The prevailing Alt-Media narrative that Washington wants to impose a pro-US puppet regime on Venezuela in order to control all of the country’s oil doesn’t make much sense when considering that it already buys 41% of the Bolivarian Republic’s total exports, meaning that another more nuanced explanation needs to be offered in order to account for this narrative double-think.
The Alt-Media Community is full of commentary about how the US wants to impose a puppet regime on Venezuela in order to control the country’s oil, but that doesn’t make much sense because it already buys 41% of the Bolivarian Republic’s total exports as evidenced by the Energy Information Agency’s executive summary of the energy trade between the two as of 7 January, 2019. The US is Venezuela’s top customer whereas Venezuela is the US’ third-largest supplier of crude oil imports according to the report, so Washington is already getting all that it needs from Caracas as it is. Given this ironic dynamic between the two geopolitical and ideological foes, it could be expected that the US would also obtain access to the resources of the world’s largest oil reserves in the Orinoco Belt one day too, once again contradicting the simplistic narrative that Washington is only waging this Hybrid War for the oil.
Nevertheless, the truth of the matter is that control over Venezuela’s oil is indeed one of the motivations behind this conflict, though not in the way that it’s being portrayed. Alongside ensuring full geopolitical control over the Caribbean Basin and ideologically confronting socialism, the US wants to obtain predominant influence over Venezuela in order to incorporate it into a parallel OPEC-like structure for challenging the joint Russian-Saudi OPEC+ arrangement per the author’s late-2016 prediction about the formation of a “North American-South American Petroleum Exporting Countries” (NASAPEC) cartel. This entity would function as “Fortress America’s” energy component and have the potential to exert powerful long-term pressure on the international oil market at Russia and Saudi Arabia’s expense. When coupled with the US and Qatar’s joint LNG investment plans, it’s clear to see that the US is making a global power play for control over the world’s energy industry, which could very adversely affect Russia.
The multipolar Eurasian Great Power relies on its energy exports to advance its financial and geopolitical interests, though that might be more difficult to do despite its oil and gas partnerships with Saudi Arabia and Iran respectively (which are part of the country’s “balancing” strategy) in the event that the US’ Western Hemispheric-wide NASAPEC and its LNG alliance with Qatar are able to potently compete with it across this domain. The potential risk is that Russia could stand to lose out on a lot of long-term revenue if the US is able to manipulatively keep oil and gas prices low, which could combine with the increased costs associated with the New Arms Race brought about by Washington’s withdrawal from the INF Treaty to put immense pressure on Moscow to “compromise” with its chief geopolitical rival per the stratagem described by the author in his April 2018 piece about “What The US Really Wants From Russia”.
President Putin’s ultimate legacy rests on his ability to deliver on the many socio-economic promises that he made to his compatriots during his re-election campaign last year, though these were all predicated on the assumption that the future oil and LNG markets would remain stable and largely under Russia’s controlling influence, as well as the expectation that the country’s hypersonic missile advancements could deter the onset of a costly New Arms Race. The US’ aforementioned energy and military moves shattered those presumptions and could throw the Russian leader’s carefully crafted plans to improve the overall livelihood of all of his countrymen (especially the majority of the population that lives outside of its most developed cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg) into jeopardy, though right now this worst-case scenario is still far from certain pending the outcome of the Venezuelan Crisis, thus explaining why Russia is so eager to “mediate” between the government and “opposition”.
By Andrew Korybko
Source: Eurasia Future