SHIELDS: Stop Doing Business With Tyrants


Thursday, April 21, 2022

The Russo-Ukrainian War rages on with new Russian war crimes being exposed each and every day. 

While the United States and our NATO Allies ought not directly fight a nuclear power, we should be doing everything we can short of war to defend Ukraine against its invaders. 

Much of what we have done is good, like sanctions and giving the Ukrainians weapons and supplies. Prime Minister Boris Johnson going to Kyiv to meet with Zelenskyy was great and others should follow his example.

But it’s not enough. 

Prima facie, America and our allies are united in our resolve to weaken the Russian war machine, but any investigation of the matter will reveal that we have crippled our ability to defend the liberties of ourselves and others. 

In 2018, President Trump warned that Germany was becoming too dependent on Russian energy. The Germans laughed at him. Now Germany is facing a recession as they try to eliminate dependence on Russian oil, something that might not be done until 2024. Germany isn’t unique. Many of our European allies remain dependent on Russian energy.

America is hardly guiltless in this regard. While Biden recently banned Russian crude oil, 7.9 percent of our crude oil imports in 2021 came from Russia. We embraced a form of green tyranny as we strengthened tyrants by increasing our reliance on their natural resources so we could invest in green energy that was not nearly as efficient as carbon-based energy.  

Unlike our allies, America has the resources to give the free world the energy they currently depend on Russia to provide. And as Russian soldiers butcher and rape Ukrainians, we still refuse to unshackle our domestic energy production, deeming it prudent to try and rely on Venezuelan tyranny for our energy needs, a nation who happens to be allied with Russia. 

And while our attention is presently on Russia, it mustn’t be forgotten that we have committed the same error to a much greater extent with China—a tyranny far more invidious and dangerous than Russia. The communists have rejected the life-saving vaccines produced by American capitalism in favor of their own, inferior vaccines, causing massive COVID spikes that they have responded to with their usual authoritarianism. These policies have wreaked havoc on Chinese supply chains, leading to shortages of important goods such as semiconductors, contributing to skyrocketing inflation here at home. 

The U.S. military is concerned about our dependence on Chinese rare earth minerals that are needed for military equipment like radar. Additionally, there is a risk of China purposely sabotaging the exports they give us or using them to spy on us. 

We all know the idiom “don’t bite the hand that feeds you,” yet we have ignored this wisdom and positioned ourselves so that we will have to fight those we depend on. 

Misguided policy on the Right is also at fault. Milton Friedman said in 2003, “I predict that China will move increasingly toward political freedom if it continues its successful move to economic freedom.” Thomas Friedman proposed “The Golden Arches Theory,” a theory that argued that countries with McDonalds would have so much to lose economically from war that they would be highly dissuaded to do so. 

They were wrong. Doing business with tyrants didn’t make them see the light, it made American companies profiteers of slavery and genocide. It made just nations unable to defend themselves and others from the aggression of tyrants. 

So stop doing business with them. It will require sacrifice. Prices will go up, especially as we cut off well-established economic relations and build new supply chains. But it will be worth it. The economy of the free world will be protected from the predations of tyrants, and when the forces of tyranny rise up, we will be able to crush them with all our might.

Jack Shields is a graduate of Texas A&M University and is currently attending Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. He is an editor and columnist for Lone Conservative, and a reporter for The College Fix.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.

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About Jack Shields

Jack Shields is a graduate of Texas A&M University and is currently attending Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. He is an editor and columnist for Lone Conservative, and a reporter for The College Fix.

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