Monday :: Jul 10, 2006

Russians Support Putin On Energy Nationalization


by Steve

Image courtesy of WorldPublicOpinion.org

This is the kind of story that gives Cheney heartburn. You’ll recall that Shooter saw fit to take a shot at Pooty-Poot and his anti-democratic activities of late on a recent overseas trip. Ostensibly, Cheney was criticizing Putin for clamping down on the media and political freedoms, but this was a smokescreen. In truth Shooter was most concerned with Putin’s re-nationalization of Russia’s oil and gas reserves. In response, the Kremlin has accused the White House of bringing back a Cold War and has since made things difficult for UN action on both Iran and North Korea.

It now turns out that despite Shooter’s lecturing, the Russian people, by large majorities, support Putin’s nationalization of the oil and gas industry, correctly seeing that criminals and foreign oil companies were likely to plunder Russia’s reserves and take the money and run, leaving Russians with nothing. As a result, Cheney will not be getting his hand on Russian reserves anytime soon, and China and Russia will be working together without the West to serve each other’s needs: China will get Russia’s oil and gas and pay for it through their trade surplus with us. Bush and Cheney’s trade policies and deficit financing are bankrolling the strengthening of both China and Russia, and may leave Russian supplies out of our reach as well.

The naked grab for oil by this White House combined with dwindling new sources and supplies has prodded more and more governments to look at protecting their reserves and the profits from those reserves from Big Oil. A wave of resource nationalization across the globe would be a natural counterpoint to the free market plunder and rape of resource-rich countries by Big Oil, and represent a large nightmare to those companies. Whether we are talking about Hugo Chavez, Vladimir Putin, or Bolivia’s Evo Morales, after decades of seeing international energy companies topple governments and force the wholesale sell-off of national assets through IMF and World Bank “reforms”, more and more countries now see that they may have the leverage to dictate their own futures as a result of the higher prices that the Bush energy policy has created.

As we noted awhile back, Newsweek’s Michael Hirsh predicted “energy wars” would be in our future, as more and more of the world’s energy reserves come under state control and with it, the inefficiencies that go with that. But after years of seeing what Washington and free market capitalism have enabled Big Oil to do around the globe, it was only a matter of time before circumstances changed to the benefit of those same countries and allowed them to turn the tables on us. And as Hirsh notes, one real question is how long it will be before Iraq thinks about doing the same thing.

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