The Soviet Union & International Oil Politics

The Soviet Union & International Oil Politics

The Soviet Union & International Oil Politics

The Soviet Union & International Oil Politics

Excerpt

The Arab oil embargo of 1973-74 and the world "energy crisis" have helped focus attention on the strategic importance of oil in international political relations. The oil-exporting states now have a powerful political weapon at their disposal while the oil-importing states have come to recognize that plans for ensuring a stable oil supply must be given a high priority when they formulate their foreign policy.

Previous studies of oil politics have stressed the roles of the United States and Britain and the activities of the largest Western oil companies, the so-called Seven Sisters. Recently, as a consequence of the rising power of oil exporters, the emphasis has been on the confrontation between the members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), on the one hand, and Western Europe, the United States, and Japan on the other. Curiously, the role of the Soviet Union in international oil politics has been almost completely neglected, although this state is the world's largest producer of crude oil, a major exporter, and is also importing a growing quantity of oil. There appears to be close interaction between the oil trade and the implementation of Soviet foreign policy.

The Soviet Union has often resorted to the use of oil as an instrument of political pressure against other states, such as Yugoslavia, China, Ghana, and Finland, and it has additionally sought to limit Western power by encouraging the nationalization of Western oil properties in the Third World. The Soviets verbally supported the Arab embargoes of 1967 and 1973-74 and, with an eye on the containment of China, they have invited Japan and the United States to participate in the oil development of Western . . .

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