On Friday, after news broke that inflation again accelerated to reach a 40-year high of 8.6 percent, President Joe Biden turned America’s financial crisis into a national security one by telling the world that foreign leaders have near-total control over the U.S. economy.
Shortly after the Bureau of Labor Statistics released May’s price report, which in addition to reporting an 8.6 percent annual inflationary rate showed a full 1 percent increase last month, President Biden began the spin: “Today’s report underscores why I have made fighting inflation my top economic priority. While it is good to see critical ‘core’ inflation moderating, it is not coming down as sharply and as quickly as we must see. Putin’s price hike hit hard in May here and around the world: high gas prices at the pump, energy, and food prices accounted for around half of the monthly price increases.”
The president’s entire pitch struck a chord conflicting with reality. “Biden hasn’t made inflation his top economic priority,” noted Katie Pavlich soon after. “For months, his administration denied inflation was happening, saying it wouldn’t be an issue, before calling it temporary and transitory last summer.” And the skyrocketing inflation began before Russia’s January 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
The public has long known that Biden suffers from an acute case of blameuitis. But the president’s continued claims that Putin holds responsibility for our country’s accelerating inflationary rates, when coupled with Biden’s other actions and inactions, is not merely tone deaf, it is dangerous. While finger-pointing has long been a mainstay for politicians, the Biden administration’s messaging goes beyond shifting blame to conceding that foreign leaders can control the U.S. economy in Joe Biden’s America.
President Biden’s reported plans to meet with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during a trip to the region next month confirm this. Saudi Arabia, the world’s second-largest oil producer behind the United States, serves as the “unofficial head of the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC),” and the planned visit seems certain to push for more oil production from OPEC countries.
Goes Begging on His Knees to Country He Spurned
The announcement of President Biden’s intent to meet with bin Salman represents a course change so sharp that it will be seen as the United States’ complete subservience to the country Biden promised to make “the pariah that they are” shortly before his election.
In the waning days of Donald Trump’s presidency, “Biden promised to take a hard line on Saudi Arabia, saying he would rip up the ‘dangerous blank check’ that Trump had written for the Saudis.” During a 2019 presidential debate, Biden added that there is “very little social redeeming value in the present government in Saudi Arabia.”
After his election, Biden “released a U.S. intelligence report that concluded that Prince Mohammed had approved the plan to capture or kill [journalist Jamal Khashoggi], who had been an outspoken critic of the young Saudi ruler.” The Biden administration then continued its efforts to distance itself from Saudi Arabia then, with then-Press Secretary Jen Psaki saying “the Biden administration will ‘recalibrate’ how it treats the kingdom.”
The Biden administration also moved to isolate bin Salman, with Psaki calling his father, King Salman, President Biden’s “counterpart.” This pronouncement, notwithstanding the fact that bin Salman has been considered the “de facto ruler” of Saudi Arabia for some time, seemed to declare the Biden administration unwilling to work with the Saudi leader.
Just more than a year later, however, with Putin’s troops poised to invade Ukraine, the Biden administration is abruptly changing course, and Saudi Arabia has certainly noticed. The president’s staff tried unsuccessfully to arrange a call between Biden and bin Salman “as the U.S. was working to build international support for Ukraine and contain a surge in oil prices.”
The Wall Street Journal reported in March that “Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the U.A.E.’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan both declined U.S. requests to speak to Mr. Biden in recent weeks.” “A U.S. official” told the Wall Street Journal that “the planned discussion” “was part of turning on the spigot [of Saudi oil].”
While snubbing Biden, the Wall Street Journal reported that “both Prince Mohammed and Sheikh Mohammed took phone calls from Russian President Vladimir Putin,” in late February or early March, “after declining to speak with Mr. Biden.
At the time, the Biden administration maintained “there were no plans for Mr. Biden to travel to Saudi Arabia.” Just law week, however, Biden’s current press secretary acknowledged the president intends to visit Saudi Arabia, although details have yet to be confirmed.
Putin may have brought Biden to his knees, but these formerly spurned Saudi princes now have the leader of the free world crawling across the desert sands for help from the man who told the Atlantic just three months ago that he simply did “not care” whether the American president understood him. “It’s up to him to think about the interests of America,” bin Zayed said about Biden.
America Is Strong When It Controls Its Own Energy
Groveling to Saudi Arabia and the other OPEC countries does not serve America’s interests. America’s interests are best served by policies promoting energy independence—something first achieved in 2019 under President Trump.
Since taking office, however, the Biden administration has pushed for a dramatic move away from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. From canceling the Keystone Pipeline to attempting to halt new leases for drilling on public land and offshore, these policies render America more dependent on foreign energy sources led by ruthless dictators, like Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Democrats like Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow portray electric vehicles as the solution, with Stabenow gushing about her new electric car that she claimed to have driven from Michigan to D.C., bypassing “every single gas station” along the way, with no concerns over gas prices. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity for us to move to vehicles that aren’t going to be dependent on the whims of the oil companies and the international markets,” the Michigan Democrat added.
The move to electric vehicles will not lessen our country’s dependence on problematic countries, however. On the contrary, China holds a near monopoly on cobalt and lithium, two rare-earth metals necessary to produce electric car batteries. “China controls around 86.5 percent of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s cobalt exports,” with Congo holding “around 60 percent of the world’s mined cobalt.”
In fact, Hunter Biden played a role in helping China obtain a stranglehold over the cobalt supply when a company he founded worked with Chinese investors to arrange for China to purchase the Congolese cobalt mine, Tenke Fungurume, from its American owner.
With China now controlling the metals necessary to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles, the communist country holds undue sway over every country committed to abandoning fossil fuels. That includes Joe Biden’s America. Putin is proving it.
Margot Cleveland is The Federalist’s senior legal correspondent. She is also a contributor to National Review Online, the Washington Examiner, Aleteia, and Townhall.com, and has been published in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today.
Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, where she earned the Hoynes Prize—the law school’s highest honor. She later served for nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk for a federal appellate judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Cleveland is a former full-time university faculty member and now teaches as an adjunct from time to time.
As a stay-at-home homeschooling mom of a young son with cystic fibrosis, Cleveland frequently writes on cultural issues related to parenting and special-needs children. Cleveland is on Twitter at @ProfMJCleveland. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.