Fox News, 28 April 2022Foreign policy expert and former Trump adviser K.T. McFarland says then-President Trump’s strategy for global “energy dominance” made Putin too weak to invade Ukraine and it’s not too late for Biden to use the same tactics.
K.T. McFarland, who has served in the White House under four different presidents, including as Deputy National Security Adviser during the first few months of the Trump administration, says the former executive’s strategy of ramping up U.S. energy production effectively drove down the price of oil low enough that oil-producing nations like Russia could not afford to invade neighboring countries like Ukraine.
“If you look at 50 years of Russian history, every time oil prices are low, the Russians hunker down,” McFarland told Fox News Digital. “Every time they’re high, the Russians rebuild their military, they fight proxy wars, they invade countries.”
“A year and a half ago when oil was $40 a barrel, [Putin] didn’t have the money to launch an invasion,” McFarland said.
Under former President Trump, the price of crude oil fell to below $25 per barrel and averaged $52.99 per barrel. Under President Biden, the price has skyrocketed from $53.25 per barrel when he assumed office to a high of $123.70 per barrel and closed at $92 per barrel on February 24, the day that Putin invaded Russia. At the time this article was written, the price of oil was approximately $104.
McFarland claims Biden’s “war on fossil fuels” has severely hindered U.S. energy production and is responsible for emboldening Putin by enriching Russia’s economy which is based primarily on foreign trade of oil and gas.
“All of a sudden, Putin’s coffers have doubled, tripled,” McFarland said.
McFarland, who also served in the administrations of Presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan and worked as an aide to geopolitical expert Henry Kissinger, said that while she believes the price of oil was the primary catalyst in Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine, a “fractured NATO” under Biden and the administration’s perceived “weakness” also played a role.
“It’s the same people in the Biden administration who were in the Obama administration when [Putin] took Crimea,” McFarland said, considering Putin’s invasion of Ukraine a “continuation” of his 2014 annexation of the newly formed Republic of Crimea.
Over the two months that Putin spent maneuvering in the Crimea region, the average price of crude oil was $100.59 per barrel, similar to where it stands today.
Although other factors may have contributed to Putin’s ultimate invasion of Ukraine, McFarland believes adopting energy policies similar to that of the Trump administration is the winning strategy to deter the Russian president.