PARIS -- The day after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met for Ukraine crisis de-escalation talks in Geneva with his Russian and European counterparts in an attempt to stabilize the country, Kerry's department released a statement that undermined America's own economic and national security -- again.
Disrupting Russia's traditional interests in Ukraine should be nowhere near as important a priority as completing the Keystone XL pipeline in order to cement America's energy independence and its global clout as a net exporter. But apparently, President Obama would rather annoy Russian oligarchs than the American oligarchs who supported his campaign -- namely, billionaires Tom Steyer and Warren Buffett, who have both made bucketloads of cash off Keystone XL alternatives and competitors.
According to last week's State Department release, "Agencies need additional time based on the uncertainty created by the ongoing litigation in the Nebraska Supreme Court which could ultimately affect the pipeline route in that state."
"Agencies" in this case really means "Obama," because we're talking about an executive order here. And spare us the litigation talk. Only two executive orders have ever been overturned by the judicial branch.
Stop stalling with this endless game of hot potato, pull yourself up by that thread of dental floss you call a spine, and make a decision on Keystone already. The release from the State Department even cites as justification Executive Order 13337, which was issued in 2004 by former President George W. Bush with the explicit goal to "expedite reviews of permits as necessary to accelerate the completion of energy production and transmission projects" that cross international boundaries. Expediting only works when the president can be bothered to pick up his pen.
The whole idea of an executive order is to give the president decision-making power over such matters -- particularly given that Congress hadn't gotten around to creating federal regulatory framework for international pipeline projects.
Running around the globe and getting involved in markets largely irrelevant to American interests while relegating America's economic autonomy to the back burner demonstrates misplaced priorities. Wasn't this supposed to be the president who would hunker down at home and focus on resolving America's domestic problems?
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