Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Talk about a Resource Curse

Canada recently was called a petro-state.  I took some umbrage at that, arguing that this stretches the concept quite a bit given that Canada has an oil sector but the economy is not the oil sector.  For a bit of comparison, check out this piece.  It turns out that Saudi Arabia is a one-commodity country, a banana republic if you will, and with the rise of the US's shale oil (here's the upside of fracking), Saudi Arabia will no longer be able to dictate oil prices.

I think most of us can relish just a bit of schadenfreude at the suffering of the Saudi royal family.  The Saudi record for the past forty years or so has been mixed--supporting an ideology that justifies terrorism but also being more moderate in oil prices and in policies than some of the neighbors. So perhaps it is immature to say "woot!" if the Saudis get a bit marginalized.

All I do know is that if we can reduce the relevance of the Mideast in world politics, that would be a huge victory for not just the US but pretty much everyone, even many of the folks in the Mideast who have suffered from too much American attention.

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