With all due respect to what Senator Chuck Schumer is about to tell Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, it is in fact a good thing for the U.S. that China’s state oil company (CNOOC) wants to bid for the Canadian oil company Nexen.It’s in America’s interest for China to buy into the North American oil boom. The more China is locked into long-term dependence on sources of energy in the Western hemisphere (the U.S., Canada, and Venezuela), the less likely war between the U.S. and China becomes. The Chinese, after all, wouldn’t be so eager to declare war on their oil supply—especially when the U.S. Navy could also interdict Beijing’s energy supplies from the Middle East.That’s not to say that this is a threat America wants to use, but the more China’s economy is locked into the global system, the more imperative it becomes for China to seek its goals peacefully. Anything that increases Beijing’s interest in taking up a role in a peaceful, stable world order is worth its weight in gold (or crude, perhaps?) to America. Thus our goal should be to help make transactions like this work.Schumer’s complaint about the CNOOC deal, however, also brings up another point: the question of unfair treatment by China of U.S. and other foreign investors. This is a real problem and needs to be addressed. We should use moments like this, when the U.S. government has the ability to stand in the way of something that matters to the people who matter in China, in order to work toward our goals—as long as we keep in mind that one of our goals is to reach better agreements, not to block any agreements from happening. We need a clear understanding of our bottom line in this case, as well as some hard work to get to “yes.”Aside from U.S.-China issues, the CNOOC-Nexen deal raises some issues about our neighbor to the north. The U.S. needs to do a much better job of working with Canada on energy questions. Canada’s energy wealth is a huge asset for Canada, and developing a common approach to North American energy questions is important to the United States. Grandstanding and posturing on issues like this one, which is mostly about Canadian policy and economic interests (not to mention the Keystone pipeline stupidity), is a bad idea. The U.S. needs to put a premium on building a constructive and positive relationship with Canada as the consequences of the energy revolution unfold. There needs to be a deep strategic dialog of equals on the future of the North American energy market, and Canadians need to feel that Washington understands and respects their interests.A relationship of mutual confidence and trust between the two countries will bring great benefits in the decades to come; this is the time to lay the foundations for that relationship.