Khodorkovsky and US
christopher.farrands at NTU.AC.UK
Thu Nov 6 13:07:13 MST 2003
Maybe the real issues come out in the interview the Russian Energy Minister did in which, in the eve of a meeting with OPEC officials, he said that he wanted the price of oil to 'stabilize' at $20-25 a barrel. Now this is hardly in what I would think of as Russia's interests, since it reduces Russias income from its most important source of foreign exchange. But it does serve to undercut OPEC oil producers, and it would reduce the current price of oil too.
Now the US seemed to want to go to war in Iraq to reduce the price of oil from $32 a barrel to $22 -roughly. Oil may not have been the only motive, but it was at least a big one. But they didn't get it. Predictably, oil prices only fell briefly when the invasion was starting -then they rose again.And now the Iraqi resistance is screwing the American attempts to create a new utopia on the Tigris coutresy of the Iraqi citizens stolen assets, using oil income to fund sharegolders in Bechtel and other firms (on whose boards US officials hope to sit when they retire, of course), because the resistance is creating a security climate in which even Bechtel might haver at having to commit themselves. So how else to get up and get on? Well, there is always George Dubya's old friend Vlad. So maybe -just maybe -there is a connection between oil politics in Russia and in Iraq. Or, alternatively, what is obvious is not always an illusion.
For the Russians to seek an oil price of $25 a barrel or less is going to cost them a lot. But it does serve the interests of the US -even as it undermines Middle East and especially Saudi oil producers, weakens the position of Venezuelan oil production (at a time when Bush and co are supporting the Venezuelan middle class against what is at least a more populist leadership if hardly a radical one), and satisfies US consumers and anyone else who might want to vote Bush out of office if the price of gas is too high in the light of the US managed destruction of the Iraqi oil industry (while pretending to rebuild it).
And little Vlad? Well he gets a lot. Having in effect re-nationalised by force the largest russian oil company on the eve of its merger with US firms, he can now sell it off again. This time for quite a lot of money, and for promises of investment flow in the future. And do we believe that he is going to be poorer as a result of his little intervention in Russian oil? Do monkeys fuck goldfish! Putin does not need orders from Bush -he knows what Bush wants, and is doing it. As we would expect of a country that has moved "progressively" from a kind of core position to the semi-periphery firmly to the periphery. If I am wrong, the price of oil will rise, Russian citizens will benefit from their income, and there will be no evidence that senior oil executives have been extensively tortured in order to provide evidence to convict each other. Khodorkovsky is expendable, and will be expended. He is not the friend of the west -or if he thought he was, he is "currently" learning a new lesson, along with how several hundred volts feels. It is the corporate accumulation in the company that is the treasure, the means of accumulation, not the individual. And I am sure that, whatever US officials say about it, they feel very happy indeed. They get their preferred oil price, a weakened Arab oil market, better electoral prospects, and a more obviously supine Russia. The Russians (i.e. the national security elite that actually rules) get rich(er); but they also get that free hand in Chechnya and the opportunity to scare people in business into working with them. Which is not to say that economics is subservient to politics, but that Russian business and politics are subservient to US interests: no news in that, is there?
From: Chris Brady [mailto:cdbrady at sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Thu 06/11/2003 18:40
To: marxism at lists.panix.com
Subject: Re: Khodorkovsky and US
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