Projecting American Leadership and Resources to Defend Global Democracy

By Don Young and Josh Revak

Update: 2 hours ago Published: 6 hours ago

Russia’s unprovoked aggression towards Ukraine and blatant disregard for the sovereignty of other nations is a stark example of why democracies around the world must establish their energy independence from despotic authoritarian regimes. . Western reliance on Russian oil and gas has disadvantaged the United States and our allies and has only emboldened Russia as it intimidated its neighbors.

The authoritarians depend on a disengaged America that chooses to hide in the face of aggression from bad actors. If the United States does not lead the charge to protect democracies in peril, the flame of global freedom and democracy could be extinguished. Too often, emerging democracies are left alone to ward off adversaries while established democracies, overly dependent on warmongering countries for their energy needs, sit on the sidelines. It’s time to stand up for what is right. It’s time to stand up for freedom.

To protect democratic ideals and long-term US interests abroad, we must shed our energy dependence on countries that threaten us and our allies. By the end of 2021, America was importing about 8 million barrels a day of crude oil and other petroleum products. Of this number, 200,000 barrels of crude oil and 500,000 barrels per day of other petroleum products came from Russia. These numbers must be zero.

As the Russian oligarchs unfold their aggression against millions of innocent Ukrainians, heavy federal restrictions are imposed on the production of Alaska’s resources. Why don’t President Biden’s sanctions target Russian oil and gas? Why is President Biden tougher on Alaskan energy producers than dictators like Vladimir Putin? The Biden administration’s “woke” war on domestic oil is crushing middle-class families at the pumps, and a growing dangerous dependence on oil from foreign adversaries leaves our country strategically vulnerable.

A way forward:

We must end our dependence on foreign fossil fuels today.

Putin must be held accountable for his actions, and short-term sanctions are not enough. If we can step away from Russian energy and help other nations do the same, we can forever reduce Russia’s global position and economic strength.

To replace imported oil, the United States should look to our resources right here at home. Alaskan oil and gas can fill the void left by stopping Russian imports. Moreover, as the demand for green energy increases in Europe, Alaska can also fill this void. We support a holistic approach to energy. In addition to Alaska’s vast oil and gas opportunities, we are home to hydro, solar, geothermal, and liquefied natural gas, aka LNG. In particular, easily extracted and transportable LNG offers other interesting opportunities. We can and must use all our options to end the grip of authoritarian energy producers abroad.

The Biden administration must take a hardline approach. The world is watching, and the implications of insufficiently forceful action will be grave. Before taking elected office, we both served in the United States Army. Senator Revak has spent two deployments serving in the field in the Middle East. He knows what it’s like to get shot and explode. Every bullet sent his way, every gun that fired them – including the mortar shell that killed his friend and wounded Revak – was made in Russia.

The United States should view the Russian Federation as a global pariah, unfit to do business with the world; diplomats must be expelled, Russian assets must be frozen and seized, the flow of goods between the United States and Russia must cease immediately, we must strengthen our commitment to NATO and consider that rapidly developing democracies are threatened. If boots on the ground are not an option, all other actions other than open conflict should be considered and implemented immediately. We must do everything in our power to limit Russian influence and power in the world. In the effort for energy independence, Alaska is ready to help.

For too long, democracies have been unable to escape the grip of despotic energy-producing nations like Russia. It is time for the United States, and Alaska in particular, to be empowered to responsibly step up and expand our resources to protect democracy and American ideals around the world.

The late Senator John McCain once said that Russia was “a gas station masquerading as a country.” It’s time to make sure that Russia can’t even claim the title of a gas station. Alaska will lead the way. President Biden must end his war on domestic oil production, unleash the power of American energy, and put Alaskan energy at the forefront of the world.

Representative Don Young is the only member from Alaska in the United States House of Representatives.

Senator Josh RevakR-Anchorage, is a member of the Alaska State Senate.

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