October 12, 2005


Oil-rich countries tap into new political power.

Challenges are coming from an increasingly assertive Venezuela and Iran and a Russia no longer dependent on Western handouts. "Oil is the new currency of foreign policy," says Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar, R-Ind. Iran and Venezuela are "not only less cooperative but almost gleeful that they are able to make trouble for us," Lugar says. "These are huge changes that have not been comprehended by most of the U.S. public." [...]
The article focuses on three countries, Venezuela, Iran, and Russia, but there's nothing really of note re: Iran
Lugar has asked the Government Accountability Office to study how the USA
could cope without oil from Venezuela, whose president, Hugo Chavez, has become a kind of junior Fidel Castro with oil.

Chavez has been an irritant to the United States since he was elected [Elected in one of those Jimmy Carter approved kinda elections. --ed.] in 1998. Now he has more power to "use oil as a political tool," says Michael Shifter, vice president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a think tank in Washington.

Russia... Russia provides more than 40% of European oil and gas and has been using its clout to punish the Baltic states and Ukraine for their pro-Western policies. It is bypassing them - and depriving them of transit fees - to build a gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea to Germany, Europe's largest consumer of Russian natural gas. [...]

Germany has been particularly deferential to Russia and joined with Moscow in opposing the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

As Russia becomes richer, U.S. efforts to influence Russia to support tough measures to thwart the development of nuclear weapons by Iran and North Korea are undercut.

And Russia has been challenging U.S. efforts to promote democracy in Central Asia, backing Uzbekistan despite a crackdown on dissidents there earlier this year.

Yea, they're a bunch of tools, alright.

Posted by Kyer at October 12, 2005 12:38 PM | TrackBack