The Chinese threat

On talk radio lately, it’s an accepted fact that the Chinese either are currently or are about to start drilling for oil sixty miles off our coastline. If they can do it, outraged talkers ask, why can’t we? This is part of a larger argument that the current energy crisis is entirely the fault of Democrats and environmentalists, and no one should harbor any ill feelings toward the oil industry, or be concerned with conservation.

Just one problem.

Yet no one can prove the Chinese are drilling anywhere off Cuba’s shoreline. The China-Cuba connection is “akin to urban legend,” said Sen. Mel Martinez, a Republican from Florida who opposes drilling off the coast of his state but who backs exploration in ANWR.

“China is not drilling in Cuba’s Gulf of Mexico waters, period,” said Jorge Pinon, an energy fellow with the Center for Hemispheric Policy at the University of Miami and an expert in oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. Martinez cited Pinon’s research when he took to the Senate floor Wednesday to set the record straight.

* * *

China’s Sinopec oil company does have an agreement with the Cuban government, but it’s to develop onshore resources west of Havana, Pinon said. The Chinese have done some seismic testing, he said, but no drilling, and nothing offshore.

Western diplomats in Havana tell McClatchy that to the best of their knowledge, there is no Chinese drilling in or around Cuba.

“I’ve never heard anything about this,” said one diplomat from a country in the hemisphere.

Nonetheless, talk radio callers are very concerned about the Chinese drilling — and, I kid you not, the possibility that the Chinese may use their imaginary drilling rigs as a platform from which to launch nuclear missiles at the U.S.

It’s a wonder that this country functions as well as it does, given that at least a third of our fellow citizens are clinically insane.

… on a related note: drilling in ANWR solves all our energy problems, if you inflate estimated oil production by 7000 percent.