the U.S. should be seeking to defund the Chávez machine, and there is no better way to do that than with approval of the Keystone XL. The Alberta crude that will travel through the XL is of a similar quality to Venezuelan oil, and the U.S. could begin buying from Canada instead of from Venezuela if a pipeline were put in place.
There is one thing that Mr. Lugar and Venezuelans who don’t believe that Chávez has an oil weapon agree on, and that is the Venezuelan dictator’s vulnerability. “Divisions in Venezuela’s Russian-armed military, an inflation rate over 30 percent, a dilapidated oil infrastructure, widespread food and energy shortages, and soaring crime rates are all putting heavy pressure on [him],” the senator writes. Losing a customer like the U.S. might just push him over and with him, Iran’s strongest base of support in the hemisphere.
Read the whole thing.