Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Why Israel Cannot Ignore the World Any Longer – Forward.com

How the drop in oil prices plays out vis a vis Israel comes late in thearticle, so click through and read it. - gwc
Why Israel Cannot Ignore the World Any Longer – Forward.com
by J.J. Goldberg
"It was in April 1955, at Israel’s seventh independence day celebration, that founding prime minister David Ben-Gurion issued perhaps his most famous dictum: The Jewish state’s future, he said, depended “not on what the goyim say” — that is, the nations of the world — “but on what the Jews do.” If that was ever true — and Ben-Gurion was far too canny to believe his own rhetoric — it certainly hasn’t held up.
In today’s interconnected world there are no independent players. Nations need each other for markets, credit, landing rights, raw materials, spare parts and countless other exchanges. They’re vulnerable to each others’ germs, material shortages, migratory pressures and cyber-punks. A bad wheat crop in Russia can spark a revolution in Tunisia and topple a regime in Egypt. Heading into 2015, Israel and the Jewish communities around the world will be buffeted by forces that are beyond their control and essentially have nothing to do with them — yet will shape their destiny in unique and profound ways. The biggest of these forces is the price of oil.
 Over the past six months the price of crude oil has undergone one of its most traumatic adjustments in decades. From $114 per barrel last June, it’s fallen nearly in half to $59 per barrel in mid-December. It’s given a huge lift to the American economy, while sending the Russian ruble into a tailspin. It’s also wreaked havoc on the Iranian economy, which was already reeling from sanctions. ***The basic cause is global oversupply. *** Normally, oversupply and falling prices are a cue for OPEC to cut production. But Saudi Arabia, which dominates OPEC as the world’s largest producer, has kept the taps open and let the price keep dropping. Experts say that’ s because the Saudis are alarmed at their declining share of the American market. They’re hoping a year or so of rock-bottom prices will drive some American shale producers out of business. Besides, cutting production has backfired on them in the past, reducing market share that they never regained.
 And yet, the damage to Russia and Iran has been so dramatic that many observers around the world — including some senior politicians and respected pundits — are convinced the Saudis are colluding with Washington to drive the price down, in order to bring Russia and Iran to their knees. Both are under sanctions already, Russia because of its Ukraine mischief, Iran because of its nuclear project.
Add to that the collusion of Russia and Iran in keeping the murderous Assad regime afloat in Syria, and Washington and Riyadh have every reason to want to cripple the two rogues by jamming their oil revenues. It almost doesn’t matter that it’s not true.
 The biggest winner from the oil glut is President Obama. Between the humming U.S. economy, the Russian collapse and signs of new Iranian flexibility on the nuclear front, the president enters 2015 with more political feathers in his cap than he’s had in months, if not years."

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