Oil is the ultimate geopolitical commodity – it is “The Prize,” as Daniel Yergin titled his epic history of petroleum and international politics. And even if Cnooc fails to grab Unocal, the pursuit has pushed the two sides of the Chinese challenge together and into the spotlight of public debate. For China is both an engine of economic globalization and an emerging military power. In symbolic shorthand, it is Wal-Mart with an army.
See also “There’s a New China Syndrome on Wall Street” from the NY Times.