Putin-Chavez partnership in oil and weapons forged

Joseph Finlay
Vladimir Putin's visit last week to Venezuela to cement a defense and energy partnership with Hugo Chavez comes at the expense of American prestige and influence in the region, and highlights with astonishing clarity the weaknesses of America's energy policy and diminished standing in the world under the Obama Administration. 

INVESTORS.com has the details:

Friday, Russia's prime minister made his first trip to Caracas, jetting in with little fanfare to sign deals. The urgency baffled many, but Putin got right down to business, announcing that Russia had gotten the right to develop Venezuela's Hunin-6 field, the world's largest oil deposit.

He also announced that Russian companies would build refineries and handed Chavez a $1 billion "entry fee." Meanwhile, he said Russia would sell more than $5 billion in arms to Venezuela and build a Bolivian aircraft refueling stop, effectively a Russian military base near the center of South America.

Fifty years ago, Khrushchev sought a strategic foothold in the Western Hemisphere emboldened by his calculations that an earlier, young and inexperienced American President lacked the resolve to oppose Soviet influence.  It appears that Putin, who by all accounts has the psyche of a bully, has taken the measure of American leadership and resolve in 2010 and found little reason to flinch or take pause when advancing forward:

This is bad news for the U.S. and its regional allies such as Colombia and Chile, all of whom face new threats after Putin's trip.

The U.S. faces the growing possibility of Russian control of its second largest foreign oil supplier. Putin clearly sees President Obama's promises to drill oil in U.S. waters as hollow.

Russian control of Venezuelan oil means more leverage over U.S. energy than Venezuela has, given the new refineries. In the past, the U.S. could check Chavez to some extent because of its near monopoly in refining Venezuela's specialized heavy oil.

Putin's move ends even that.

America's lack of a realistic and common sense domestic energy policy aimed at developing our untapped resources has the domino effect of providing opportunity and leverage to leaders like Vladimir Putin and Hugo Chavez, who are eager to supplant American strength and influence. 

It also makes the world a much more dangerous place. 

Vladimir Putin's visit last week to Venezuela to cement a defense and energy partnership with Hugo Chavez comes at the expense of American prestige and influence in the region, and highlights with astonishing clarity the weaknesses of America's energy policy and diminished standing in the world under the Obama Administration. 

INVESTORS.com has the details:

Friday, Russia's prime minister made his first trip to Caracas, jetting in with little fanfare to sign deals. The urgency baffled many, but Putin got right down to business, announcing that Russia had gotten the right to develop Venezuela's Hunin-6 field, the world's largest oil deposit.

He also announced that Russian companies would build refineries and handed Chavez a $1 billion "entry fee." Meanwhile, he said Russia would sell more than $5 billion in arms to Venezuela and build a Bolivian aircraft refueling stop, effectively a Russian military base near the center of South America.

Fifty years ago, Khrushchev sought a strategic foothold in the Western Hemisphere emboldened by his calculations that an earlier, young and inexperienced American President lacked the resolve to oppose Soviet influence.  It appears that Putin, who by all accounts has the psyche of a bully, has taken the measure of American leadership and resolve in 2010 and found little reason to flinch or take pause when advancing forward:

This is bad news for the U.S. and its regional allies such as Colombia and Chile, all of whom face new threats after Putin's trip.

The U.S. faces the growing possibility of Russian control of its second largest foreign oil supplier. Putin clearly sees President Obama's promises to drill oil in U.S. waters as hollow.

Russian control of Venezuelan oil means more leverage over U.S. energy than Venezuela has, given the new refineries. In the past, the U.S. could check Chavez to some extent because of its near monopoly in refining Venezuela's specialized heavy oil.

Putin's move ends even that.

America's lack of a realistic and common sense domestic energy policy aimed at developing our untapped resources has the domino effect of providing opportunity and leverage to leaders like Vladimir Putin and Hugo Chavez, who are eager to supplant American strength and influence. 

It also makes the world a much more dangerous place.