PW Español




PW Live



Very usefull links



PW
Bookstore





Institutional
links


OPEC







PW
Business Partners

 


IRAQ OIL THE FORUM

 


Blogspots

The Global Barrel

Tiempo Cultural

Gustavo Coronel

Iran Watch.org

Le Blog des
Energies Nouvelles

News Links

AP

AFP

Aljazeera

Dow Jones

Reuters


Bloomberg

Views and News
from Norway

 

 

 


Editorial/Opinion

 

John Lloyd: Why $40 oil is killing Iraq,
Venezuela and others, but not Russia

Reuters/RIA Novost/Kremlim/Alexei Druzhinin

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with journalists after submerging into the waters of the Black Sea inside a research bathyscaphe in Sevastopol, Crimea, August 18, 2015.

 

It's not the economy, stupid. At least it isn't where hearts are warmed by the fiercer flame of nationalism, rather than rising living standards.

Oil prices as low as $40 a barrel are separating the oil haves from the oil have-nots. The oil producers happily rode a wave of high oil prices for years, buying popularity with increased state spending while excusing themselves from the hard pounding of legitimate economic reform. The oil-buyers — like India and Egypt — now enjoy prices as low as a third of those they paid as recently as two years ago and can cut fuel subsidies, saving spending or redirecting it to broader social uses.

As a result, most of the oil-producers are now in a troubling position.  Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro faces parliamentary elections in December with falling popularity and a poll showing Venezuelans will vote for the opposition rather than his Socialist Party by a factor of two to one. Maduro lacks the charismatic populism of his predecessor, Hugo Chavez — a popularity based on the former president's insistence that the high oil revenues were benefitting the poor (they did) and making the nation great, while sticking it to the Americans.

In Canada, now a major oil producer from Alberta's tar sands, polls are jumping about nervously, as Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper seemed up in April , then down in July. Harper has been in power since 2006, so “regime fatigue” is judged to be a large factor in the public's ambivalence toward him. The fall in the price of the commodity that accounts for a quarter of the country's export revenue and nearly 10 percent of its GDP is not his fault — but it's happened on his watch. This will only aggravate the fatigue. Elections are in October; a credible critique of Harper's economic policy at a time of falling revenues could tip it for the opposition.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari doesn't have to face an election soon — he just won one. But like other leaders from oil-producing nations, he does have to cope with a price slump in the commodity, which comprises 80 percent of the government's revenue. It has meant civil servants in most states are owed months of pay; capital projects have been frozen; and an already restive and divided country shows more signs of revolt.

The turmoil is felt by countries throughout the Middle East — by those desperately reliant on oil revenue (Iraq, Syria and Libya) and those with vast riches (Saudi Arabia).

And yet the Russian Federation, and Scotland buck this trend. Their leaders are the Teflon Kids of the oil slump: Hit by sliding prices but not public scorn.

The ruling party in the state's's regional parliament, the Scottish National Party, presented an economic program to the Scottish people before last year's independence referendum (independence was voted down 55-45) promising higher social, infrastructural and education  spending.  And, perhaps most critically, better infrastructure based on an oil price above (as it had been) $100 a barrel. This should have doomed them in today's court of public opinion, in a landscape dominated by cheap oil.

Yet the falling price hasn't affected the result of either the Scottish or the UK parliamentary elections one whit. An independent Scotland would now be in an economic crisis. But the fall in the oil price has had less effect on the economy of the UK as a whole than the benefits from cheap oil — a fact that should make Scots relieved they live in the larger state. Yet since the election, and as the price has gone down further, the popularity of the SNP and its leader Nicola Sturgeon has gone up .

A similar phenomenon has occurred in Russia. Rising prices, falling employment, stagnant or reduced wages have had one political result above all others: an outpouring of support, amounting to veneration or even love , for President Vladimir Putin.

What unites Sturgeon and Putin? What makes them exempt from public scorn as oil prices slip and slide? They are ardent nationalists. Neither loses an opportunity to glorify their country.

Putin, in a visit to the Baltic fleet in the port of Baltiysk , depicted his country as again facing hostility from the West, again drawing on its own human reserves to repel the foreigners. (It is worth noting that Sturgeon's predecessor in the SNP, Alex Salmond, is an admirer of “certain aspects” of the Russian president)

Sturgeon is less emphatic than Putin. But her party's celebration last year, through a reenactment of the 1314 victory of a Scots army over an English one in the Battle of Bannockburn, shows that the SNP's heart remains deeply anti-English. It keeps alive the popular myths and heroes of centuries' old triumphs. During the referendum campaign, the then Labor leader Ed Miliband was forced to abandon speeches and walkabouts in Edinburgh, and the Scots Labor leader Jim Murphy was abused into silence in Glasgow . The SNP deplored those actions; but once released and encouraged, nationalism takes increasingly aggressive forms.

Putin and Sturgeon's popularity is propelled by a force more powerful — at least to date — than the desire for better living standards. Especially in Russia, there is a pride in displaying courage and patriotism in the face of deprivation and aggression, seen as coming largely from the United States. In Scotland, the propaganda is more muted and the English enemy less clearly delineated, but nationalism needs a foe, and the English are it.

There is no question of which nationalism is more dangerous. An independent Scotland would reduce the UK's authority, further weaken the EU and greatly damage the state itself. Russian nationalism on the other hand is a danger, perhaps a disaster, on a global scale, not least because its political success spawns imitators. For example, China, heading into harder times and taking the world with it, has a leader keen on promoting the “Chinese dream” — a stronger, more nationalistically inclined China.

Nationalism hasn't gone out with the tide: it's coming in waves.


 

John Lloyd co-founded the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford, where he is Senior Research Fellow. Lloyd has written several books, including "What the Media Are Doing to Our Politics" (2004). He is also a contributing editor at FT and the founder of FT Magazine. Petroleumworld reprint this article in the interest of our readers.

This commentary was published by Reuters: Analysis & Opinion: The Great Debate, on Aug. 28, 2015. Petroleumworld reprint this article in the interest of our readers.

All comments posted and published on Petroleumworld, do not reflect either for or against the opinion expressed in the comment as an endorsement of Petroleumworld. All comments expressed are private comments and do not necessary reflect the view of this website. All comments are posted and published without liability to Petroleumworld.

Use Notice:This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of issues of environmental and humanitarian significance. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.

All works published by Petroleumworld are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.Petroleumworld has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Petroleumworld endorsed or sponsored by theoriginator.

Petroleumworld encourages persons to reproduce, reprint, or broadcast Petroleumworld articles provided that any such reproduction identify the original source, http://www.petroleumworld.com or else and it is done within the fair use as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Internet web links to http://www.petroleumworld.com are appreciated

Copyright© 1999-2009 Petroleumworld or respective author or news agency. All rights reserved.

We welcome the use of Petroleumworld™ stories by anyone provided it mentions Petroleumworld.com as the source. Other stories you have to get authorization by its authors.Internet web links to http://www.petroleumworld.com are appreciated

Petroleumworld welcomes your feedback and comments,
share your thoughts on this article, your feed. back is important to us!

Petroleumworld News 08/31/2015

 

We invite all our readers to share with us
their views and comments about this article.
Follow us in : twitter / Facebook
Send this story to a friend Write to editor@petroleumworld.comBy using this link, you agree to allow PW
to publish your comments on our letters page.

Any question or suggestions,
please write to: editor@petroleumworld.com

Best Viewed with IE 5.01+ Windows NT 4.0, '95,
'98,ME,XP, Vista, Windows 7,8 +/ 800x600 pixels





February, 2016
Cartagena, Colombia

TOP

Editor & Publisher:Elio Ohep F./Contact Email: editor@petroleumworld.com

Contact:
editor@petroleumworld.com/ phone: Office (58 212) 635 7252,
or Cel (58 412) 996 3730 / (58 414) 276 3041 / (58  412) 952 5301


CopyRight © 1999-2010, Elio Ohep F.- All Rights Reserved. Legal Information

- CCS Office Tele
phone/Teléfonos Oficina: (58 212) 635 7252

PW in Top 100 Energy Sites


Technorati Profile


CopyRight © 1999-2010, Elio Ohep F. - All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, posted online, rewritten or redistributed by any type of means, except with permission of the author/s

The information in this web site is proprietary and is protected under United States and International Copyright and Trademark laws. No part of this web site may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means whatsoever, except with permission of the author/s..

Petroleumworld encourages persons to reproduce, reprint, or broadcast Petroleumworld articles provided that any such reproduction identify the original source, http://www.petroleumworld.com or else and it is done within the fair use as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond
'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
Any use of this site or its material, in any form, without the express prior written consent of the author, is prohibited by law and is subject to legal action. Legal Information

Top 100+

Technorati Profile
Fair use notice of copyrighted material:

This site is a public free site and it contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner.We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of business, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have chosen to view the included information for research, information, and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from Petroleumworld or the copyright owner of the material.