In his quest for a world free of "American hegemony" Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s president, has been touring eastern Europe and the Middle East, signing energy deals with Russia (including an agreement for Venezuela's first nuclear power plant), visiting Iran’s capital for the ninth time and offering to supply Belarus with oil for the "next 200 years".
From dining room tables in politically polarized Venezuela, to the halls of power in Washington, Beijing and Moscow, average people and global elites alike, are now discussing the antics of a man who sees himself as the harbinger of "21st century socialism".
With the world’s sixth largest oil reserves, according to the US Central Intelligence Agency, petroleum accounts for about 80 percent of Venezuela’s total export revenues and contributes around half of the central government’s income. So it isn’t surprising that Chavez is visiting other petroleum potentiates like Iran, Libya and Russia.
When meeting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, Chavez said the two countries were "united to establish a new world order based on humanity and justice".
At first glance, the warm relationship between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Venezuela, led by Chavez who calls himself a "Christian socialist", may seem strange.
However, Kozloff says "geopolitics trumps religion" because the current "political winds in Iran and Venezuela coincide" and both oil producers have similar interests in OPEC, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.