Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the safe.
Biden’s Plan A was to slap some sanctions on Russia in response to the Ukraine invasion, win some points, then finalize the Iran Deal. Instead, the Ukraine war is spiraling and facing serious pressure to talk the talk, Biden was forced to accede to more serious sanctions that will also impact energy prices.
Gas prices were already climbing skyward, but are quickly turning catastrophic.
Since Biden won’t alienate his green energy donors by approving American energy production, he has to turn to the UAE and the Saudis. And they don’t want an Iran Deal. Meanwhile, the Russians have decided to take the Iran Deal hostage as leverage for their war in Ukraine.
That leaves Biden with no choice except to appease the Saudis and the UAE.
An intense, closely guarded diplomatic effort by a core team of Biden energy and national security officials to raise global oil production amid surging prices from Russia’s war in Ukraine has fostered a cautious sense of optimism inside the White House.
The two main targets of the effort, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have had frosty relations with the US since Biden took office.
I wonder why.
On Wednesday, the UAE’s ambassador to Washington, Yousef Al Otaiba, told CNN exclusively that the country wants to increase oil production and will encourage OPEC to ramp up its supply. The comments came after weeks of public messaging from OPEC that the cartel would not be raising its production and triggered the largest single-day decline in oil prices in almost two years.
What could have changed his mind? The Iran deal negotiations, which seemed easy enough after Biden gave away everything, are stalemated again.
Moscow is throwing up last-minute demands that could scupper an international nuclear deal with Iran — and the timing is unlikely to be coincidental as the Kremlin frets about the growing threat to its critical oil revenue after its invasion of Ukraine…
Such a deal would bring significant volumes of Iranian crude oil back to global energy markets in the months ahead, and that could spell trouble for Russian President Vladimir Putin. The return of Iranian supplies would help offset market turmoil and price spikes if the West were to ramp up its sanctions against Moscow over the war in Ukraine and ban Russian crude sales.
Putin no longer wants an Iran deal. At least not right away. And not without more concessions. The only way the Saudis and the UAE will raise oil production is if Biden pushes Iran. Biden is being forced to choose between Ukraine and the Iran deal.
At the Iran talks, Russia is demanding guarantees from the U.S. that the sanctions targeting the Kremlin over its invasion of Ukraine would not hinder its trade with Iran.
Why should Russia bother working to help Iran if it’s not going to have an easy way to profit? And why should the Saudis and the UAE bail out Biden if he’s just going to help Iran? Basic questions of national interest like that may be baffling to Biden and his Obama advisers who have no concept of national interests, but they do. And even Biden has to live in the real world where countries do what is in their interest, rather than what Twitter says they should.
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