5.09.2006

The New Cuban Crisis - Oil, Not Missiles

This development is rather disturbing - and it might just represent the only argument to convince me to end the embargo and normalize trade relations with Cuba:
Plans for foreign oil companies, some from India and China, to drill off the cost of Cuba are prompting calls from lawmakers to ease environmental restrictions that prohibit coastal drilling in most of the U.S., according to a report Tuesday.

At a time of rising soaring gasoline prices caused partly by a lack of supply, legislators are fuming that Cuba is opening up its continental shelf for oil and gas exploration while most of the U.S. continental shelf outside the Gulf of Mexico, which extends 200 miles from shore, has been off limits for drilling since the early 1980s, the New York Times reported.

Adding insult to injury, the Times said U.S. firms were invited to bid on the Cuban contracts, but were barred by the U.S. government due to the country's longstanding economic embargo of communist Cuba.

"Red China should not be left to drill for oil within spitting distance of our shores without competition from U.S. industries," Sen. Larry Craig, Republican of Idaho, told the Times.
Indeed, it should not. China's increasing forays into the Western Hemisphere to secure energy resources should have our klaxons blaring. A blossoming relationship with Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, troops in Haiti, and now drilling in our backyard - China is making strategic moves that make me want to whip out the Monroe Doctrine, dust it off, and start waving it in Hu Jintao's face.

Unfortunately, with a President preoccupied on a thousand fronts with an approval rating below 35%, our country is in the worst possible position to address Chinese incursions with appropriate firmness. Short term, this may seem unworthy of great concern, but it's the long-term implications I'm worried about:
"The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy." - Sun Tzu, The Art of War