11 Responses

  1. Do you seriously suggest that the international oil trade is such a simple zero-sum game?

    Even if China and India continue to buy Iranian oil, when they know that they are the only prospective buyers they can of course negotiate much lower prices.

    And if Iran was not hit by the sanctions, why do they complain about them, call them “an act of war” and propose stopping all oil exports to the West themselves?

    • Oh, of course “oil, the more-or-less-fungible commodity” is a lot more complicated than a zero-sum game and a little chart, no matter how evocative. I really do wonder what-all would happen to pricing, and “international stability” (sic) in the various corners of that Bazaar, if the Coalition of the “Democratic” Zombies of the West (sic) did get their corporate owners to not buy Iranian petroleum. Directly. For a while.

      As to what constitutes an act of war, or maybe casus desperare, maybe, with all the profitable, oversold weapons from all the post-national manufacturers via all the pseudo-nationalisitic military-political mashups that are setting out there on hair triggers and trip-wires, and all that huge, clumsy, inflexible apparatus of power projection overhanging all, who knows whether there’s an Archduke riding on down to an assassination? For us movie buffs, we can remember that WOPR found that the only way to win was not to play the game. link to en.wikipedia.org

      Of course, that all depends on how you define “victory.” Raytheon got a nice contract to re-fill all the holes in the “US” cruise missile inventory after all those often errant past-shelf-date units got launched into Libya… “I love the smell of napalm, and megabucks, in the morning… it smells like VICTORY.”

    • by your reasoning, all the non iranian oil would become more expensive and we would then have a two tier oil market with middle-man brokering between the two. Are you going to start doing spectroscopic examinations to determine the origin of the oil.

      The concept is laughable

      • The Iranians have already been forced to accept a lower price for long-term contracts with the Chinese. Whether the concept of a two tier oil market is laughable or not is somewhat irrelevant given that one already exists.

  2. It is not the oil embargo that is failing, it is the idea that US and Europe still believe they are in colonial time were they can dictate to their subjects that is failing.

    The problem is that saying oil embargo is failing you are falling in a trap to start the war as then the neocons promise that we will succeed.. On the other hand, if you realize that unlike colonial time neither the military power nor the divide and conquer strategies is enough, then you start looking for lasting answer. For anything else you try, even when you are appear to succeed, the unintended consequences eventually make matter worst.

  3. If I were Japan, India, China, So Korea, and Turkey, I would put my collective foot down. I would get all my petroleum-consuming industries to collectively boycott the US and Israel and demand that they stop this Iranophobic stupidity.

    Empires often meet their end by outsiders getting fed up with them. I wish that would happen to the US (and it’s spoilt-brat vassal Israel) so that Americans could get on with the crucial work of saving their democratic republic, which is currently disintegrating before the eyes of the world.

  4. “And if Iran was not hit by the sanctions, why do they complain about them..”

    Really, Andreas? You think this is a rational question?

  5. Huh? This discussion implies that the intent of the sanctions was to have some real impact on Iran. I thought that, at least in US domestic politics, the intent was to “take a stand” – to get redder in the face and to waive ones arms around in the air more dramatically than one’s political opponents. Or more specifically, it was a move by the right-wing to corner their opponent, President Obama, into doing something dramatic – anything.

    (Then again, considering that the right-wing in the US wants the economy to be doing as poorly as possible at the time of the elections in 2012, maybe they did think that the sanctions would have an effect on Iranian exports, which would necessarily drive up oil prices, which would necessarily harm the recovery in the US, which would improve their odds at the polls. But the right-wing in the US “don’t seem to be raaal good wit all that there internationalizin’ and stratergerferatin’.” See George W. Bush – international policies.)

    Similar to sanctions on Cuba, at the core, the point is to do something symbolic, not to do anything that makes much sense in achieving real international goals.

  6. Nice graphic. And there is some truth to various comments. 1)If the EU boycotts, then Iran will lose some revenue, unless Iran can find other buyers. 2) Iran will not, as the chart shows, lose ALL or even MOST of their revenue, although 3) it does seem that the Chinese are demanding a lower price from Iran. And 4) given the rampant (and rancid) bellicosity emanating from D.C., if the boycott is perceived to be a failure, then U.S. & Israeli hawks will beat the war drums still louder. But, I think, 1) the Iranian regime can certainly survive this loss of revenue, whatever it may be; 2) this loss will mainly harm ordinary Iranians, not the core support base of the regime (cf. anti-Iraq sanctions of the 1990s). So, sanctions will do little, except to poison relations still further and make sensible policies even more difficult. And the risk of “accidental war” remains uncomfortably high. Averting a catastrophic (and idiotic) war between the U.S., Israel, and Iran remains a crucial task. As Prof. Abrahamian said in his “Modern History of Iran”, such a war will be the equivalent of the opening salvos of the Thirty Years’ War of the 17th Century in central Europe. Criminal, stupid, venal, unnecessary–we must all do whatever we can to halt this rush to the abyss.

  7. well, I have good news and bad news.

    the good news:
    for all those soldiers who feel that they don’t get enough time in Afghanistan to rake in those piles of tax-free combat pay, the US Senate heard you and is going to do something about it.

    the bad news:
    for everybody else, the Senate Banking Committee just crafted a bill to cut Iran off completely from the world economic system, demanding that SWIFT stop making payments to any Iranian entity from any source. That, of course, would be an act of war.

    While the US Senate lacks the intestinal fortitude to vote outright to declare war, lest there be some unintended consequences that even American voters can trace back to them,
    they are more than willing to fire the first, second, third, etc. salvos in that war, and insist that if Iran retaliates, then “they started it.”

  8. According to their public positions, the Japanese and the Korean governments are open to replacement supplies for Iranian oil. Their foreign ministers have been visiting the Gulf states very recently.

    Likewise the Turks are exploring their options.

    That leaves the Chinese and the Indians. It is true that they have expressed an unwillingness to stop receiving supplies from Iran. We shall see whether American pressure and Saudi oil can change their minds.

    I would point out that the Saudis are capable of single-handedly replacing all Iranian oil exports. Given how much they fear Iran they might be willing to accept very low prices for their oil…

    There is good reason for the Iranians to be concerned.

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