President Barack Obama says he’ll veto a bill making its way through the House of Representatives that would repeal the oil export ban in place since Gerald Ford’s administration. Obama thinks he’s acting from a position of strength in saying “No” to anything Republican.
He’s actually acting from weakness and timidity. Leaving aside the destruction of potential American jobs such a veto, if carried through, would represent, there are a couple of foreign policy/national security aspects to lifting the oil.
The free flow of oil to Europe that lifting the ban would facilitate would go a long way toward weaning Europe in general and Ukraine, Poland, and Germany in particular from their current dependence on Russian oil exports.
Freely flowing oil will hold down the cost of energy and of materials industries: plastics are made from oil. Those lower costs strength the economies of all of the nations that use energy in their industries or that import other nations’ production—which is to say the economies of nearly every nation on the planer.
Both Russia and Iran need oil prices above $100/barrel in order to balance their national budgets and so to better fund their attacks on their neighbors, in Russia’s case, and to fund their terrorist clients and attacks on Israel, in Iran’s case. Freely flowing oil would keep oil prices in their current $50-ish range, if not push those prices lower.
But neither Putin nor Khamenei would like that.