Energy exports could strengthen the weakness of Obama's foreign policy!
The crisis in the Ukraine has the USA and Europe in a catch-22. Punitive sanctions against key Russian and Ukrainian figures could cut both ways. The West is wary when it comes to punishing Russia for its flagrant transgressions of international law. For one thing, nobody in the current administration - indeed throughout Europe - wants to see the specter of the Cold War rearing its ugly head once again. The dilemma is predicated on taking action to discourage Russia from continuing with its aggressive policy of wanton expansionism.
High Stakes Poker: Time for the USA to Ante Up
Since Russia is holding all the cards in this poker game, many in Democrat circles and the GOP are now calling for the USA to ante up. Perhaps it is time that the US started tapping into its wealth of natural resources for more than mere domestic consumption and self-sufficiency. Many are now arguing that the time has come for the US to play its trump card in the global arena. Several ranking politicians, Senator Murkowski among them, are calling on the administration to lift the ban on oil exports. This could certainly tip the scales in favor of the US and Europe.
The issue has been a source of sharp political division between Democrats and Republicans but it may well be necessary to break Russia's monopoly on Ukrainian energy. The US has massive supplies of natural gas and oil available for production, but nothing is presently being done about it for a real fear of environment consequences. Presently, no natural gas is exported in the form of LNG since liquefaction facilities will only become operational in 2015. In a twist of fate, Russian premier Putin may well have been the catalyst in driving the USA towards energy self-sufficiency with an orientation towards a large export market.
The Energy Stocks Kicker: Oil and Natural Gas Supplies
Presently there are many options available to the USA including fracking and natural gas exports. America's geopolitical standing can be dramatically enhanced by negotiating from a position of strength and that's precisely what oil and natural gas provides the country with. Europe is for all intents and purposes being held hostage to Russia's adventurism into former Soviet satellite states. Even former secretary of state Clinton is all for using the domestic energy boom as geopolitical leverage to serve American interests. Of course the 2016 presidential hopeful will not sign off onto fracking for fear of offending the establishment at this time.
Carrot and Stick Approach vis-à-vis Energy Supplies
For the USA to reassert itself as a stabilizing force in the face of flagrant violations of international law - Syria, Iran, Russia and North Korea included - America needs to lead from the front. The Keystone XL Pipeline remains one of the most contentious issues facing the nation in respect of energy independence. With the Ukraine weighing heavily on the minds of the global community, it may just be time for the USA to unveil its true economic strength to the world. To date the US energy boom has generated over 1 million jobs and oil production has spiked 45% in 3 years. Companies like ExxonMobil could play a big role in dissuading Russia from its current path.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.