A year before, any sort of engagement with Venezuela was considered an aberration by the United States. But the war in Ukraine has urged the US to change its cards of polity with Caracas. After the repeated attempts from the US asking Venezuela to be the alternate to Russian oil not going well with Nicolas Maduro, the US has shifted to genial talks of easing sanctions that may invariably gift a political lifeline to the autocrat leader of Venezuela.
New pact with Venezuela
In an unprecedented move, the US department has given a nod of assent to resume shipments of Venezuelan crude to be transported to Europe. And in a strange new pattern, it is a company from Italy that is expected to receive a good share of Venezuelan crude. The oil flow from Caracas to Europe has been frozen for a long owning to the myriad of sanctions imposed by the United States.
According to verified sources, Italian oil company Eni SpA has touched the Venezuelan waters to carry back 650,000 barrels of diluted crude oil after the US lifted the embargo imposed by the Trump administration back in 2020.
But the new genial diplomacy practised by Biden in Venezuela is mysterious when considering the facts that are out in the open. Washington has not made similar allowances for India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corp Ltd (ONGC) and France’s Maurel & Prom SA, which also lobbied the U.S. State Department and U.S. Treasury Department to take oil in return for billions of dollars in accumulated debts from Venezuela. So, yes, it is simply Italy that has got the leeway here to plunge into the huge reserves of Venezuelan crude and take back a good share of it to Rome.
But Biden got in a hurry to shift his game towards Italy is a question that is running unanswered. Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi from the inception of the Ukraine war has played it cool when it comes to diplomacy. With every statement emanating from Draghi, the US had its concerns about Italy slowly diving into the powerful realm of Russia. So, to curb such a catastrophe, Now Biden has weaved out a plan to appease Mario Draghi. But the broader picture of politics helps you to get hold of the real shrewd in Joe Biden.
Europe will be divided
Joe Biden zeroed on Italy, while there were hordes of other countries in Europe that were opposing the US line of diplomacy with Russia. The US could have appeased them, but it didn’t. Hungary, a country that abides strongly by the kremlin side of politics has been creating ripple effects within the EU by trading in roubles with Russia for oil. And with no solution in sight, the EU recently capitulated before Hungarian prime minister Victor Orban’s demands granting Budapest a near-total exemption from a new embargo on Russian oil. Hungary has been using a lethal language of diplomacy with neighbouring countries over the oil transfers and has been calling the shots within the EU clique.
With oil prices in Europe reaching their all-time high, a collapse of the high consequence is sure to fall upon Europe. So, with the current flow of oil deals to Italy, Biden is following the stratagem of divide and rule. Italy will be sufficient with oil; the supply will meet the demands but for the rest of Europe, the period of depravity will see no end. This may lead to further factions within the European Union with Italy and Hungary creating an effective opposition within EU. Italy has a stronger presence within the European Union, so Biden started with them.
While the game of oil runs high driving wedges across Europe, Biden could easily sneak back into the throne of power in Europe that has been slipping away from his hands due to the emergence of the stature of Emmanuel Macron.