Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Unholy Oil Alliances

In these tough economic times, China and Venezuela are stepping up their relationship.

From AFP:

CARACAS (AFP) — Venezuela and China agreed to boost economic relations Tuesday, as Vice President Xi Jinping began a two-day visit to the country and Beijing continued to expand its presence in Latin America.

Xi and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez agreed to establish a joint business committee to foster contacts between business leaders in both nations and increase ties in the service, trade and investment sectors.

"I ask you to unleash all your creativity to lead this business committee to a map full of achievements," Chavez told a meeting of Venezuelan and Chinese business leaders.

"We're sure that through our joint effort the mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Venezuela will know a brighter future," Xi said.

Read On
According to Hugo Chavez, Venezuela is prepared to "provide China with all the oil it needs for the next 200 years."

Hugo Chavez and the United States obviously do not have the best relationship. But seeing that Venezuela is the third largest foreign oil supplier to the United States with 1.5 million barrels of oil a day, the US doesn't really have much room to criticize China for its ties with the country.

But the other alliance China's strengthened this week is sure to make right-wing Americans' heads explode.

From The Associated Press:

SHANGHAI - Call it planning ahead.

While China's exports plunge and millions of laid-off workers hunt for jobs, the country's big state companies are spending billions of dollars securing access to oil and other scarce resources the country will need in coming decades.

The $25 billion energy agreement signed late Tuesday by China and Russia was the biggest of several deals signed this month, with state financial backing, that are expanding Beijing's overseas resources base at a time when most banks elsewhere are not lending and most governments are barely scraping by.

"Obviously, now, those are holding cash can speak louder than those who have resources," said Qiu Xiaofeng, an analyst at China Merchant Securities, in Shanghai.

"The global economic crisis has given China a rare, good opportunity to trade our abundant currency reserves for other countries' oil resources," Qiu said.

The long-awaited deal signed Tuesday provides a $25 billion loan to Russia in exchange for 15 million tons of oil annually (300,000 barrels per day) for 20 years. The China Development Bank will lend $15 billion to Russia's state-owned Rosneft oil company and $10 million to Transneft, its state pipeline monopoly.

Read On
China made strides this week towards securing its future energy needs. And when one also takes into consideration the oil arrangements that China has developed with Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, China has obviously done a really good job in getting a disversified arrangement of oil suppliers.

Looking at the countries and considering the billions of dollars that are going to be thrown at them though, ending our addiction to oil has never sounded like a better idea. For as long as we are addicted to oil, countries that have little to no conception of human rights and who are responsible for horrible atrocities will continue to be propped up by oil exports.

While I've gone over the list of countries that China is strengthening ties to, I'm not so impressed with the pandering that the United States is forced to resort to to keep its energy supplies flush either. The US' alliances may not be quite as shady as China's but they are by no means saints when it comes to dealing with oil producing nations.

Unfortunately, I don't see much reason to be optimistic that China, the United States, or the rest of the world will be ending its addiction to oil, a natural resource sustaining many of the most underhanded nations in the world, any time soon.


Anonymous said...

Firstly, Western nations sat back as the knowledge, effort and talent that developed the oil fields were nationalized from 60 years ago until recently in Venezuela with BP. By now, the oil companies should not be accomplices. Nations such as Iran who refuse to pay respect to the science that makes such worldly pursuits possible do not deserve to have the fruits of those efforts. Their society is not developed enough philosophically to handle it. Early on, the Western governments should not have sat idly by as its citizens interests were plundered.

As far as alliances beyond the resource issue, I really dislike what I see as power balancing alliances. A proper alliance is one based upon a shared principle. Just trying to balance out one nations' power by allying with any such opposite nation can only have atrocious effects. Balancing US power with journalist killing fascist Russia is neither moral nor ultimately practical but dangerous.

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