Thomas Friedman: Oil Prices Killed The Soviet Union

File this one under delusion liberal/progressives dopes. Friedman is arguing that, if Obama wins, he will be able to negotiate with Iran with a bat, because of the low price of oil, leading to

After all, it was the collapse of global oil prices in the early 1990s that brought down the Soviet Union. And Iran today is looking very Soviet to me.

As Vladimir Mau, president of Russia’s Academy of National Economy, pointed out to me, it was the long period of high oil prices followed by sharply lower oil prices that killed the Soviet Union. The spike in oil prices in the 1970s deluded the Kremlin into overextending subsidies at home and invading Afghanistan abroad — and then the collapse in prices in the ‘80s helped bring down that overextended empire.

Last time I ventured into Reality Land©, it was Reagan and his military build up, or threatened build up (think SDI, ie, Star Wars), that killed the Soviet Union, because they could not keep up monetarily, and it allowed States like Poland to have a peaceful revolt. Eh, you know the story. Only Liberals/Progressives refuse to acknowledge what The Gipper did. Heck, some of them credit Carter. Snicker.

Seriously, there is so much wrong with those 2 paragraphs that I do not have time to write it all up, and you do not want to read the 40 paragraphs I could write in response.

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3 Responses to “Thomas Friedman: Oil Prices Killed The Soviet Union”

  1. Lawrence Kramer says:

    And why, exactly, couldn’t the USSR “keep up monetarily”? Could it have had something to do with, say, the price of oil?

  2. Duncan says:

    Oh. Yeah. Oil. Selling a natural resource, as opposed to the creation of wealth inspired by production and industry. That and the inability to compete monetarily with the United States because they were mired in that utopia called communism. I’d be curious to see the U.S. exports of oil versus the U.S.S.R.’s at that same time. When the oil dried up, they couldn’t afford to keep spending at the same pace the United States did because their economic engines were barely moving when compared to the capitalist pigs led by Reagan. Look at Venezuela and Iran. They need that oil themselves to keep up. Especially Venezuela, otherwise Hugo won’t be able to keep building his socialist revolution that seems to be working so well down there.

    Basically, from what I gather from this “article” is that Ronald Reagan, and his leadership and strategy of confronting the Soviets, spending them into the dirt, could not have been coupled with the fact that the entire Soviet economy was built on a house of cards, so that when the first sign of weakness reared its ugly head, exposed the foundation, and the house collapsed. The Soviet Union was doomed to collapse because their economic system did not, and does not, work. Seems like a win-win, to me. You don’t recognize Reagan’s contribution to the fall of the Soviet Union. Ok. But atleast be honest and recognize the complete and abject failure and misery the scientific socialism brings to all you taste of its poisoned fruit.

  3. Here is what I added with the cross post at Stop The ACLU, forgot to add it here, Lawrence, to add on to what Duncan wrote

    Just to add a tiny bit of context, back in the late 70’s, the price of oil spiked to $40 a barrel, then, dropped to $10 a barrel in 1980. The Soviets were selling it, mostly to countries in there sphere of influence, as well as some other non-communist countries. They were also having quite a bit of trouble with their infrastructure in getting the oil out of the ground, for many reasons. The rest of their economy was pretty much garbage, too. So, yes, oil was a factor in their downfall in the late 80’s. They had little income, they had little quality output, they were having to buy massive amounts of grains, mostly from the United States, and their oil revenue was piss poor. Add their spending in Afghanistan.

    That said (written, whatever ;)), without the military build up by Reagan, real and threatened, the Soviets wouldn’t have been forced to drain their coffers, ignoring upgrades to not only their oil production, but, their entire infrastructure. You name it, they were hosed. The “arms race” of the 80’s, from small scale to new nukes, ships, SDI, etc, was not really military, but economic warfare.

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