UK: Will the Prime Minister’s tour lead to a solution to the energy crisis?
The military ramifications of Ukraine’s crisis are all too obvious.
Boris Johnson, who arrived in the Middle East on Wednesday morning for a day of diplomacy with the leaders of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, is now attempting to deal with the economic consequences as well.
He believes that giving up Russian oil and gas is the most effective way for the West to harm President Putin.
Without a no-fly zone or its forces on the ground, the UK and its allies have chosen to squeeze Moscow’s wallet.
As a result, the prime minister has already stated that Russian oil, which is critical for diesel supplies, will be phased out by the end of the year.
Filling up at home has already increased in price. The EU is heavily dependent on Russian gas.
There’s no doubt that a sudden withdrawal of those resources would cause a severe economic shock that we’d all experience. As a result, the prime minister is attempting to fill the void.
The Prime Minister cannot be convinced that none of his Middle Eastern counterparts will want to be regarded as “picking a side” in the Ukraine situation.
In a recent UN vote denouncing Moscow’s activities, the UAE, for example, abstained.
And there have been conflicting indications from the Middle East about whether or not turning on the taps is something they are willing to do, with ambassadors and ministers delivering inconsistent signals. But, as things stand, a breakthrough does not appear to be imminent.
And if the oil-producing countries decide it is in their best interests to provide aid, they may wonder what benefits they will receive.
Any business benefit in exchange could elicit its dispute.
Then there’s the thorny issue of Boris Johnson’s willingness to do business with whom.
Going cap in hand from dictator to dictator, according to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, is no replacement for an energy plan.
Disentangling Russia’s economy from that of the West may appear to be a diplomatic no-brainer, but the cost and complexities of doing so cannot be overlooked.