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China's Back-Door Energy Squeeze
By Henry Corbett Dillon June 17, 2005

"She doesn't come here with imperialist airs; she comes here like a sister. God bless China." A number of recent articles, though kept from the front pages of most newspapers, have illuminated a certain Chinese deal with Venezuela concerning its oil supply. It appears that China will gain access to the majority of Venezuela's oil output-a move which puts 15% of American petroleum supplies in jeopardy. The misguided words at the beginning of this letter came from none other than Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, who apparently has delusions of China's benevolence in the world, as opposed to his perception of America as an evil imperial power-this all while China continues its abysmal human rights record in order to support its growing economy. With men dropping in China's mines like the Eagles in the Super Bowl, and children working 15 hour days in its sweat shops for nearly nothing, China still gets praise, and America gets scorn. To figure out why, just follow the money all the way back to Bejing from Caracas.

Speaking of trips, how does China plan to transport all that oil back to its homeland? Why, across the Panama Canal, of course. We didn't really have any need for that little strip of water anyway, according to the Carter-Clinton way of thinking. Carter first signed the treaty in 1977 to turn over control of the canal to Panama, and although conservatives warned Clinton that China would attempt to control the canal, he went ahead with the implementation of the treaty in 1999. "Control" can be attained by many means, and defined in many ways, but with China's growing influence Central America over the past few years (partially gained by support for communist terrorist groups in Columbia and elsewhere) it appears that America has shot itself in the foot in an effort to placate other nations who will always find a reason for dissatisfaction with us anyway. On a side note, let's not forget the tons of illegal drugs grown in rebel-controlled areas that help finance the Columbian rebels before ending up in the veins of American children.

Oil provides power as much in the physical sense as the strategic, and China is hungry for it in both forms. In fact, China has also jumped into the traditionally American-dominated oil fields of Canada, signing an agreement which grants it access to Canadian oil and uranium. Washington gets the message loud and clear: China means to gain superpower status, particularly in the economic realm. In essence, the country is having a "coming out" party.

The Chinese government has the right to provide energy for its growing economy, I will grant, but the United States also must secure an adequate energy supply for its already colossal economy. Of course, this sets the stage for a worldwide face-off over energy, with the Arab nations tipping the balance away from the States. America's decades long policy of pacifying the oil-rich nations has placed a noose of dependence around its neck, and both Republican and Democratic administrations have allowed the rope to tighten from fear of increasing international instability.

Instability, however, is now upon us anyway. With North Korea's recent announcement of nuclear armament, America can't afford to lose China's cooperation in talks with N. Korea by seeming petty over oil supplies...or can it? Is China really interested in helping America accomplish anything, and will it apply more than token pressure to N. Korea if the U.S. will benefit? Will terrorist-supporting nations in South America and the Middle East bend toward China in order to hurt America? What can the U.S. do to feed its economy while maintaining its global strategic position?

I don't know the answers to all those questions, but I believe President Bush has done well by helping Columbia nearly end its 30 year war against the rebels. Venezuelan President Chavez supports the rebels, so having a more stable government in Columbia helps keep Venezuela and China in check without appearing confrontational.

Also, we should increase our oil exploration efforts in North America. Even West Virginia (my home state) has considerable amounts of oil trapped in shale which could become economical to extract if oil prices continue to climb. This state has a wealth of energy available through hydroelectric generation systems which could be fitted to new or existing impoundment dams. By relying less upon oil for power generation, we could free up much more petroleum for transportation uses. Add to that the efficiency of hybrid vehicles, which are still in their infantile stages, and I see no reason why America can't keep its economy running strong while maintaining its strategic position in the world. Oh…one more thing, as the TV detective Columbo might say, by the time Venezuela figures out China's long-term intentions, it will already have become colonized.

Copyright © 2005 by Henry Corbett Dillon


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