Thursday, February 17, 2005

More on Chavez

Trying hard to get membership in the axis of evil...
Adding insult to injury, Caracas has entered into a widely publicized agreement for a team of sales representatives from the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA (Petroleos de Venezuela) to be trained by Iranian advisers on strategies for penetrating the Asian market. While Iran has long been one of Venezuela's closest allies in OPEC, Chávez has decided to tighten economic links with Tehran precisely as the Bush administration attempts to ratchet up the pressure on Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions and intensifies its rhetoric regarding that country’s violations of human rights and democratic principles. This must be seen as a brash and potentially dangerous challenge to Washington. For the United States, it is a challenge that mostly will, in some form or other, be met: Venezuela conspiring with one of President Bush's self-declared archenemies--and a charter member of the "Axis of Evil"--in order to more effectively sell oil to the world's rising economic power, China, is no small matter. Moreover, oil destined for China will likely be diverted from the U.S. market just when high fuel costs threaten to swell this country's current account deficit even further beyond the point of sustainability, likely driving the now vulnerable `economy into a renewed recession.

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