Deal With the Devil(s)

The Biden administration is shopping around with some less than savory potential partners in order to lessen the blow of energy sanctions against Russia. Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Iran – all well known and fairly maligned regimes from right, left, and center of American politics. All sitting on top of some of the largest energy reserves on the planet. 

For a bit of fairness, the Biden administration is doing nothing new. American governments have held their nose and worked with a whole host of despotic characters, especially with the aim of undermining the bigger devil in the room. Partnering with Stalin against Hitler. Working with Communist China to undermine a Communist Russia. But if we’re going to continue to be fair, will the outreach work? 

Iran and Venezuela especially present enormous challenges to anyone looking to develop their energy deposits (technical, geological, financial) and even Saudi Arabia – which loves to boast about its spare capacity – would take about a year to bring on a sustainable million barrel increase in production. All told, working with the devils we know in Riyadh, Caracas and Tehran would offset roughly about a quarter of the oil lost from sanctioning the bigger devil in Moscow. 

Add in the Biden administration’s other likely moves to help address rising US gasoline prices and, well… there doesn’t seem to be a lot of relief coming for oil consumers in the foreseeable future.

At the beginning of the COVID pandemic, we asked our readers who were so inclined and able to consider donating toward a cause we thought was important: Feeding America.

While we still believe strongly in their mission, with recent events in Ukraine we are asking our subscribers to consider supporting a charity focused on relief efforts there. There are many good ones to choose from, but one in particular we are supporting is the Afya Foundation.

They collect money and health supplies for underserved communities in the world, and have begun delivering non-combat support to refugees and population centers in Ukraine. We hope that those who can, join us.

Start typing and press Enter to search


Get the latest in analysis, foreign policy, economics, and world events directly from Zeihan
Only insight. No spam.