Writing for London’s City A.M., prolific foreign affairs commentator John Hulsman explores the supposed “conspiracy” behind Saudi Arabia’s oil war. John posits that it seems increasingly likely that the US and the Saudis have struck a secret deal to keep pumping and push down the price of oil.
Firstly, he notes that the Saudis are behaving decidedly oddly: the petro-kingdom has done nothing, nor until last week said anything, to counter the plummeting price in oil. An economics-only energy strategy should dictate that the Saudis reduce pumping to stabilise the global oil price, but this has not happened. John believes there are only two possible explanations as to what is going on:
- In the face of the challenge posed by US fracking, Riyadh may be ruthlessly defending its market share, while knobbling its great, emerging American rival in the process.
- Riyadh is hearkening back to the 1980s, when a then-secret deal to drive down the price of oil helped to economically destroy the Soviet Union.
John contends that the second option seems more viable. This is because it is being “openly whispered” that US secretary of state John Kerry met Saudi King Abdullah on 11 September this year, to strike a deal that would economically cripple – if for differing but complementary interests – their mutual enemies Iran and Russia.
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For more information, or to book John Hulsman as a keynote speaker for your conference or event, please contact Alex Hickman at email@example.com or call 0044 (0) 20 7792 8004.
John Hulsman, the leading expert on the politics of the EU, US and Middle East was one of three guests on DW broadcasters’ current affairs talk show ‘Agenda’ last month.
With the subtitle ‘Afghanistan and the Taliban – Is the US sending the wrong signals?’ John was invited to commentate on Washington’s plan to invite the Taliban to the negotiating table as the US prepares to withdraw their military from Afghanistan.
He begins by pointing out that the US’s focus now is on nation-building at home and that Obama is “winding down excesses” in order to leave the country. Talking to the enemy is a strategic move in order to get out of Afghanistan on the best terms possible.
When asked why, back in 2001, the US didn’t talk rather than going into war, John says that many, including himself warned it wouldn’t work. He reminds that since Alexander the Great people have invaded Afghanistan and that each time the country is unified but reverts back to a tribal structure when invaders leave.
The full episode is worth watching not only for John’s expert political opinion but also his input to discussion on the Brazil protests and German prostitution laws.
Click here to watch the episode online.
It has been an important week for China – US relations. Chinese leader, Xi Jingping visited the United States for bilaterial talks on areas such as: North Korea, the south-pacific and international institutions.
Before talks were underway Victor Gao published a thoughtful op-ed on CNN underlining how close the $500 billion in annual trade have brought the two countries. As Chinese growth continues Victor underlined the need for greater trust between these two leaders.
Reactions since have focused on a number of areas:
- The Washington post reports agreement toward banning the greenhouse pollutants, hydroflorocarbons (HFC’s)
- The Guardian suggests talks hit a snag over cyber-security, given the revelation this week of the espionage program ‘PRISM’
- The BBC’s North America Editor, Mark Mardell, comments that developments may have made Obama ” a little less pious, and a bit more realistic”
Coverage widely reports that the talks were constructive and help bring optimism and momentum to diplomatic efforts between the two nations. Check out further comment from Victor Gao below:
CNN – “AmeriChina” looking for trust at the top.
Washington Post – Agreement to wind down production and use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
The Guardian – “US-China summit ends with accord on all but cyber-espionage.”
The BBC – “Obama-Xi summit: Less piety, more realism?”
To find out more about Victor Gao, or to book him as a geopolitical speaker for your conference or event, please contact Leo von Bülow-Quirk at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0044 (0) 20 7792 8000.
Europe and the US are in the same sinking boat according to Gideon Rachman in the Financial Times.
Out of control public finances, and political systems too dysfunctional to fix them, are problems on both sides of the Atlantic.
In the past leaders stressed the differences between ‘flexible labour markets’ in the US and a European social model. However, mounting debt, a weak economy and an increasingly expensive and unreformable welfare state mean the similarities are more striking.
Different stars; common problems
Gideon concludes that while much of Asia has been immune to the financial downturn, its prosperity is predicated upon western health. If the illness worsens, radical cures such as protectionism or capital controls could trigger an economic and political crisis in high-growth markets.
Gideon Rachman is a commentator on foreign affairs. Watch Gideon moderate our Breakfast Club panel discussion on whether India will ever be a superpower.
To find out more about Gideon Rachman, or to book him as a speaker or moderator for your conference or event, please contact Leo von Bülow-Quirk at email@example.com or call 0044 (0) 20 7792 8000.