How far should Joe Biden go to limit soaring US gas prices? The US president has launched an oil diplomacy gambit to compensate for banning Russian petroleum, but he risks accusations of propping up authoritarian leaders and undermining his own battle for democracy.
Amid the war unleashed by Russia in Ukraine, a recent American mission to energy-rich Caracas was intended to be discreet.
And for good reason: US government emissaries met with Venezuela’s controversial leader Nicolas Maduro, a sworn enemy of Washington which disputes his legitimacy as president.
But news of the meeting leaked and the Biden administration was left scrambling to explain why it was engaging with an authoritarian regime.
Biden could certainly boast of a success, as Caracas on Tuesday released two Americans detained in Venezuela. But the trip clearly had other motives.