While touring the damage Hurricane Ian did to Florida a couple of weeks ago, President Joe Biden remarked, “No one f**** with a Biden.” Reality, as you should expect, is vastly different. Pretty much everybody — nations, courts, even television comedians — “f****” with Biden almost every day.
North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, still trying to get the attention that Russian President Vladimir Putin has gotten with his Ukraine war, fired a ballistic missile over Japan. Chinese President Xi Jinping, in his opening speech to the Chinese Communist Party’s congress, held every five years, said that China was going to reunite with Taiwan by force if necessary. A federal appeals court ruled that former U.S. President Barack Obama’s “Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals” program — which Biden is working hard to save — is illegal.
Biden has been draining the Strategic Petroleum Reserve at a rate of about 1 million barrels of oil each day. It is now at its lowest levels since the 1980s, when it was built.
Putin, about whom Biden shouted that the man couldn’t “remain in power,” is apparently as secure as Biden is in his presidency. Russia remains Biden’s principal intermediary in the ongoing, and hopefully fruitless, negotiations with Iran to renew Obama’s 2015 nuclear weapons deal.
And don’t forget what Saturday Night Live did with Biden’s “two words: made in America” remark. In one part of the show, a clip of Biden’s latest mental gaffe was played, and host Colin Jost said: “Wow. Well, let me respond with two words: Jesus H. Christ.” If only the other responses to Biden were as funny.
Biden’s relationship with Saudi Arabia has been fraught since his 2019 debate appearance, when he said: “I would make it very clear we were not going to in fact sell more weapons to them…. We were going to in fact make them pay the price, and make them in fact the pariah that they are.”
Biden wasn’t above pleading with the Saudi government to delay announcing the OPEC+ production cut of two million barrels a day until after the November election. What, asking for a political favor that could affect an election? The last time that theme became popular, former President Donald Trump was impeached for asking the Ukrainians to investigate Hunter Biden’s involvement with a huge Ukrainian oil company.
When the Saudis refused Biden’s request and announced the cut, the White House accused the oil cartel of siding with Russia. Perhaps the administration doesn’t know that Russia is a member of OPEC+ and its tacit leader. Now, Biden and his congressional cohort are trying to find a way to punish the Saudis.
Biden promised that there would be “consequences” for the Saudis and has said that it was time for us to reevaluate our relationship with them.
To paraphrase a recent tweet by Fox News’ Brit Hume, the Democrats’ approaches to punishing the Saudis amount to America’s committing strategic suicide.
After Biden’s July trip to the Middle East, a massive arms sale to Saudi Arabia was announced. It included Patriot missile batteries intended to protect Saudi oil-production facilities from attack by Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen. Now, the Democrats want to block some or all of the pending arms sales to the Saudis.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) urged Biden to “immediately freeze all aspects” of U.S.–Saudi relations, including halting new arms sales.
If the Democrats want to push the Saudis into Russia’s hands, this is the way to do it. The U.S. has been the primary source of arms to Saudi Arabia for decades. We have trained Saudi forces, especially its air forces, in the American way of war and defense for just as long. Russia, ever eager to gain more influence in Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Middle East, would gladly sell weapon systems, probably including missile defenses and aircraft, to the Saudis, reducing whatever influence we have over the Saudis.
Three members of Congress, Reps. Susan Wild, Sean Casten, and Tom Malinowski, want Biden to remove all U.S. troops from Saudi Arabia, a truly dumb move. That would bar the U.S. from major bases in Saudi Arabia that are key to opposing Iranian aggression.
And then there’s the “NOPEC” bill, which would allow antitrust suits against the oil cartel and ensure countering actions against U.S. companies trading in much of the Middle East.
The first thing Biden could and should do to punish the Saudis and the other members of OPEC+ would be to unleash America’s energy supplies. In 2018, America was energy independent because oil and gas were being drilled and produced at record levels. But the president’s too busy campaigning against U.S. energy and draining our Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an effort to keep gasoline prices from rising.
Biden has been draining the SPR at a rate of about one million barrels of oil each day. It is now at its lowest levels since the 1980s, when it was built. As others have pointed out, Biden has been using the SPR as a credit card to artificially depress the price of gasoline nationwide.
The SPR is supposed to be used only in emergencies, such as another oil embargo against the United States or a war that interferes with our supplies from the Middle East. It is, as its name states, a strategic asset, not one that a president should be using to play games with the price of gasoline.
The best thing Biden should also do is to push the Saudis to join Trump’s Abraham Accords, which have significantly eased tensions in the Middle East. The Saudis have rejected the invitation to join the accords, but their relations with Israel have eased considerably since the accords were signed. Talks between Israeli and Saudi officials, some of which took place in Saudi Arabia, are ongoing.
The Saudis have always been a transactional ally of the United States. They are terrified of Iran and its growing nuclear capabilities. Biden should be using that fear to influence Saudi Arabia rather than to punish it.