August 2, 2021

Opinion: Caribbean Joe Biden misses his big opportunity

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biden012915_1k.jpg.cmsFrom Investors Business Daily

Energy: At a Caribbean summit, Vice President Joe Biden promised oodles of wind and solar schemes as the U.S. way of helping these nations with energy needs. Coming from the shale superpower, what a wasted opportunity.

Seems the late Venezuelan strongman-buffoon Hugo Chavez had a better grip on how to win allies and influence in the strategically vital region than feckless Joe.

Chavez understood that to extend influence in the Caribbean, supplying energy does the job. Chavez’s 2005 Petrocaribe initiative created a club of nations built around cheap oil sales at a time of high oil prices, and soon moved on to other economic dealings that extended Venezuela’s regional influence at our expense.

With Venezuela now on the rocks, oil prices tumbling and the U.S. in its mighty shale revolution the world’s biggest energy producer, it doesn’t take a genius to recognize that it’s a slam-dunk for us to sell them cheap oil.

It’s a no-brainer, that is, for everyone but Joe Biden.

At the Caribbean Energy Security Summit in Washington, Biden laid out a smorgasbord of solar power and other green schemes as the U.S. contribution to their energy future. Instead of just making them an unconditional offer of items on the market, Biden promised our help if, and only if, they eliminated corruption. (As if the humongous U.S. government green programs, starting with Solyndra, have been corruption-free).

It’s an unimaginative strategy and a wasted opportunity. What Biden should have done was promise the Caribbean nations a legislative initiative to let U.S. oil companies sell their oil abroad, something that has been prohibited since the oil shocks of the 1970s.

That would make the U.S. a reliable and trusted energy supplier and end a lot of headaches for the region. For good measure, Biden should join his old colleague, Sen. John McCain, in repealing the Jones Act, which keeps foreign ships from competing in U.S. ports.

The Jones Act has strangled Puerto Rico economically and kept Caribbean ships from our ports. Repeal could create an economically flourishing region, with Puerto Rico a bright potential Hong Kong of the region.

Yes, it should be done. Biden’s tired, unserious energy initiatives come as Iran, Russia and China are all planting flags around the Caribbean and offering other deals.

Simply offering to change our law so that Caribbean states can also benefit from our great shale revolution is the simplest, cheapest and most effective solution for helping these tiny states to our south prosper — and for increasing our diplomatic sway with them.

IMAGE: Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Caribbean Energy Security Summit at the State Department on Monday. AP

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