Energy, Economics, and Foreign Policy in the Soviet Union

By Ed A. Hewett | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE
Energy and Foreign Policy

With the Soviets becoming an energy-importing nation in the next few years, the worry is that they would move down through Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan and try to seize the oil fields.

Caspar W. Weinberger1

ANYONE who thought carefully about the predictions in the April 1977 CIA reports would quickly realize that the implied choices Soviet leaders would face in the early 1980s would be both unpleasant and of great consequence for the cohesion of the empire. The rapid switch from net exporter to net importer of oil would not only eliminate the Soviet Union's main source of hard-currency earnings, but also create new demands for hard-currency purchases of oil necessary to sustain domestic oil use and therefore economic activity. It would also mean that either Soviet leaders would rapidly have to restructure economic relations with Eastern Europe and Cuba--eliminating or substantially reducing subsidized trade in transferable rubles--or they would have to find even more hard currency to purchase oil for resale at a loss to Eastern Europe and Cuba.

It is not difficult to understand the fear of those who accepted the CIA predictions that the Soviet Union might choose to use its military might to acquire through force the oil that the economy could not otherwise

____________________
1
Quoted in Richard Halloran, "Weinberger Says Outlay Is Needed," New York Times, February 8, 1982.

-193-

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Energy, Economics, and Foreign Policy in the Soviet Union
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Contents ix
  • Tables x
  • ABBREVIATIONS OF FREQUENTLY CITED PERIODICALS xii
  • Chapter One - Overview 1
  • Chapter Two - Soviet Energy Supplies 24
  • Chapter Three - Soviet Energy Consumption in World Perspective 100
  • Chapter Four - the Energy Balance 144
  • Chapter Five - Energy and Foreign Policy 193
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