Russian Oil, the U.S. Election and Opening the Cash Spigot for Ukraine

You know the White House has wrapped itself into a pretzel, when it beseeches its Ukrainian attack dog to stop assaulting Russian oil refineries, while simultaneously going bananas over the need for more weapons for Kiev. Droning Russian refineries boosts the price of oil in an election year – a big no no for the Biden gang. The logical riposte is: Back off the stupid war; Kiev is losing, NATO’s in trouble, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian men have been slaughtered for nothing and it costs a freakin’ fortune. But no. The white house loves its proxy war. So evidently does Congress, which recently re-mortgaged our future to ship more aid to Ukraine. And monsters like Senator Lindsay Graham consider the butchery a good investment – Ukrainian and Russian blood spills with no danger to American soldiers. So $61 billion for Kiev, while Kamala Harris whispers in Volodymyr Zelensky’s ear to please stop bombing those Russian oil refineries. Surprise!  He refused.

You can bet when Kiev gets more weapons, it’ll blast away at more refineries, potentially tanking its benefactor’s reelection bid. (It may not have used the recently secretly supplied long-range ATACMS for this, but the Ukrainians were just getting started and besides, had other fish to fry, in Crimea, where Ukraine certainly did use ATACMS the night of April 27 at Cape Tarkhankut, as reported by Rybar Force the next day.) But Biden isn’t Ukraine’s only benefactor. Trump is too. House Speaker Mike Johnson sojourned to Mar-a-Lago for Trump’s blessing to okay the Ukraine spending bill. Indeed, Johnson was in quite the pickle till Trump gave him a hand, and the GOP right-wing may yet evict him from the House speakership for this Ukraine betrayal (though that looks less likely with each passing day, as Dems hurry to save him).

But it’s important never to lose sight of who engineered this fiasco – a cumulative total of hundreds of billions of dollars for Ukraine since the war began, a river of Ukrainian blood, shed to save face for the West, and the April legislation greenlighting warrantless spying on Americans, First Amendment suppression with a ban on TikTok, outright stealing Russian assets, which jeopardizes the dollar as the world’s reserve currency and so forth. Who’s the genius behind all this? Biden, of course. He indirectly squeezed Johnson, which sent him running to Trump, and Trump capitulated. Many Americans, more than these politicos like to admit, respond by thinking: a pox on all of them. But they are not all equally to blame.

What do you think will happen when Kiev burns through that $61 billion? Hundreds of thousands more of Ukrainian men will be dead, Russia will have destroyed millions of dollars-worth of American equipment, Kiev will still be losing, and its rulers will return to Washington demanding more money – the endless supply of which was no doubt promised them in return for ditching a peace deal with Moscow back in April 2022, one of the worst, most imbecilic moves on the part of any government this century.

In fact, lately murmurs swirl on X that Kiev and Washington may negotiate a multi-billion dollar, 10-year security agreement that ties the next two presidents’ hands, binding him or her to shell out to Ukraine. Biden’s ghastly legacy means it won’t matter who’s in the white house – Ukraine will get its multi-billion-dollar prize, thus helping impoverish millions of ordinary Americans and indeed the whole U.S. financial-governmental superstructure, the very same edifice bailed out by China in 2008 to the tune of $1-trillion-worth of useless American paper. Spoiler alert: Beijing won’t ride to our rescue a second time.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s multiple pilgrimages to China have yet to persuade that nation’s leaders to splurge on U.S. Treasuries. Beijing’s not interested, not after the heaps of insults, threats and abuse it’s endured from Trump, Biden and Congress. So, time for a dangerous stupidity warning, which was hopefully only a joke when it appeared April 23 on X: the latest alleged U.S. desperate scheme to offload USTs involves compulsory purchases of Treasuries by American 401ks, at 10 percent of the 401k’s value; no purchases of USTs, no withdrawals allowed. To repeat, let’s hope this suggested economic tyranny was a joke. But the fact that it is so difficult to tell means it’s painfully close to the truth, which is that foreigners won’t buy Treasuries, so Washington is in deep trouble. Meanwhile, our money’s value rolls downhill fast.

Back to Russian oil. Kiev’s attacks on Moscow’s refineries don’t hurt Russia, quite the contrary. They boost oil prices. And Ukraine ain’t gonna stop – the Zelensky despotism regards its “string of drone strikes on Russian energy facilities as a rare bright spot in a grinding war with a bigger and better-equipped foe,” the Washington Post informed us April 15. It wasn’t just VP Harris who told Ukraine’s potentate to stop these assaults; so did Jake Sullivan in March, “and other senior U.S. defense and intelligence officials. Instead of acquiescing to the U.S. requests, however, Ukraine doubled down on the strategy.” Just one of the many ways – including a nuclear contretemps between Moscow and Washington – that horrible American policy vis a vis Russia and Ukraine can go sideways.

As the ugly truth that Ukraine was losing the war penetrated Western rulers’ skimpy brains in late 2023, it looked like Washington had abandoned Plan B – which it adopted in the heady, euphoric early days of the war, when NATO succumbed to the ecstatic hallucination that it could actually beat Russia – back to the original Plan A, namely, using Ukraine as a CIA launchpad for terrorist ops against Russia. But now Western hopes have soared again – Ukraine got its money from Congress, so maybe it can do some real damage. Such wishful thinking (the West’s Achilles heel, since wishful thinking replaces any coherent military-political strategy) combined with Biden’s terror of rising gas prices, may tamp down Plan A. Can Biden control Zelensky? Can he even control the CIA? We shall see.

Washington’s Slavic foe halfway around the planet continues to hold its rank as the perceived enemy of the moment. But as the war funding bill that just passed shows, the Empire has trouble in the Middle East, and headaches in East Asia. What these three hotspots share is the lugubrious chance that American bumbling may make them go nuclear, a possibility enhanced by Russia, China and Iran busying themselves with joint naval defense drills over the past year, because they now evidently have a defense pact, if not one actually signed, sealed and delivered on paper, which is quite likely, then, in a big way, de facto.

Pentagon and foreign policy planners, who succumb to the wishful thinking that these three won’t aid each other or that Washington can somehow crumble the mortar cementing this trio together, are simply delusional. Idiotic American foreign policy has created a colossus arrayed against the chance of Washington’s aggression. Because behind Russia/China/Iran looms the biggest economic-political behemoth on earth, namely BRICS. In short, Washington foreign policy experts, who clearly can’t find their way out of a paper bag, have managed, since Biden took the helm, to create a problem that literally generations of American statesmen warned against and did their utmost to avert.

The danger started way back, with repurposing NATO after the Cold War. By now it’s a commonplace among those with brains not fried by CIA media propaganda, that had this alliance not expanded to Russia’s doorstep, the Ukraine War would not have happened and Washington would not have alienated so much of the globe. But Clinton bubbleheads followed by nitwits in later administrations succumbed to the wishful thinking that Moscow somehow wouldn’t mind being surrounded by hostile NATO nations bristling with American weapons, including nukes. Just like those same birdbrains in the current white house appear to think they can insult, threaten and surround China, but it will still rescue us financially and that somehow a military assault will not cause nuclear Armageddon, thus wiping out most of humanity.

Meanwhile, for those in full panic mode – and I’m not saying they’re wrong to be – other potentially human species-ending events loom on our horizon. According to Stephen Bryen in Asia Times April 26, NATO has troops in Ukraine. If re-elected, Biden will send U.S. soldiers there and thus start World War III. So, following Bryen’s chilling but irrefutable logic, the only hope for homo sapiens is for Russia to win the Ukraine War before the election. That’s also the only hope for the male, press-ganged Ukrainian population. Is a quick Russian victory a stretch? Maybe not. And while it’s probably wise not to flip out about nuclear end-times, western hubris throughout this conflict has revealed a mindset so out-of-touch with reality that indeed, the inconceivable, an Atomic Apocalypse, cannot be dismissed.

So no, overall things do not look rosy for the forces of reason, common sense and those with the wish, which U.S. government sachems apparently find bizarre, not to be incinerated. The donors who bought and ended our democracy have the strategic worldview, it turns out, of morons. Let’s hope they limit their idiocies to tormenting us Americans economically and somehow manage not to kill us outright.

Eve Ottenberg is a novelist and journalist. Her latest book is Busybody. She can be reached at her website.