When Joe Biden laid out America’s response to Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, he promised aggressive measures like a crackdown on Russian banks and a limit on exports to the country. But notably absent from his self-declared effort to defend democracy and make Vladimir Putin a “pariah,” was one of the biggest penalties he could impose: targeting Russia’s energy industry. Instead, Biden suggested that sanction might be off the table. “As we respond, my administration is using… every tool at our disposal to protect American families and businesses from rising prices at the gas pump,” he said. “We’re taking active steps to bring down the costs.”

It was a quick moment, but a striking one. In the face of a full-scale assault on Ukraine by a resurgent Russia, protecting American…

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