SHREWSBURY — In a statement released Feb. 25, Republican 2nd Congressional district candidate Jeff Sossa-Paquette responded to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying, “This is not America’s war, it’s the EU’s crisis. Germany is as feckless as the Biden administration; kick them out of NATO ASAP. They cut their military in half over past decade. They don’t pay their full NATO dues but ask Americans to not only pay but to lay our lives down to protect Germany while their citizens live and ours die cannot be tolerated anymore.”
Sossa-Paquette is running to unseat Rep. Jim McGovern, who has represented the 2nd congressional district, which includes North Quabbin, for three decades.
However, German broadcast network Deutsche Welle noted on its website Sunday that “Germany reported a record high in NATO defense spending for 2021, submitting a budget of €53 billion ($59.2 billion) for the current year. That figure marks a 3.2% increase over the year before.”
Also on Sunday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told the Bundestag he would increase overall German military spending to more than $110 billion in the coming year.
Speaking to the Athol Daily News from Orlando, Fla., where he was attending the 2022 Conservative Political Action Conference, Sossa-Paquette said, “I have a real problem with (Germany). They voted down the ability to take Russia out of the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) banking system. So, the question becomes, does Germany belong in NATO?
“Then, when you look at America, we didn’t sanction the (Russian) energy. If you’re not going to sanction the energy, then what you’re really saying is, as America, ‘We are choosing energy over human life. And when Jim McGovern comes out and celebrates these toothless sanctions, he’s as complacent as everybody else.”
(On Sunday, The US, European Union and UK did cut some Russian banks from the SWIFT system, which traffics billions of dollars a day between some 11,000 global financial institutions.)
“Before Russia moved,” Sossa-Paquette continued, “we should have sanctioned the oil and the industry that’s 50 percent of their economy. That should have come immediately. Then the sanctions to pull them out of the SWIFT system.”
He added that, while residents of North Quabbin might feel some pain at the pump for a short time, the U.S. needs to move away from dependence on foreign oil, including that from Russia.
“All America has to do is go all-in on our own energy and, yes, it will be painful for 60 days, but we can bring the cost of energy back down in under 90 days while holding Putin accountable. But we didn’t do that. And now, you’ve got Biden and Jim McGovern arguing to release the sanctions on Iran to let their oil come into the market to try to bring down the prices.”
That, he said, would allow Iran to speed up its efforts to obtain nuclear weapons, thus prompting Israel to attack the Islamic republic. That, in turn, could pull China into a conflict that would have global consequences.
Sossa-Paquette also defended comments from former President Trump and FoxNews commentator Tucker Carlson, who have been criticized from some quarters for comments deemed complimentary of the Russian dictator.
“What they’re saying is,” he explained, “Putin outsmarted our leaders here in America. They’re not celebrating Putin as an individual. What they’re saying is, Putin is doing a better job in running his country and his military than we are as Americans.
“Now, I will say, there’s no way on God’s green earth — in my own opinion — that if President Trump was president right now, this would not be happening. He absolutely would have stopped it.”
The Shrewsbury Republican also blamed President Biden for putting too great an emphasis on renewable energy, which has led to a drop in available domestic petroleum supplies and the need to secure oil from other nations.
“How many times are we going to go to war over energy?” he asked. “America has all the energy we need for ourselves and our allies without ever going to war. But we are so focused on renewable energy, that we would rather sacrifice the standing of America, we would let thousand of people in Ukraine get killed right now because we don’t want to be energy independent.”
He said the suggestion by some that President Biden should tap the nation’s strategic oil reserve in an attempt to keep gas prices down “wouldn’t do a damn thing.”
“We should use our own oil and natural gas supplies, and yet we buy 200 billion barrels of oil every month from Russia, that America could pump ourselves,” said Sossa-Paquette. “So, Joe Biden, he is as bad as Germany. We are buying our energy from Russia, that’s why they didn’t sanction it.”
(According to information from the website of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, in 2021, the U.S. imported just under 210,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Russia, along with another 500,000 barrels of other petroleum products — or a total of approximately 21.3 million barrels per month. Russia accounts for about 3 percent of America’s oil imports.)
“This is probably one of my stronger stances,” Sossa-Paquette concluded. “When people are being killed, this just doesn’t work for me. And if the Republicans were behind it, I’d say it just as strongly. We can never choose energy over human life.”
Greg Vine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org