One can only imagine how much the Kremlin enjoyed a print of a Radio Free Liberty/Radio Free Europe article headed “Oil War And Peace: A Russian-Saudi Standoff Is Over — At What Cost To The Kremlin?”
Yet, nobody in the business of geopolitics knows RFE/RL stories are a two-way mirror that reflects the truth from the biggest lie while offering an unexpected view of the people behind America’s propaganda circus. After all, who in the world believes Vladimir Putin ever made a bad deal for Russian business expansion? If the US State Department says Russia lost out or made a mistake, you can bet your last dollar, euro, or ruble Putin just outwitted someone at the top. And in the case of the recent oil cutback, a US president begged for, the Russian leader came out in the catbird seat once again. The real story comes at the end of the propaganda piece by RFE/RL:
“The motives behind Russia’s move are murky, though, and may have been multiple. Some analysts said Moscow was out to punish the US shale-oil industry, while others said that Russia’s coordination with OPEC+ may have been undermined by different aims more broadly, beyond energy markets.”
So, the propaganda channel starts out “knowing” that Vladimir Putin knuckled under to the Saudis. Then, to summarize their all-knowing genius, they revert to the truth. Trump was desperate since the coronavirus pandemic had all but wiped out oil demand in America. It’s spring and Europe does not need US LNG shipments, almost every country has more than enough gas to last. Economies are tumbling because most are based on energy and other unsustainable output, and Putin has insulated Russia from such economic squeezes. The reality of Vladimir Putin’s strategy, as always, is in the simple pragmatic approach he takes to problems. A story from News Click summarizes:
“A perfect deal is where all protagonists get something out of it. All oil-producing countries stand to gain if oil price rebounds. In bare-bones, the OPEC+ group led by Saudi Arabia and Russia finalized in a nail-biting photo finish on Sunday an agreement to steeply cut oil production by a combined 9.7 million barrels per day to rebalance the supply and demand in the world market and nudge the prices to go up.”
This new deal brings Mr. Putin’s country an extra of 70-80 million dollars in revenues per day. The Saudi’s get to maintain their sandcastle kingdom a while longer on the boosted price of their last feasible reserves. Trump gets to stave off a couple of foreclosures and wins some time before the joblessness finally does in his re-election campaign. Some American elites protect a few of their billions. But ultimately, only Russia wins.
The game is nothing like the propagandists working in Washington say it is. American shale was over even before it started. Some billionaires got some profits, but it was never meant to last. Russia has always held all the cards, and now Putin has another easily won feather in his energy-policy crown. The Saudis don’t even matter in the long game. Trump is only concerned with reelection and positioning for his elite constituents. Russia continues to gain influence in the world, and without the Kremlin even having to try hard. In a way, the Putin legacy is being built on the thousands of tons of world newspaper reports on his alleged failures. Think about that for a moment. How powerful is your message, when steamship loads of newspapers bear your image? No leader in the history of the world has had so much leveled against him.
Finally, news French President Emmanuel Macron wants to organize a world truce with Putin during the coronavirus pandemic, signals the new reality of Putin’s recent moves. Trump and his America he was supposed to make great again, has turned its back on the rest of the world. Even some of the United States now feel abandoned and pressured by an administration that sounds more like a dictatorship than a democratic executive branch. Simultaneously, the Kremlin is offering olive branches to Washington daily, telling of a Russia eager to be a team player in the crisis to come.
Now, you tell me. What has a Putin move ever cost a Russian citizen? Who is winning for Russia, after all? Maybe the answer is not obvious to everyone on Earth, by now.
Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, he’s an author of the recent bestseller “Putin’s Praetorians” and other books. He writes exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”