Oil diplomacy

A major new natural gas contract will do more than keep tens of millions of Chinese warm. It also will thaw relations between their government and Russia. Meanwhile, U.S. officials seem to be doing all they can to limit diplomatic leverage our country can enjoy through energy sales.

Under the contract signed earlier this month, Russia will sell $400 billion worth of gas to China during the next 30 years. That establishes a new tie between the two countries, which have not enjoyed good relations for several decades.

There is virtually nothing U.S. officials can do about that.

Americans have plenty of fossil fuels – and many eager buyers. But the federal government continues to move at a snail’s pace to approve seaport terminals needed to export liquified natural gas. In the West, efforts to export more U.S. coal to Asian markets are being blocked by radical environmentalists.

On the other side of the coin, of course, is the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to bring Canadian oil to this country. President Barack Obama’s administration continues to block construction. At some point that could drive the Canadians to sell their oil elsewhere. China has been suggested as a buyer.

For both diplomatic and economic reasons, the Obama administration’s policies on energy make no sense. The China-Russia deal should serve as a wake-up call.

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