Furacão Chávez

Mr. Chávez imagines that he can damage the United States by rerouting Venezuelan oil to other markets. He fails to understand that oil is fungible: If Venezuela's crude is sold to the Chinese, the Chinese will buy less of it elsewhere, freeing up supplies for U.S. consumers. But Mr. Chávez also appears oblivious to the technical difficulties in sending oil halfway round the world rather than selling it in his own hemisphere. Oil tankers do not come cheap, and China will have to build special refineries to process the heavy brand of crude that Venezuela produces. Despite Mr. Chávez's bluster about tripling exports to China in three years, Venezuela will depend on Yanqui consumers for the foreseeable future.