NY Times Changes Tune on Oil Price Drop Motive

Those relying on the notoriously servile NY Times are now learning, several weeks late, that the recent drop in oil prices is likely politically motivated.

Mike Whitney reports (“The Fallujah Option for East Ukraine”):

Until this week, the mainstream media dismissed the idea that the Saudis were deliberately pushing down oil prices to hurt Russia. They said the Saudis were merely trying to retain “market share” by maintaining current production levels and letting prices fall naturally. But it was all bunkum as the New York Times finally admitted on Tuesday in an article titled: “Saudi Oil Is Seen as Lever to Pry Russian Support From Syria’s Assad”. Here’s a clip from the article:

“Saudi Arabia has been trying to pressure President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to abandon his support for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, using its dominance of the global oil markets at a time when the Russian government is reeling from the effects of plummeting oil prices…

Saudi officials say — and they have told the United States — that they think they have some leverage over Mr. Putin because of their ability to reduce the supply of oil and possibly drive up prices….Any weakening of Russian support for Mr. Assad could be one of the first signs that the recent tumult in the oil market is having an impact on global statecraft…..

Saudi Arabia’s leverage depends on how seriously Moscow views its declining oil revenue. “If they are hurting so bad that they need the oil deal right away, the Saudis are in a good position to make them pay a geopolitical price as well,” said F. Gregory Gause III, a Middle East specialist at Texas A&M’s Bush School of Government and Public Service (“Saudi Oil Is Seen as Lever to Pry Russian Support From Syria’s Assad“, New York Times)

The Saudis “think they have some leverage over Mr. Putin because of their ability” to manipulate prices?

That says it all, doesn’t it?

What’s interesting about this article is the way it conflicts with previous pieces in the Times. For example, just two weeks ago, in an article titled “Who Will Rule the Oil Market?”  the author failed to see any political motive behind the Saudi’s action.  According to the narrative, the Saudis were just afraid that “they would lose market share permanently” if they cut production and kept prices high. Now the Times has done a 180 and joined the so called conspiracy nuts who said that prices were manipulated for political reasons.  In fact, the  sudden price plunge had nothing to do with deflationary pressures, supply-demand dynamics, or any other mumbo-jumbo market forces. It was 100 percent politics.

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  • kimyo

    maybe it is political. i think the stoneleigh/tverberg explanation of see-sawing oil prices is a better fit though.

    however, let’s say it is indeed a plan from on high. the intended result seems much more like an engineered collapse of the petro dollar rather than any sort of real attempt to quash putin. feels much more like a ‘maybe the smartest thing to do is pull it’ type of deal.

    ps: if one must describe the nyt in 2 words or less, ‘notoriously servile’ is particularly apt.

    pps: all of the climate models on which we rely to set public policy are based on year by year, ever-increasing consumption of fossil fuel. it is looking more and more as if this will not be the case. as an example, see here: U.S. Department of Energy: Our forecasts aren’t really forecasts (or are they?)
    ppps: excellent posts lately, i couldn’t watch that ‘sweatshop’ series after the first few minutes, it was just too heartbreaking.

  • freewheelinfranklin543

    Maybe? Give me a break. They did this in the late 1980’s to bring down the old Soviet Union. This time they have driven most of the planet to start a new banking and monetary system. The US oil industry is going down along with our economy. DC and the Saudis have destroyed themselves!

  • unheilig

    The NY Times is a hotbed of lying scumbaggery. Witness the once-reliable Roger Cohen’s ludicrous hissy fit over the Ukraine in yesterday’s opinion section.