Ukraine & Thucydides; The World's Dumbest Energy Policy; and Green Math Doesn't Add Up
Enemies of the People: Hunter Biden
David Solway contributed an essay on the similarities between the war in Ukraine and the Peloponnesian War, as described by the Athenian historian Thucydides.
In Ukraine, Farewell to the 'New World Order'
Hostilities in the Ukraine are now in their second month, devastating the country, destabilizing economies around the world and provoking fears of a wider conflict. It is a war in which there are no heroes: Putin is a military aggressor, Zelensky is the beneficiary of the U.S.-inspired 2014 Euromaidan coup, and Biden and other Western leaders are reckless provocateurs. Interestingly, it has been said that Ukraine is not only about Ukraine or even about Russian imperialism but also about the expansion of neo-Liberal global reach into the economic structure (via SWIFT, the International Monetary Fund, etc.), military organization (via NATO) and the political order of other nations, along with regime change in Russia or its reduction to a pariah state.
There is considerable agreement among scholars and experts that substantiates the hypothesis. Former Portuguese Secretary of State for European Affairs Bruno Maçães points out that “the West feels entitled to pursue its particular vision with all the tools of state power—in many cases, military power… Western values and norms [need] to be interpreted and enforced, and the most powerful nations in the West have always arrogated that task to themselves.”
More recently, in a wide-ranging interview in The New Yorker with specific reference to Ukraine, University of Chicago political scientist John Mearsheimer argues that “the United States and its European allies share most of the responsibility for this crisis.” Mearsheimer’s hypothesis is clearly predicated on Thucydides’ classic History of The Peloponnesian War. The issue unraveled there is extraordinarily complex, but Thucydides isolates the root cause of the conflict in Athenian power projection and Sparta’s fear of military encroachment and market domination. Each of the belligerents felt it had justice and reason on its side—the concept of πρόφασις (prophasis—the reason or excuse for going to war), which Thucydides carefully distinguishes, will obviously vary, depending on whether you are an Athenian or a Spartan, an American or a Russian. Who is the real aggressor?
Mearsheimer, like his historical predecessor, underscores fear or apprehension as the central prophasis. “There is a three-prong strategy at play here,” he writes: “E.U. expansion, NATO expansion, and turning Ukraine into a pro-American liberal democracy.” Russian “fear” of Western power projection on its intimate borders is, for him, the crucial issue.
Mearsheimer is not an oracle… but his view on the Ukrainian imbroglio is persuasive. Moreover, whether he is wrong or right on Ukraine pales in comparison with the geopolitical events now massively underway. Certainly, if Western expansion is the plan, it does not appear to be working. Unintended consequences will often prevail. As Robert Burns famously wrote, “The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft a-gley.”
Here’s Richard Fernandez on the troubles facing Germany and their infamous Energiewende policy program:
Germany's 'Renewable Energy' Policy: Who's Laughing Now?
In 2019 Germany announced an ambitious "climate change" goal: by 2022, it would close its last nuclear power plant and by 2038, stop burning coal altogether. The Wall Street Journal called it at the time the "world’s dumbest energy policy," but the Germans said it was all part of the Energiewende (German for 'energy turnaround') the ongoing transition to a low carbon, environmentally sound, reliable, and affordable energy supply. Then an event occurred in 2022 which demonstrated how much Green energy was politics. Russia invaded Ukraine.
The repercussions of the invasion rippled like hydrostatic shock through the whole fabric of the European "climate change" agenda. At a stroke the war made natural gas from Moscow on which Germany was dependent politically toxic and killed sacred cows like the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline overnight. Chancellor Olaf Scholz, addressing Germany’s parliament, promised he would "create strategic energy reserves while shifting energy purchases away from Russia." Germany took steps to revive its nuclear power industry by extending the life-span of its remaining nuclear power plants. Even coal was back on the table for Europe, as politicians mooted keeping anything that could produce power going. "All options must be on the table," said the German Economic Affairs and Energy Minister.
David Cavena checked the environmentalists’ math and found that they should’ve invested in a calculator.
'Green Energy'? Let's Do the Math
Rather than argue climate politics and ideology, let’s look at math, the language of the universe. Americans own approximately 270 million private gasoline vehicles (GVs) and drive 3.2 trillion miles per year, consuming 123 billion gallons of gasoline. Why? Because we want to. Because we (still) are free to do what and go as and where we want. Democrats don’t like this. They prefer that we little people live in little boxes wedged-in with a hundred other little boxes, next to the (subsidized) light rail and the (un-air-conditioned) workplace and the (un-air-conditioned) grocery store selling bugs instead of food.
President Brandon read from his teleprompter that he wants to build 500,000 EV charging stations. By comparison, our 279 million GVs require only 115,000 “charging” (gas) stations. “Charging” a GV for the next 400 miles takes about 10 minutes. Absent fast chargers, charging an EV for the next 400 miles can take up to eight hours. Spending less time per person charging requires having more stations – about four times more. How much CO2 will be expelled into the atmosphere to build this costly infrastructure? As with windmills, arguably more than using them will reduce.
America generates annually, using 99 percent traditional power sources (hydro, coal, oil, natural gas, uranium) about four trillion kilowatt hours (Kwh) of electricity to power our grid and run our homes, offices, stores, internet, etc. NOT in charging 270 million EVs. The additional one percent of electricity generation comes from small-scale solar. The EPA has created a metric, “MPGe,” for EVs. An EV will use 33.7 Kwh of electricity to travel as far as a GV on one gallon of gasoline. Replacing 123 billion gallons of gasoline will require four trillion Kwh, or double what the nation generates and uses today. See the problem? California can’t even keep the lights on today.
Tom Finnerty passed along the news that the White House will reverse course on its ban on oil and gas leases on federal land.
Biden Resumes Drilling Leases, but With a Catch
Sixteen months into Joe Biden's term in office, with soaring energy prices due to demand exceeding supply, inflation eating away at state and family budgets alike, and very much against its will, the White House has decided to change course and start selling oil and gas leases again.
The Biden administration announced Friday that it would resume selling new oil and gas leases on federal lands.... The announcement comes as Republicans pressure President Joe Biden to expand U.S. crude production and rein in higher gasoline prices contributing to record inflation.... Leases for 225 square miles (580 square kilometers) of federal lands primarily in the West will be offered for sale in a notice to be posted on Monday, officials said.
There's a catch, of course.
The Interior Department on Friday said it's moving forward with the first onshore sales of public oil and natural gas drilling leases under President Joe Biden, but will sharply increase royalty rates for companies as federal officials weigh efforts to fight climate change against pressure to bring down high gasoline prices.
The royalty rate for new leases will increase to 18.75% from 12.5%. That's a 50% jump and marks the first increase to royalties for the federal government since they were imposed in the 1920s. Biden suspended new leasing just a week after taking office in January 2021. A federal judge in Louisiana ordered the sales to resume, saying Interior officials had offered no "rational explanation" for canceling them.
The announcement came on Good Friday, with Biden safely hidden away at Camp David for his Easter vacation, and therefore unavailable to answer questions, so was delivered by Interior Secretary (and devoted environmentalist) Deb Haaland, who had to sugarcoat the news for her fellow Green New Dealers, sprinkling into her speech standard lefty nonsense:
For too long, the federal oil and gas leasing programs have prioritized the wants of extractive industries above local communities, the natural environment, the impact on our air and water, the needs of tribal nations, and, moreover, other uses of our shared public lands.
She neglected to mention the fact that Native groups have begged for an exemption to the original leasing ban, which they felt violated their autonomy, and were eventually granted one. Unfortunately the "local communities" who lost out on their lease revenues weren't so lucky.
Thanks for reading, and keep a look out for upcoming pieces by Peter Smith, Joan Sammon, and Tom Finnerty. All this and more, this week at The Pipeline! Happy Easter!