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Did Biden Send Officials to Beg for Oil in Venezuela?

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Remember when we were isolating Venezuela and its strongman, Nicolás Maduro? If it feels like only yesterday, that’s because it basically was.

Now, we’ve got a different oil-rich nation we’re interested in isolating — albeit with an administration in the White House that doesn’t want to expend any political capital doing so. And just like that, senior Biden administration officials were traveling down to Venezuela over the weekend. What felicitous timing!

According to The New York Times, the Saturday excursion was “the highest-level visit by Washington officials to Caracas, Venezuela’s capital, in years” after the United States broke off relations with the country in 2019.

Yet, we’re supposed to believe this has nothing to do with President Joe Biden’s desire to keep the prices at the pump from getting too high without turning on the oil spigot at home. (Here at The Western Journal, we’ve documented how the administration needs to make a choice — and why that choice should be to start producing energy here. We’ll continue to inform America as to why — and you can help us by subscribing.)

So, was the Biden administration begging for oil in Caracas? It’s been a possibility on the table, even though Russia has been one of the countries that have allowed the Maduro regime to continue oil exports despite the U.S. sanctions.

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“As Russia’s economy craters, the U.S. is seizing on an opportunity to advance its agenda among Latin American autocracies that might start seeing Mr. Putin as an increasingly weak ally,” the Times reported.

“When the U.S. and its allies began considering sanctions on Russian oil and gas exports this month to punish the country for devastation wrought in Ukraine, prominent voices affiliated with both major American political parties pointed to Venezuela as a potential substitute.”

Your definition of “both major American political parties” being in on this might differ from how The Times defined it, at least in this context.

The two Republican examples given were former Rep. Scott Taylor of Virginia — who’s been working with a former Maduro regime lobbyist — and former Fox Business host Trish Regan, who was let go from the network in 2020 after she appeared to imply COVID-19 was merely an attempt to impeach Donald Trump.

These aren’t exactly heavy hitters on the level of, oh, say, the senior Biden administration officials going down to Caracas to potentially beg for oil while Maduro’s Russian benefactors stumble around Ukraine.

As for other explanations for the trip, it’s difficult to fathom what they might be.

The Biden administration has one foreign policy focus at the moment: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Normalizing relations with South American countries that lean on Moscow as opposed to Washington wouldn’t really be on the docket at the moment — unless, of course, that nation could provide us with some kind of tangible, time-sensitive benefit.

You do the math.

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Venezuela might be in the hands of a bloodthirsty socialist regime, but it’s a bloodthirsty socialist regime that’s sitting on top of Jed Clampett’s backyard. And despite the fact that Maduro hasn’t changed in the intervening three years since sanctions were introduced, or the fact the Biden administration didn’t have any use for him during the first year of the president’s administration, it seems fishy that the first time the president made serious entreaties to Venezuela happens to coincide with the first time the president desperately needed Texas tea from literally anywhere he could get it.

And when I say anywhere, I do mean anywhere.

Keep in mind another potential country to which the Biden administration might look for oil is Iran, which manages to be a bigger problem than this. Last week, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said that “all options are on the table,” including buying oil from Tehran, according to Fox News.

Should the U.S. increase energy production at home?

Whether or not this is affected by the Sunday breakdown in talks for the United States to join the flawed 2015 Iran nuclear deal — according to the U.K.’s Guardian, Russia, also one of the signatories, is demanding an exemption to sanctions on Moscow over Ukraine be linked to the deal — what’s clear is that the administration wants energy from any country that isn’t Russia right now.

Well, scratch that — any country but Russia or the United States.

We’re not going to produce our own to preclude this from happening again. We’re not going to start leasing out federal lands for energy production. We’re not going to restart the Keystone XL Pipeline project.

We’re not going to do any of that because the Biden administration desperately wants to be green and, apparently, Iranian oil and Venezuelan oil pollutes less than American oil. (Must be because it’s diluted with the blood of those countries’ dissidents.)

If we desperately need energy because we’re trying to squeeze a country like Russia, it would logically proceed that the least evil country we could get it from would be ourselves.

We wouldn’t have to make cynical deals with our enemies, fattening them up so that we’ll have to deal with them further down the road.

But that would make sense.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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