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news & opinion with no titillating non-news from the major non-news channels.


I am: progressive, not a wild-eyed Progressive; liberal, but shun liberals and Liberals; conservative, but some Conservatives worry me; absolutely NOT a libertarian. I am: an idealist, but no utopian; a pragmatist, but no Machiavellian. I am a realist who dreams.


I welcome all opinions.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Stratfor: Venezuela not a problem:
   Again, Friedman can't read history

Dr. George Friedman, founder of Stratfor.com, once again fails to learn from history, if in fact he actually reads it.

In reality, Chavez's ability to challenge the United States is severely limited. The occasional threat to cut off oil exports to the United States is fairly meaningless, in spite of conversations with the Chinese and others about creating alternative markets. The United States is the nearest major market for Venezuela. The Venezuelans could absorb the transportation costs involved in selling to China or Europe, but the producers currently supplying those countries then could be expected to shift their own exports to fill the void in the United States. Under any circumstances, Venezuela could not survive very long without exporting oil. Symbolizing the entire reality is the fact that Chavez's government still controls Citgo and isn't selling it, and the U.S. government isn't trying to slam controls onto Citgo.

Apparently, Dr. Friedman thinks the oil game is a zero sum game, something like play-doh.

Unfortunately, Chinese demand for oil, like the global demand for oil, keeps going up while supplies remain relatively flat, if not declining. If Venezuelan oil goes to China to meet increased demand, and if the Chinese are willing to pay a higher price for oil than the free market for non-economic strategic reasons, why would current Chinese imports get "squeezed" to American markets?

If Dr. Friedman is correct, why the big stink over the recent attempted Chinese Unocal buyout? Same logic. Dr. Friedman's conclusions are not as obvious as he believes.


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