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Shellenberger: Biden War On Energy Helps China, Saudi, & Venezuelan Dictators

President Joe Biden ran for and was elected president in 2020 by promising to stand up for human rights. He attacked President Donald Trump for not doing more to pressure Saudi Arabia. Biden came out for “stronger multilateral sanctions” on Venezuela. And he denounced Chinese Premier Xi Jinping as a “thug” and promised to “unite the economic might of democracies around the world to counter abusive economic practices.”

And yet Biden has drastically softened U.S. policy toward Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and China, over the last two years.

Biden yesterday lifted oil sanctions on Venezuela, which the U.S. State Department says is a dictatorship that uses the military and violent gangs to engage in “extrajudicial killings,” “forced disappearances,” and “torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.”

Biden publicly begged the Saudi government to produce more oil during the summer and two weeks ago granted immunity to the prime minister, a son of the king, and a man who US and foreign intelligence services say killed a Washington Post reporter.

And, in early June, Biden issued an emergency order for the U.S. to continue importing Chinese solar panels and products from Xinjiang province, where the U.S. State Department says the government is committing genocide against Uyghur Muslims.

Defenders of the president say: the lifting of Venezuela sanctions “was not connected to the administration’s efforts to boost global energy production” and were simply “to support newly restarted negotiations” between the government and the opposition; granting the Saudi prime minister immunity was a mere formality; and the lifting of solar panel sanctions is only until the summer of 2024.

Those are bogus excuses and every sentient person in official Washington knows it. The Venezuelan government has done nothing of significance to merit a lifting of sanctions, only agreeing to talks. The main motivation of Biden to lift sanctions on Venezuela is so it will produce more oil so the U.S. doesn’t have to. That’s the same reason the Biden administration granted immunity to the Saudi prince.

Students protesting at the Communication University of China, Nanjing. (Source: Manya Koetse)