Grab a chair, some drinks and snacks and get ready for the show.

The United States slapped sanctions on Venezuela’s state oil giant PVDSA for trading with Iran, a move that could worsen Washington’s already sour relations with Caracas. Now we’re waiting for President Hugo Chavez to respond.

Expect a lot of noise, in typical Chavez fashion. In the warm-up act, one ally called the sanctions “ridiculous” and accused the United States of wanting to “once again…turn into the global policeman.”

Chavez himself might make some threats against his biggest foe, including an old one about cutting off oil supplies to the United States. He’s done it before — in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010, and maybe more times than we can count.

But it never comes to anything. The fact that 45 percent of Venezuela’s oil goes to the United States might explain why. With that kind of dependence, Venezuela is unlikely to stop the shipments, though there may be some tit-for-tat retaliation. The United States and Venezuela need each other, no matter what the Presidente says and no matter how long he talks.

Here are our top stories from Washington…

US sanctions Venezuela’s oil giant for Iran trade
The United States slapped sanctions on Venezuela’s state oil giant PDVSA in its latest effort to disrupt Iran’s fuel supplies, a move that may provoke a fierce response from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The sanctions would bar PDVSA from access to U.S. government contracts and import/export financing. But their impact is likely to be modest, as they do not affect the company’s sale of oil to the United States and other markets.