Saturday, May 20, 2006

Oil Diplomacy

Although the Bush administration claims to be engaged in a global war on terrorism and a campaign to extend U.S.-style democracy, it is more than apparent that Washington is in fact pursuing a worldwide strategy driven by the geopolitics of oil—and not just in regard to Libya and Venezuela. Iran and Iraq, of course, come to mind. More broadly, in recent weeks President Bush played obsequious host to President Ilham Aliev of oil-rich Azerbaijan. Bush warmly embraced Aliev, a less-than-democratic leader whose energy resources and strategic position make him an important player both in pipeline politics and in regard to U.S. plans for regime change in Iran. One-fourth of Iran’s population is comprised of Azeris. Then Vice President Cheney trundled into oil-rich and autocratic Kazakhstan last week, on a jaunt during which he warned Russia against using "oil and gas [as] tools of intimidation and blackmail."


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