stricture against keeping legions under arms in the Italian heartland. It was Caesar's defiance of this edict in 49 B.C. when he crossed the Rubicon with the Thirteenth Legion and headed for Rome, that ultimately spelled the end of the Republic and the descent into civil war. Now here we are, being driven toward war with Vladimir Putin's Russia by a relentless military-industrial propaganda campaign organized by a corrupt gerontocracy in command of our armed forces in support of a dubious cause, for absolutely no good reason of state. 

What are we going to do about it?

There's No Green Way of War

When last heard from, I was pointing out that Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, though undoubtedly a monstrous crime by every decent standard, had produced one worthwhile consequence. It had forced the political leaders of the Western world to be much more realistic about their policies on energy. The first expression of this realism was the strategic decision of several European countries, above all Germany, to reduce their dependence on Russian oil and gas.

There’s been more talk than action on this front since February 24, with commitments followed by qualifications, but European governments now seem on the verge of agreeing upon a collective plan to substantially cut their demand for cheap Russian energy. That will have a massive impact on the world’s energy markets with innumerable secondary effects that we can only dimly foresee but which we will shortly be experiencing.

Among them, however, is that this decision will complicate even further what is the invasion’s second major consequence for energy policy—namely, it has made the legally-binding commitment by Western governments to a Net-Zero policy of reducing carbon emissions by 2050 completely unrealistic so that it will have to be substantially re-thought.

Governments aren’t good at rethinking bad policies even when they’re minor policies, and Net-Zero isn’t a minor policy. Once President Biden entered office, every government in the West had committed itself to Net-Zero policies and Boris Johnson had held a vast international conference to make that commitment as dramatic and as unsayable as possible.

In happier times: David Attenborough and Boris Johnson.

You see the problem. If you nail yourself to a sinking ship, you must learn not only how to swim but also how to remove nails from planks. That’s too embarrassing for modern Western governments to admit publicly. They want to combine—and camouflage—these two exercises with lectures on the unchangeable necessity of nails remaining in planks. Accordingly, as the priorities for energy policy change in order to resist Putin’s Russia, all the secondary policies that Net-Zero requires are trundled out to establish the falsehood that energy priorities remain unchanged and unchangeable. The result is what’s known as “cognitive dissonance” or following contradictory policies simultaneously.

Here, for instance, is a recent report from the Guardian via Yahoo News that Northern Irish farmers have been instructed to cull their herds by more than 500,000 cattle and 700,000 sheep to reduce methane emissions (from cow and sheep farts) in order to meet “legally binding climate targets” required for Net-Zero. You may have missed this news. Understandably. But you are more likely to have come across two much bigger current news stories.

The first is that Britain is fighting a major diplomatic war with the European Union over the Northern Ireland protocol that imposes an internal United Kingdom customs barrier in the Irish Sea damaging to, among others, Northern Irish farmers. The second is that the British people are facing a massive “cost of living” crisis as the bills for Covid, lockdown costs, and Net-Zero regulations cascade onto the U.K. Treasury which promptly passes them onto the voters in the form of higher taxes and soaring energy bills. Both these crises will now be made worse for British people, and in particular for the farmers in Northern Ireland, by the need to abide by Net-Zero policies even though they’ve been made irrelevant by the post-Ukraine energy re-think.

The farmers will face serious loss of income, the government will be mired in a political crisis, and the hard-pressed U.K. consumer will have to pay higher prices for beef and lamb—when he or she can find them that is, since the (quietly stated) aim of the policy is to get people to eat less meat by providing less of it in supermarkets. In practice many people will reduce other purchases in order to continue eating the same amounts of meat at considerably higher prices. The cost of living crisis will be aggravated, tax revenues will fall, and market signals will be replaced by administrative commands--with the usual results. A policy of making people poorer turns out to be quite expensive—as the next news story shows in spades.

In happier times: beef on the hoof.

Britain has a National Infrastructure Commission—not many people know that—which is looking at ways to fund the change from heating homes with gas boilers to doing so with ground-based electric heat pumps. It will offer the government its advice next year, but the NIC chairman, former Whitehall mandarin Sir John Armitt, has kindly given us a preview of how its collective mind is working.

He told the Daily Telegraph that a ban on new gas boilers would have to be imposed in order to force consumers to buy heat pumps instead. In his own mellifluous words:

 Why would you move to a heat pump at somewhere between £5-£15,000 as long as you can buy or exchange for a new gas boiler for £1,500? The only way that you can make such a significant shift is by saying, well, ‘from a particular date, you will not be able to buy a new gas boiler’.

Good question—and one that the political class answered some time ago in Whitehall but that the voters are really being asked for the first time. Not unfittingly therefore Sir John replied to himself as follows:.

As long as we hold 2050 net zero targets, close to our hearts, there is going to be a tension. Because to get to that point, it’s going to require very big long-term decisions which will cost money. And then at the same time, no politician wants voters on its back because the price of energy is going up. So yes, there is a tension, which requires a very honest debate and discussion. [My italics]

The most honest response to that is that the only people in Britain who seriously hold Net-Zero targets close to their hearts are senior civil servants and the kind of radical environmentalist protesters who glue themselves to the road and obstruct traffic in preference to rational argument. Government ministers used to be in that category, but the Russo-Ukraine war is forcing them to confront the facts of life and death and of politics too.

In energy policy the facts are that the West can’t afford to sustain Ukraine in its resistance to Russia by relying either on Russian supplies of oil and gas or on renewable energy sources such as wind and sun. Both are inherently unreliable. Inevitably, therefore, we will be later in switching to renewables, using fossil fuels for longer than we had planned, and looking for new sources of fossil fuels and employing new methods such as fracking to do so.

In short we will gradually abandon—or in the softer language of bureaucracy—extend the Net-Zero targets to a later date. That being so, why do we prevent people eating what they wish and force them to spend large sums on expensive heat pumps that—final piece of honesty—don’t actually warm their homes as well as the heaters they already have. It shouldn't cost so much money simply to save a government's face.

THE COLUMN: In the Ukraine Proxy War, What Price Victory?

"Victory has a thousand fathers," said John F. Kennedy, "but defeat is an orphan." By that measure, America is running a military establishment that more closely resembles an overpopulated Dickensian sweat shop than a modern war machine. Indeed, it's been so long since the United States has won a war -- back when the War Department still existed, in fact -- that hardly any living American knows what "victory" means any more. But what difference does it make? This man's army is now the province of pregnant females, transsexuals, and born-male admirals in skirts. No wonder it can't fight.

But whose army can? As it happens, today is "Victory Day" in the former Soviet Union, marking the defeat of the Wehrmacht by the Red Army under Stalin and Marshal Zhukov in 1945. The occasion will be marked in Russia by strutting military parades, of the good old-fashioned Soviet kind, but minus the, you know, victory. With Russia tied down in its slog against Plucky Little Ukraine, the hollow nature of what was once the world's most formidable land army has now been laid bare for all to see. 

Accordingly, Vladimir Putin is now at a crossroads: to go all in, including the use of tactical or other nuclear weapons, or to withdraw in defeat? Since his grasp on power wouldn't survive the second option, betting the collective farms and the tractor factories of his youth in the U.S.S.R. is the only path open to him, absent some kind of deus ex machina who magically appears and somehow restores the status quo ante. And even then, we're right back where we started.

Where it ended: May 8, 1945.

As I remarked on Facebook the other day (the fascists at Twitter having closed that platform to me for the past two years for no reason they can adequately explain), I'd sleep more easily at night if I thought that a single member of the Biden administration or the "Defense" Department establishment had read War and Peace, a poem by Pushkin, or taken in a performance of Tchaikovsky's opera, Eugene Onegin.

The least we could expect from our crack team of diplomats and REMFs is that they know what or where the Third Rome is, or the story of the conversion of the Kievan Rus, or how deep the roots of the Orthodox Church run in the Muslim-desecrated occupation of the Church of Holy Wisdom and the ruins of Constantinople and the Eastern Roman Empire. But no, that would be asking too much of the credentialed empty suits who prowl the corridors of "Defense" or State and see the world through the partisan lenses of the JFK School of Government-- which basically comes down to, what have you done for me lately?

Not to mention, had read Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita, heard a live performance of Shostakovich's Fifth or Seventh ("Leningrad") symphonies, or seen either Prokofiev's The Fiery Angel or Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk at least once in their miserable, Harvard-educated lives. Then, perhaps, they might catch a glimpse, or hear an echo, of the Russian soul, as in this memorably manic scene from the Shostakovich opera's third act, when a shabby peasant in search of booze stumbles upon Zinovy's body hidden in the wine-cellar and the orchestra explodes in an orgy of pent-up, violent hysteria:

But no, that would be too much to ask. Far better to commit the characteristic American sin of regarding all the rest of the world's peoples, cultures, and nations as the rough equivalent, albeit inferior, of our own, and expecting that their savage denizens will react in the same way to the same carrot-and-stick stimuli as our own peasants do. After all, as we learned in Vietnam, inside every benighted foreigner is an American screaming to get out. Why, just look at the southern border!

On the other hand, it would provide a clue to the members of Biden war party why Putin launched his attack on the Ukraine and what he hopes to gain from it. It is wise to remember that this is a man who saw his country shot out from underneath him between 1989 and 1991, and his world turned upside down. Imagine an American politician who witnessed Texas and the southwest being handed back to Mexico and the disputed Oregon Country returned to British Canada in the wake of a catastrophic military defeat or governmental collapse.

Slowly, Putin has been trying to piece together the old Mother Russia, at least as he understands it, which means off-loading the 'stans, neutralizing the Georgians and the Armenians, but reuniting Slavic lands such as Ukraine and Belarus (already firmly in his camp), and eyeing the Baltics as well. His alliance with the Russian Orthodox Church at least gives him a religious fig leaf in his quest to resurrect the Third Rome and motivate his demographically dying country with dreams of past and possibly future glory.

The Kremlin's allies once more.

The bigger, more important question, however, is this: why are the Clinton-Obama-Biden Democrats trying to make the conflict in the Ukraine into a proxy war against Russia? Why, knowing of Putin's increasing desperation to finish the job, have they given him no diplomatic way out? Why instead have they pushed an obsolete NATO right up to his borders, when if there's one thing that makes Russians crazy it's territorial encroachment from the west? Just ask Napoleon how that worked out for him.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization won its war against the U.S.S.R. at the end of 1991 when the Soviet Union was dissolved on Christmas Day. Accordingly, it has no further reason for existence and should have been dissolved itself decades ago. As Eisenhower, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe, reported to the combined Allied chiefs of staff upon General Jodl's surrender: "The mission of this Allied Force was fulfilled at 0241, local time, May 7th, 1945."

Short and sweet.

But don't forget the exception to every rule: a bureaucracy, especially the demon child of the military-industrial complex, will never willingly commit suicide. And so NATO has staggered on, expanding rather than contracting, waving the Russian flag as a kind of bogeyman/talisman in order to keep its coffers full and its officers well-fed.

The fact is that the Russians -- the Democrats' favorite allies right up to the minute they cast off Communism! -- needed to be maintained as a threat. And so, in the direct aftermath of her 2016 election loss, Hillary Clinton and her flying monkeys in the media concocted the so-called "Russian collusion" hoax, which is only just beginning to finally unravel in the courts now. 

In the meantime, the Biden forces, hell-bent on finishing the job of "fundamental transformation" of the country that Barack Hussein Obama was just too lazy to complete, are doing everything they can to provoke a shooting war with Putin's Russia. "A weakened Russia" is one of the administration's explicit goals, as the current secretary of defense, Lloyd Austin, has declared. And while the administration has denied it, it does appear that the U.S. has been sharing intelligence regarding the targeting of Russian military commanders and other high-value targets -- which is an overt act of war and no doubt is regarded as such by Putin and his officers. And that is very dangerous, especially since they have nowhere else to go.

Many in the American commentariat were on record right up to the moment that Putin sent in his tanks that the Russians wouldn't dare invade; I was convinced he would, on historical and revanchist grounds. Once he did, most expected an easy rollover. What followed was not so much surprise at the rusty Russians' lack of military capability (armies that are not used disintegrate; armies that never know victory are easily demoralized) but the alacrity with which the U.S. and most of Western Europe sprang into action. Sanctions flew, signs sprouted, and the propaganda machine immediately cranked into overdrive, elevating the comedian-president of one of the most corrupt nations in Europe -- and the Bidens' private piggy bank -- to Churchillian status almost overnight with a unanimity remarkable even by current corporate-media lickspittle standards.

America is now flirting with disaster as it engages with a wounded, nuclear-armed bear that won't hesitate to use theater or tactical nukes if it feels an existential threat. And why wouldn't it? It's seen this movie before. Even Jill Biden is currently kicking sand in Putin's face. Meanwhile, here at home, the U.S. is cratering almost as surely as the Soviet Union, riven by irreconcilable domestic moral and political differences; all of its principal constitutional edifices under attack by the Left, including the Supreme Court; the economy circling the drain; the supply chain thoroughly disrupted by an outrageous medical alarum bordering on a malignant hoax; our woke military emasculated; and our civic faith in almost every institution destroyed. Meanwhile, a gerontological elite that rivals in its longevity the Struldbruggs in Swift's Gulliver's Travels continues to heedlessly shuffle its way toward disaster.

So what will it take to bring America to either its senses or its knees? What does victory look like in this pointless war? In 1945 Soviet soldiers waved the hammer and sickle over the ruins of Berlin. In 1989, I stood at the crumbling Wall between the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag, and somehow wound up with some Grepo's cap as a souvenir. Luckily, the Cold War never quite turned hot. But if this war -- Biden's War -- goes nuclear, what will be left to grasp? A handful of radioactive dust? Pray that somebody in Washington comes to his senses, and soon -- but don't count on it.

Never Trust a Junkie

It seems like every day Germany inadvertently contributes to the case against environmentalism. As we've had occasion to discuss before at The Pipeline, over the last few decades Germany, driven by environmental concerns, has been shutting down their (essentially zero carbon) nuclear power plans with an eye towards a total transition to green energy as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, technology being what it is, running a first world nation of 80 million people on wind and solar energy is currently impossible. So to make up the difference in energy supply and demand, Germany has taken to 1) burning massive amounts of (carbon intensive) coal and 2) importing massive amounts of oil and natural gas from Russia.

Of course, Russia then invaded Ukraine, making itself a pariah state. The E.U. hit it with a host of economic sanctions, as did the United States. The object of these was to tank the Russian economy -- which is heavily reliant on oil and gas revenues -- forcing President Putin to back down. And Germany, led by new chancellor Olaf Scholz, has been directing the charge. They've issued full-throated condemnations of Russia's actions and pledged to double their military spending in response. They've even announced a new policy towards Russia known as Zeitenwende, or "Sea Change," suggesting that they're going to end their reliance on Russian energy as soon as possible.

Olaf Scholz: tough talk, no action.

But actions speak louder than words, and CNN reports that Germany is desperately searching for ways to circumvent anti-Russian sanctions. They are particularly desperate the find a way to meet Russia's demand that existing oil and gas contracts be paid for in rubles rather than euros, a strategy that they've employed -- rather successfully -- to counter western sanctions and keep their economy afloat while the war continues.

Gas distributors in Germany and Austria told CNN Business that they were working on ways to accept a Russian ultimatum that final payments for its gas must be made in rubles, while complying with EU sanctions.... Buyers could make euro or dollar payments into an account at Russia’s Gazprombank, which would then convert the funds into rubles and transfer them to a second account from which the payment to Russia would be made. Germany’s Uniper said on Thursday... that it believes a “payment conversion compliant with sanctions law” is possible.

It helps that Germany is essentially the most important member of the E.U. and as such it has a lot of say over how sanctions will be enforced. So this comes as no surprise:

The European Commission issued guidance to EU member states last week saying that is “appears possible” that buyers could comply with the new Russian rules without getting into conflict with EU law. EU governments are likely to allow the payment mechanism to go ahead, Eurasia Group said in a note on Thursday.

Which is to say that Germany is going to find a way to keep paying for Russian energy, keeping the ruble afloat and ensuring that the war in Ukraine continues, no matter what Chancellor Scholz says when he's on camera. They're addicted, and addicts are unreliable.

Germany: A Cautionary Tale

Richard Fernandez recently wrote about Germany's famous (and infamous) Energiewende policy program, whose object was to transition the country away from low-carbon natural gas and effectively zero-carbon nuclear energy, but whose consequence has been to replace them with carbon-intensive coal while getting the country addicted to Russian oil and gas. The irony of this is something we've touched on before at The Pipeline, as when we pointed out the fact that Germany, an inspiration to environmentalists the world over, has been "bulldozing forests for the purposes of mining coal," at the same time as the purportedly evil empire of America, governed by a cabal of grasping oil executives in smoke-filled rooms, has led the world in total emissions reduction since the year 2000.

In a more just world, tree-huggers everywhere would be celebrating the fracking revolution rather than obsessing over environmentally questionable solar panels and biomass. But, as Fernandez discusses, while we could all see how badly the Energiewende was going -- the Wall Street Journal called it the "world’s dumbest energy policy" years ago -- the war in Ukraine upped the ante considerably. Read his piece for the key details, but one point worth emphasizing is the tremendous economic bind German environmentalism has put the country in. While well-intentioned bleeding hearts the world over have been calling for a total embargo of Russian energy exports, the German government's economic advisors have been pointing out that such an action would lead to a significant contraction of the German economy. Reuters:

Germany would face a sharp recession if gas supplies from Russia are suddenly cut off, the country's leading economic institutes said on Wednesday, and the government said the war in Ukraine poses "substantial risks" for Europe's largest economy. A sudden stop in Russian energy supplies... would slow economic growth to 1.9 percent this year and result in a contraction of 2.2 percent in 2023, they said.... "If gas supplies were to be cut off, the German economy would undergo a sharp recession," said [the Kiel Institute's] Stefan Kooths.... The cumulative loss of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2022 and 2023 in the event of a such supply freeze would likely be around 220 billion euros ($238 billion), or more than 6.5% of annual economic output, the five institutes said.

All you need is a little
Latvian blend."

In fact, it has been reported that for all of their anti-Russian rhetoric, energy starved European nations have been looking for ways to get around the sanctions imposed on Russia in the wake of the invasion. One popular loophole involves the blending of Russian petroleum products in foreign ports with those sourced from other countries. If less than 50 percent of a barrel comes from Russia, it can be sold under a different flag. "Latvian blend" oil has become the euphemism of choice for this product, as Ventspils, a port city Latvia, is where much of this mixing takes place.

There's a take-away from all of this for the United States, Canada, and any other free (or relatively free) nation blessed with natural resources. That is: if you want to control your own destiny, don't follow Germany down this road. It was laid out for them by anti-human, anti-civilization nihilists, and the cost has been astronomical. They exist in our nations too, and they have amassed considerable power. But if we care about our future, it is imperative that we give them the cold shoulder. We need to start putting our interests first, and not empowering "humanitarians" whose efforts inevitably benefit the bad actors of the world.

In Ukraine, Farewell to the 'New World Order'

Hostilities in the Ukraine are now in their second month, devastating the country, destabilizing economies around the world and provoking fears of a wider conflict. It is a war in which there are no heroes: Putin is a military aggressor, Zelensky is the beneficiary of the U.S.-inspired 2014 Euromaidan coup, and Biden and other Western leaders are reckless provocateurs. Interestingly, it has been said that Ukraine is not only about Ukraine or even about Russian imperialism but also about the expansion of neo-Liberal global reach into the economic structure (via SWIFT, the International Monetary Fund, etc.), military organization (via NATO) and the political order of other nations, along with regime change in Russia or its reduction to a pariah state.

There is considerable agreement among scholars and experts that substantiates the hypothesis. Former Portuguese Secretary of State for European Affairs Bruno Maçães points out that “the West feels entitled to pursue its particular vision with all the tools of state power—in many cases, military power… Western values and norms [need] to be interpreted and enforced, and the most powerful nations in the West have always arrogated that task to themselves.” 

More recently, in a wide-ranging interview in The New Yorker with specific reference to Ukraine, University of Chicago political scientist John Mearsheimer argues that “the United States and its European allies share most of the responsibility for this crisis.” Mearsheimer’s hypothesis is clearly predicated on Thucydides’ classic History of The Peloponnesian War. The issue unraveled there is extraordinarily complex, but Thucydides isolates the root cause of the conflict in Athenian power projection and Sparta’s fear of military encroachment and market domination. Each of the belligerents felt it had justice and reason on its side—the concept of πρόφασις (prophasis—the reason or excuse for going to war), which Thucydides carefully distinguishes, will obviously vary, depending on whether you are an Athenian or a Spartan, an American or a Russian. Who is the real aggressor? 

It's all about prophasis.

Mearsheimer, like his historical predecessor, underscores fear or apprehension as the central prophasis. “There is a three-prong strategy at play here,” he writes: “E.U. expansion, NATO expansion, and turning Ukraine into a pro-American liberal democracy.” Russian “fear” of Western power projection on its intimate borders is, for him, the crucial issue.

Mearsheimer is not an oracle—he was patently misguided in his denunciation of the “Israel lobby”—but his view on the Ukrainian imbroglio is persuasive. Moreover, whether he is wrong or right on Ukraine pales in comparison with the geopolitical events now massively underway. Certainly, if Western expansion is the plan, it does not appear to be working.  Unintended consequences will often prevail. As Robert Burns famously wrote, “The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft a-gley.” 

The quagmire in which the West now finds itself is deep, but Zelensky’s urging NATO to “close the skies” is an option that, so to speak, will not fly, short of igniting a major, perhaps nuclear, war that no sane person wants. Indeed, at this point in time, perhaps the most convulsive effect of American and European policy is the unanticipated decoupling of a major part of the world from the so-called New World Order and from a global market ideology, both promoted and imposed by Western powers

Additionally, the laying of crushing sanctions on Russia—the current version of the “Megarian decrees” invoked to exclude Megarian merchants from Athenian markets and, according to Thucydides, one of the initial sparks of the Peloponnesian War—has been an abysmal failure. The result should have been predictable: “enormous economic repercussions” and recessionary pressures at home and the strengthening of the Russian ruble, which has rebounded from its near collapse to become one of the world’s best-performing currencies, currently pegged at 83 to the dollar. 

Putin’s requiring payment in rubles from “unfriendly” nations for Russia’s energy and commodity exports has also helped to recapitalize the ruble. In effect, the severing of Russia from the West has solidified the country’s trade relationships with non-compliant nations like China, India and the Arab bloc, as well as encouraged it to replace its reliance on the international SWIFT banking and messaging network with the Chinese alternative, the Cross-Border Interbank Payment System, or CIPS. Russia and China are also intent on promoting growing cooperation with BRICS, an overlapping economic group consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, in order tooptimiz[e] global economic governance.” According to Ross Kennedy of the Securities Studies Group, this collaboration will eventually lead to a notable increase in non-dollar and non-euro denominated trade.”

This rupture has led to the emergence of what scholars call “Civilization States,” a term coined by ethnopologist Emil Pain as “civilizational nationalism.” Whether this is a pioneering or a regressive development is irrelevant; it is a fact. The concept is elaborated in Taras Kuzio’s just published Russian Nationalism and the Russian-Ukrainian War, which is not kind to Putin, and in an important essay by Fabian Linde referring to countries, in Emil Pain’s words, that affirm an “ideology of separateness” intended to consolidate “society on the basis of concepts of a common historical and cultural essence and to counterpose [one’s] own special and unique community to ‘foreign’ communities.” 

In opposition to the universalist philosophy of the West, such countries embrace their own history, culture, traditions and “currency first” legislation, establish their own trade and diplomatic rules for dealing with the international community, focus on linguistic and religious continuities, stress the importance of longstanding parental and kinship relations as a means to social coherence, and strive to become self-sustaining cultural mega-units via multipolar trade and currency partnerships with other civilization states. In Russia’s case, as noted, these would be China, India and the oil-producing Arab states. Smaller nations, as well, are considering following Russia’s example. The dominoes are beginning to fall. 

In the words of Samuel Huntington from The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, “a civilization is the broadest cultural entity” where people “feel culturally at home.” Former Cambridge University sociologist Göran Therborn similarly describes civilization as “an ancient cultural configuration… the deepest layer of contemporary cultural geology,” a more comprehensive and historically unified totality than the discrete political organization and constitutional frameworks of nation states. In essence, a civilization state is a more encompassing prescriptive category than that of the nation-state. 

How's that globalism workin' out for ya?

As Indian General Secretary of the ruling Bharatiya Janatra Party Ram Madhav has deposed, “Asia will rule the world, and that changes everything because in Asia we have civilizations rather than nations.” Analogously, Bruno Maçães recalls, during a visit to China, being told by his handler: “Always remember that China is a civilization rather than a nation state.” Nation-states, Maçães reminds us, “are a Western invention. Civilizations are an alternative to the West… a common, increasingly integrated political and economic landscape.” The civilization-state refuses to sacrifice its specific culture for the sake of the secular and cosmopolitan unipolar project adopted by Western societies. Nor does it consider the so-called “international community of nations” as more than a convenient Western figment.

Another basic distinction between the Western nation-state in its contemporary evolution and the Eastern civilization-state in its current emergence has to do with borders. While retaining its governing apparatus, the modern nation state is increasingly porous, opening its borders to refugees legal and illegal and rampant immigration. The development of a centralized banking network equally plays into the dissolution of independent monetary policy—that is, the nation-state has opened its fiscal borders as well. The civilization-state, while larger in its population mass and in its embracing of long-enduring cultural values and historical antecedents, is paradoxically smaller in the sense of keeping its borders closed to outliers and resisting global control of its currency protocols, trading provisions and supervening organizations. 

This is very bad news for the missionary universalism of the neo-Liberal unipolar West and its presumably unstoppable historical thrust toward a global neo-liberal system, which Francis Fukayama enthusiastically touted in The End of History and the Last Man. As a result of a momentous miscalculation regarding the Ukraine conflict, treating it as a pretext to augment its own political, military and fiscal hegemony, the days of Western supremacy appear to be over and the Globalist fantasy dead in the water. 

Fukuyama: maybe not the "end of history" after all.

According to CBS, in a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov painted a picture of a new and different “world order,” saying the world was "living through a very serious stage in the history of international relations” and that Russia and China, along with others, will move to create a new and unique multipolar world.

The march of Western nations toward an interlocking fiscal system based on the petrodollar as the world’s reserve currency and governing the world’s trade arrangements and political future seems helpless before the tectonic shift of Eastern and Eurasian polities toward a new system of communal and economic interdependence. The civilization-state is in process of supplanting the independent-but-allied Western model of decentralised states regarded since the Peace of Westphalia as the global paradigm for political organization and cross-national codification of a particular set of laws and treaty obligations—often, be it said, more honored in the breach than in the observance. The conflict in Ukraine has been the catalyst of a scalar reconfiguration in the political orbits of nations and civilizations.

In The Rise of the Civilizational State, Christopher Coker warns that we are “living in a world in which civilization is fast becoming the currency of international politics.” The evangelical zeal and self-interest of Western-centric liberalism, with its one-size-fits-all rule-based political structure and its dominant financial institutions as embodied in the nation-state, is coming to an end. “The west may be out of the business,” he writes, “of shaping history for everyone else, or even itself.” The best laid schemes of military planners and state politicians do often gang aft a-gley.

Germany's 'Renewable Energy' Policy: Who's Laughing Now?

In 2019 Germany announced an ambitious "climate change" goal: by 2022, it would close its last nuclear power plant and by 2038, stop burning coal altogether. The Wall Street Journal called it at the time the "world’s dumbest energy policy," but the Germans said it was all part of the Energiewende (German for 'energy turnaround') the ongoing transition to a low carbon, environmentally sound, reliable, and affordable energy supply. Then an event occurred in 2022 which demonstrated how much Green energy was politics. Russia invaded Ukraine.

The repercussions of the invasion rippled like hydrostatic shock through the whole fabric of the European "climate change" agenda. At a stroke the war made natural gas from Moscow on which Germany was dependent politically toxic and killed sacred cows like the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline overnight. Chancellor Olaf Scholz, addressing Germany’s parliament, promised he would "create strategic energy reserves while shifting energy purchases away from Russia." Germany took steps to revive its nuclear power industry by extending the life-span of its remaining nuclear power plants. Even coal was back on the table for Europe, as politicians mooted keeping anything that could produce power going. "All options must be on the table," said the German Economic Affairs and Energy Minister.

Biking may be your best bet, Germany.

But sheer habit and inertia die hard. From the start the Green agenda fought back. John Kerry warned the Russian invasion of Ukraine would worsen climate change. "The top White House climate official said a negative impact of a Russian invasion of Ukraine would be that it sidelines efforts to curb emissions worldwide." Despite the fact that fuel was a basic necessity and Europe's immediate problem was how to get energy from anywhere, such was the power of Green that U.N. Secretary General António Guterres specifically warned against quickly replacing Russian oil if it would "neglect or kneecap policies to cut fossil fuel use."

Trapped between Scylla and Charybdis, Europe's compromise strategy was to "diversify gas supplies to reduce reliance on Russia in the short term... but ultimately to boost renewables and energy efficiency as fast as technically possible."  In effect Europe would try to solve the energy shortage caused by its renewables policy without politically abandoning the climate change ideology.

The first step to walking this tightrope is European energy rationing. Although no specifics have been announced, proposals include include lowering speed limits and introducing car-free Sundays in large cities.  Rationing is being sold as both good for the planet and bad for Putin -- a win-win. "This point is about trying to bring down demand for fossil fuels — this is our true and effective weapon against Vladimir Putin,” a Cambridge University academic said.

But on the supply side there were few quick fixes to the problem of storing the output of wind and solar energy, even assuming that enough could be generated by these means. "The ability to cheaply generate, transport and store a clean replacement fuel like hydrogen to power trucks, cars and airplanes remains years away... [the] chief technology officer of the offshore wind unit at Siemens Gamesa, said that companies like his 'are now forced to do investments based on the prosperous future that we are all waiting for'."

A similar challenge faces the electric grid for it to universally replace the internal combustion engine. By dint of emergency efforts Europe hopes to have a hydrogen infrastructure in place by 2030 -- eight years from now -- a gargantuan task. Green requires a complete overhaul of how people live -- digitalization, smart grids and meters, flexibility markets, the electrification of transport, charging points -- the works. All of it is necessary to store wind and solar power and get it to the consumer.

The triumph of hope over experience.

However exhilarating this transformative vision is, not every country is willing to put all its eggs into the Green basket. Britain and France, perhaps harboring secret doubts, plan to invest in small, new technology nuclear reactors. The normally left wing Guardian ran an op-ed proclaiming "we need to revive the U.K.’s nuclear industry." But even with a change of heart plants take time to build and in the short term Europe has no choice but to import fossil fuels from non-Russian sources, principally the U.S. and the Middle East if it is to avoid economic catastrophe.

From Angola to the U.S. gas is heading for Europe. "Toby Rice, who runs the U.S. largest natural gas producer EQT, told the BBC the U.S. could easily replace Russian supply... He estimated the U.S. has the potential to quadruple its gas output by 2030... U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm urged the country's fuel industry to pump more oil. 'We are on a war footing. That means you producing more right now, where and if you can'." Energiewende may not be "world’s dumbest energy policy" but only because it can repudiate itself.

The nearly comic irony of progressives being in the "drill baby drill" situation is hardly ever pointed out, it being considered bad form to do so. But it may be useful to recall that Germany's delegation at the U.N. General Assembly once laughed during then-President Trump's speech when he suggested that Germany was becoming “totally dependent” upon Russian energy, as shown in this video from the Washington Post. With the benefit of hindsight there's no denying that mistakes were made regarding Russia's suitability as a Green energy partner. Even Mitt Romney pointed out the growing threat posed by Putin during his 2012 presidential campaign against Obama but he too was laughed to scorn. It's fair to say that nobody's laughing now.

Biden, Big Banks Declare War on Energy Sector

After more than a month of Russian bombs destroying swathes of the Ukraine, and high-minded pronouncements from the American government officials concerning everything from missile payloads to misinformation, Americans have been awakened in an unprecedented way. Revelations about our dependence on foreign sources of energy have caused many to realize the importance of the U.S. energy sector to economic vitality and national security.

While Americans were locked down and their movements constrained by Covid-19-related policies, the Biden administration has been working in the shadows, making a slew of regulatory changes fundamentally harmful to America. Because this administration lacks the necessary majorities in Congress, it has been circumventing the legislative process by using administrative rules to create oil and gas supply scarcity that almost immediately has caused the price of everything to begin to rise.

The administration’s objective is simple—create scarcity via a series of unilateral regulatory changes at various government agencies that will predictably push the prices of oil and gas toward greater parity with alternative energy sources such as wind and solar. Fully understanding that alternative energy sources fall short of meeting the current and future energy needs of the American economy, the Biden administration has persisted with its “make it hurt” strategy that necessarily ignores the impact such a strategy is having and will continue to have on the larger economy. Threatening economic security, food security and national security, this circumvention strategy is a blatant overreach by the executive branch that began when Biden took office last year.

They hate, they really hate you.

Sidestepping Congress entirely, their strategy includes using government agencies to dismantle oil and gas distribution systems, tightening regulations, and suspending leases and permits meant to impede future drilling activity. Where the administration could not sufficiently hamstring the energy sector through unilateral regulatory overreach, it sought allies to lend weight to the effort.

Enter investment bank giants like BlackRock and JP Morgan. Perhaps the most insidious element of the Biden administration’s anti-energy strategy has been its collaboration with investment banks to coerce and if necessary, force divestment in the energy sector. Like all industries, energy producers require capital in order to drill and produce oil and gas assets. By using the pseudo-sophisticated set of investments standards known as "environment, social and governance" (ESG) as the predicate, major investment banks are assisting the administration to destroy domestic energy independence by limiting available capital that would otherwise enable American energy producers to maximize oil and gas production.

The CEOs from these investment banks pronounced the death of fossil fuels in defiance of economic reality before the Biden administration even took office, with complete disregard for national security. They declared climate change an "existential threat" while boldly disregarding the actual threat their banks’ own relationships with China represent to the U.S.—and to the climate for that matter. Trying to sound socially and environmentally "woke" while being totally compromised by their own strategic decisions, these banks have helped beat back any competing views about the dangers of heedless divestment. Their self-interested efforts have unequivocally contributed to the difficult economic conditions Americans are now experiencing and the growing threat China represents to U.S. national security.

As the negative impact of the administration’s strategy has begun to be apparent to everyone, press secretary Jen Psaki has tried to lean in on the “Putin price hike” narrative, blaming Russia for the rising prices the administration’s own domestic policies have created. So desperate is the administration to convince Americans to look the other way, they have even employed never-before-used Tik Tok diplomacy to convince teenagers of their “Russia did it” narrative.

Meanwhile, serious people are beginning to understand what’s been happening since Biden took office 14 months ago. In anticipation of course correction after the mid-terms later this year, consider what the administration has done.

Last week the SEC proposed rule changes that would “standardize climate-related disclosures for investors”. The changes would require registrants to include certain climate-related disclosures in their registration statements and periodic reports, including information about climate-related risks that are reasonably likely to have a material impact on their business, results of operations, or financial condition, among other reporting requirements. The required information about climate-related risks also would include disclosure of a registrant’s greenhouse gas emissions. With the window still open for public comment until May, corporate leaders should be concerned about the bold overreach. After all, this kind of intervention doesn’t ever stop with one industry.

President Biden abandoned U.S. energy independence immediately upon taking office. The administration then employed un-elected bureaucrats and private investment banks to decide on behalf of all Americans what is good for America, resulting in a fundamental threat to the economy and national security.

Congressional leaders must earnestly begin the work of regaining control of the legislative branch. They should begin by introducing legislation that would require Congressional ratification of all regulations annually. Regulations must be able to withstand normal congressional scrutiny and their impact considered in the light of day. Meanwhile, ESG standards must be relegated to the marketing departments of corporate America and the influence of investment banks constrained from horse-trading America’s global dominance in exchange for their own financial gain. Only then can America take back its destiny.