Washington Examiner | Tom Rogan | September 5, 2019
I would only be half joking in proposing a Kamala Harris-Vladimir Putin ticket in 2020. The fact is, Harris' policy positions fit very closely to those most desired by Putin.
Just consider what Harris said at a CNN town hall on Wednesday evening. A questioner falsely claimed that fracking — which has reduced carbon emissions by more than all of the combined environmental legislation and activism in U.S. history — destroys the environment and lives. She asked Harris whether she would ban fracking.
Harris was succinct, "There's no question that I'm in favor of a ban on fracking." Pushed by CNN's Erin Burnett, Harris added that she would also ban offshore drilling. That's music to Putin's ears. As in Europe, bans on fracking help him dominate the energy market in his corner of the world.
The current slowdown in the growth of U.S. oil extraction via fracking proves that amid fears of an ongoing trade war, an expansion of fracking is financially nonviable. But where and when oil prices rise above $60-$65 a barrel, that changes, and fracking increases supply, serving as an effective cap on energy prices. (Broadly speaking, the same principle is true of natural gas prices.)
Putin's government revenue and foreign policy are dependent on high crude prices and foreign nations buying their crude from Russia. Lower prices due to U.S. or other nations' competition cost him a lot of money and put the Russian economy and his public support at risk. Even more importantly, it deprives him of the tool of energy blackmail, which he has used to extort other countries into adopting Kremlin-friendly foreign policy choices. This is why Russian intelligence services have been so active in supporting western environmental groups and other interests opposed to fracking.
That takes us back to Harris. Her ban would be a gift to the Russian leader. It would strengthen his rule and his central foreign policy objective: degrading U.S. influence, power, and international order. Thus, even aside from the great domestic benefits that fracking has brought in jobs and a domestic energy price cap, Harris' ban is a foreign policy disgrace deserving common disdain.
Of course, the senator isn't the only 2020 Democrat calling for this from-Russia-with-love ban on fracking. That most reliable of KGB useful idiots, Bernie Sanders, is even clearer: "We must ban all fracking," Sanders tweeted on Wednesday. But the difference here is that where Sanders is a socialist joke whose candidacy won't go anywhere, Harris has a fighting chance of becoming somebody — if not in 2020, then later.
Unfortunately, Harris' de facto alliance with Putin doesn't end with energy security.
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