The Biden administration and our Western European allies have done a laudatory job of imposing crippling economic sanctions on Russia for its savage and unprovoked attack on the sovereign, peaceful democratic republic of Ukraine. However, there has been a reluctance to impose an export blockade on Russia’s oil exports – a bountiful source of revenues that helps to finance its criminal war machine.
The rationale for slow walking such a blockade is to minimize its impact on the price of oil and related gas and home-heating costs. Notwithstanding the announcement by the United States and more than two dozen nations to release 60 million barrels of oil from its emergency stockpile, that strategy has obviously not worked as oil prices have shot through the ceiling as a result of disruptions of supplies due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia produces about 12% of the world’s oil.
What if we imposed an immediate and complete blockade on Russian oil exports and asked the citizens of the world who cherish the cause of Ukrainian freedom and democracy to voluntarily reduce their energy consumption by the percentage of Russia’s share of world oil production? A 12 percent cutback in energy consumption would demonstrate the world’s determination to support the courageous and heroic acts that everyday Ukrainians are making in defense of their nation, and on behalf of democracy itself.
As the international voice for democracy, human rights, a rules-based world order, peace-on-earth, and planetary sanity, the United Nations should immediately call upon all its members to at once impose an airtight blockade on Russian oil exports and exhort the citizens to tighten their energy consumption belts.
The Ukrainians would be forever grateful, as would mother nature!
Robert Berkowitz lives in Guilford.