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How Putin is killing Biden’s presidency

There is no way with Biden’s unpopularity on inflation that the Democrats are going to win enough of the 33 seats to cross the 60-seat filibuster landmark.

SUNIL SHARAN |

The West ganged up against Vladimir Putin after his assault on Ukraine. They wanted regime change in Moscow. Instead, one of the West’s major domos, UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, has fallen. Hubris does this to you. For years, Ukraine was flirting with Nato, much to Russia’s consternation. Finally, Russia could bear it no more and took matters into its own hands. Inflation was a constant worry as Joe Biden took over the US presidency in January 2021. Covid had interrupted global supply chains. Petrol at the pump was averaging $4 a gallon (one gallon = 3.8 litres). Biden brought Covid under control through a sustained vaccination drive (just as Modi did in India), but he was unable to tame inflation. Inflation was destined to deliver a shellacking to Biden in 2021 midterm elections. It was then that Putin struck. Biden and the rest of the West wanted to teach a massive lesson to Putin.

They would do everything to destroy him. In Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, they found a willing partner. Zelenskyy was in no mood to compromise with Putin. Nor was Putin with Zelenskyy. The war ground on for months. It became a war of attrition. Nato was arming Ukraine to the teeth. But Russia was not losing either. The West imposed the strictest of sanctions on Russia. Russia is one of the world’s top exporters of oil and gas, primarily to Western and Northern Europe. Without Russian energy, Western economies such as Germany stood crippled. Imagine that. Germany is an economic powerhouse, a mainstay of the West. If it goes under, Europe goes under. Germany has traditionally been a big espouser of green energy but without Russian oil and gas, is now turning to dirty coal for energy.

India and China started importing Russian oil, thereby giving a heart bypass to Putin. Donald Trump freely allowed fracking (drilling) for oil and gas on American federal lands, which constitute about a quarter of the American landmass. One of the first things that Biden did was to ban fracking on federal lands. He feels that fracking contributes significantly to climate change. But scientists agree that power generation from fracked natural gas is only half as polluting as that from coal, which is what Germany is embarking upon. Petrol at the pump in the US has now jumped to about $6 a gallon, with no hope of coming down in the future. Firstly, the war in Ukraine shows no sign of stopping in the near future. Even if it does, the West will continue to sanction Russia until at least Putin is in power. But Putin is showing no signs of going anywhere. He is still widely popular in Russia. He is friendly with Modi and Xi Jinping. Rumours of his ill-health and assassination attempts against remain just that, rumours.

Secondly, no matter the cost to the economy, Biden will refuse to restart fracking on federal lands. The green lobby in his party is incredibly strong and considers fracking poison. Biden cannot afford to antagonize the greens, even if Americans curtail their travel radically and subsist on frozen pizzas. Biden is therefore destined to receive a shellacking the likes a modern president hasn’t seen in the midterms. But wait; there is a ray of hope for him. The US Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, a landmark decision that allowed abortion. American women are up in arms. Abortion polarises the nation like nothing else does. Trump said that God delivered the latest Supreme Court decision, but in private he has groused that the decision will hurt Republicans, as it will send millions of women to vote against Republicans, who have traditionally been against abortion, at the polls. Right now, Democrats have 50 seats in the 100-person Senate.

They need 10 seats more to overturn the Supreme Court’s decisions, for it takes 60 seats to prevent a filibuster, a parliamentary tactic that allows for endless debate but no action. Every two years, one-third of the Senate turns over. That means in 2022, only 33 of the Senate seats are for grabs. There is no way with Biden’s unpopularity on inflation that the Democrats are going to win enough of the 33 seats to cross the 60-seat filibuster landmark. Biden’s presidency is going to be crippled forever. Already Democrats are griping that Biden is either too old and/or not strong enough to take on a Republican candidate in 2024. One of the first things that any Republican winner in 2024 will do is allow fracking on federal lands, therefore giving immediate relief at the pump. Fracking on federal lands made America the biggest producer of oil in the world. Despite American pressure, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Venezuela are not increasing the production of oil. This is the time for them to rake in the money, and why should they let go of the opportunity. The way they see it is that they have had nothing to do with the Russia-Ukraine dispute, nor with any of the sanctions that the West has imposed.

The West is primarily White AngloSaxon Protestant (US, UK, Germany) and white Latin Catholic (France). The Christian church got trifected into the catholic, the protestant and the orthodox, which is what Russia is. There is still intense dislike between the three branches. In addition, the Russians are Slavs. The Anglo-Saxons and the Latins consider the Slavs inferior, even though the Slavs are white. They see this as an opportunity to teach the Slavs a lesson. Ukraine is Slavic too, but the West sees an inter-Slavic dispute as a golden opportunity to bring a bigger Slavic enemy, Russia, to heel. Except that whoever has tried to punish Mother Russia (Napoleon, Hitler) has got punished himself, and that too fatally. Such a fate awaits Joe Biden as well.