President Biden’s new ban on Russian oil is painful for Americans (especially those who are driving gas-powered vehicles), yet it is good for humanity overall. I saw an article in The Guardian that was published just before the news of the ban broke, and I was going to add my own thoughts here that we needed to ban Russian oil. Thankfully, President Biden is making the right moves here.
Banning Russian oil will hurt Russian citizens. However, Putin has decided that he doesn’t really care about his nation’s people and has opted to sacrifice Russia to his blood-thirsty god of greed.
The author of The Guardian piece called the sanctions that the world has placed on Russia weak and half-measured. They pointed out that if we really want to win this war, the world needs to do this through all-out economic warfare. They wrote,
“We need to deplete Russian state income by limiting its trade with the west. Every day, the US, UK, and EU buy more than $700m worth of oil, gas, and other commodities from Russia. Some of Russia’s largest state-owned companies, which are key for commodities trading, have not been sanctioned. Economies in Europe, especially Germany and Italy, must start preparing now for life without Russian gas and threaten a full embargo.”
I can not agree more. However, my heart goes out to the Russian civilians who are just living their lives trying to survive and trying to make it to the next day. They have seen their economy start to crash and their leader has all but abandoned them on a chase fueled by greed for more power. Russians who are protesting the war are being arrested left and right. Police are seizing their phones and going through their messages. They now face up to 15 years in prison simply for saying anything about the war that the government doesn’t condone — such as the fact that there is indeed a war or that Russia invaded Ukraine.
The citizens of Russia don’t want this war and they don’t deserve the harsh punishments that are coming. However, those harsh punishments, I think, will be the only way to stop Putin other than alternative measures that could lead to an all-out global war.
The author noted that all of the efforts — the sanctions, whether political or financial; multinational corporations treating Russia as a toxic market; the global campaign to boycott Russian goods — are all helping but need to be intensified. Putin is intensifying his war in Ukraine, and if the world wants him to fail, we need to match that energy — preferably without killing people. This is why President Biden’s ban on Russian oil is good for humanity.
The author wrote:
“One easy and swift step would be to cancel the one-month grace period for US initial sanctions.
“Let us not forget that Putin declared war on Ukraine and bombarded its sleeping cities. He decided to wage war to satisfy his neo-imperialist ambitions, his desire to stay in power, and his intent to destroy what is left of the global world order.”
They added that, yes, Putin needs to fail, but the West needs to find the courage to ensure this happens. It can’t be left on Ukraine’s shoulders. Economic warfare is the answer and President Biden took a major step forward again.
In a statement, President Biden said that the US is banning all imports of Russian oil, gas, and energy and that Russian oil will no longer be acceptable at US ports.
“The American people will deal another powerful blow to Putin’s war machine. This is a move that has strong bipartisan support in the Congress and, I believe, in the country.”
The president added that Americans have rallied to support the Ukrainian people and America refuses to fund Putin’s war with purchases of oil. Sorry, Shell, but don’t bring that discounted blood oil here.
President Biden also said that the US is moving forward on the ban and knows that its European allies and partners may not be able to join in. The US produces more oil than all of the European countries — including Russia — combined. European countries cannot as easily cut themselves off from Russian oil. President Biden said:
“The United States produces far more oil domestically than all of European — all the European countries combined. In fact, we’re a net exporter of energy. So we can take this step when others cannot.
“But we’re working closely with Europe and our partners to develop a long-term strategy to reduce their dependence on Russian energy as well.
“Our teams are actively discussing how to make this happen. And today, we remain united — we remain united in our purpose to keep pressure mounting on Putin and his war machine.
“This is a step that we’re taking to inflict further pain on Putin. But there will be costs as well here in the United States. I said I would level with the American people from the beginning. And when I first spoke to this, I said defending freedom is going to cost — it’s going to cost us as well, in the United States.”
$1 Billion In Security Assistance To Ukraine
President Biden also said that the US has provided over $1 billion in security assistance to Ukraine. Every day, he said, there are shipments of defensive weapons arriving in Ukraine from the US. And the US is coordinating other shipments of similar weapons from our allies and partners. A bill is going through Congress right now that will provide several billion dollars more in military equipment assistance.
Along with this, the US is providing humanitarian support for the Ukrainian people — both the millions of refugees who have fled and those still inside the country. The US is helping with food, water, and medical supplies, with more on the way.
UPDATE: Congress has passed a bill to provide $13.6 billion in aid to Ukraine.
This Ban Will Hurt Many Yet Help In The Long Run
This ban will hurt many people around the world financially. Gas prices are going up already, and although President Biden promised to ensure that the ban won’t create a price hike, many are already seeing the results of this war at the pump. Oil is a global commodity.
CBS News shared what this ban would look like for Americans. Although the US isn’t as dependent on Russia for oil as Europe, we will still see higher gas prices. The article included an interview with Troy Vincent, a senior market analyst at DTN, which is a commodities research firm. Vincent pointed out that around 8% of US oil imports came from Russia last year. In January 2022, though, almost no Russian oil came into the US.
Those of us here in America will not be hit as hard by the ban as Europeans will be. And if Europe follows Biden’s lead, then who knows how Putin will retaliate. Even worse, these oil companies will do whatever it takes to get their profits — and in all cases, it’s the people who pay the ultimate price.
And no one is talking about how it would affect the Russian people — the ones who didn’t want this war to begin with and are being lied to every day.
The ban will help in the long run, but just like invasive emergency surgery, it’s going to hurt like hell for a lot of people and for some time. Thanks, Putin.
In the long run, the other good thing is that this push away from oil will encourage more people to go electric (there are already many cases of people saying they’re now buying an electric car because of this). This will help public health, the climate, and world peace as well.
Graphs by T&E originally published on Transport & Environment: An analysis by Transport & Environment warns that Europe’s dependence on Russian oil puts $285 million a day in Putin’s pocket.