Roger’s Rules

Headline: World to Chavez, Buzz Off!

Well, that’s the headline I would like to see. Instead, I woke to this: Chavez threatens to cut U.S. oil supply over vote. “Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez,” began the Reuters report, “threatened on Friday to halt the OPEC nation’s oil sales to the United States, seeking to fire up his leftist supporters for a weekend referendum on expanding his powers.” Good idea! It’s about time we started turning off the spigot of gushing barrels of petrodollars to neanderthal regimes. (This is an idea Raymond Learsy powerfully argues in a new edition of his book Over a Barrel: Breaking Oil’s Grip on Our Future.) Chavez is a tinpot dictator who nuisance factor is ramped up only because he is awash in cash–cash that the U.S. is chiefly responsible for supplying by gobbling up OPEC’s oil at extortionist prices. The alternative? Well, to begin with, increase US oil production, tap into our strategic oil reserves, and aggressively search for oil in such promising spots as Alaska. The polar bears will just have to mosey over to a new spot. Of course, that’s only a first step. We also need to bring more nuclear power plants online as quickly as possible and we need to do some serious research into alternatives to fossil fuels. It will be a nice day when the OPEC bullies–among whom Chavez is only a bit player–return to being mere loudmouth irritations instead, as they are now, worrisome thugs.

P.S., Chavez also threatened on Friday “to cut ties with Spain and nationalize Spanish businesses in Venezuela if King Juan Carlos does not apologize for telling him to ‘shut up’ at a recent summit in Chile.” My advice to King Juan Carlos: take a page out of Dirty Harry’s book: “Make my day.”