ICYMI: EUCOM Commander Says Ending U.S. Oil Exports Ban Will Help Diffuse Russia’s Influence
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), participated in a SASC committee hearing Tuesday with EUCOM Commander Gen. Philip Breedlove where they discussed the foreign policy advancements being made due to Congress ending the 40-year ban on U.S. oil exports.
In Inhofe’s questioning of Gen. Breedlove, Inhofe expressed his agreement with Gen. Breedlove’s opening statement that European’s dependency on Russian oil has served to “bolster” Russia’s ability to coerce nations like Ukraine to achieve political gains. He asked Gen. Breedlove if the United States, now being capable of competing in the oil market overseas, is helping to dilute Russia’s influence in the region.
In the hearing, Gen. Breedlove responded to Inhofe by saying, “Russia is very apt to use energy dependency and energy capabilities as one of the tools [against other countries], adjusting prices, restricting flows, etc. And so, more available sources I think would help to diffuse that tool that they could use.”
In December, Congress took action to force the president’s hand to end the 40-year ban on oil exports. As exemplified in the committee hearing, this action is becoming a helpful and necessary foreign policy “tool” for the United States to aid our allies and weaken Russia’s leadership.