Bye, Bye, Petro-Czars

The power of petro-czars has slumped as oil prices have fallen
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2009 6:02 PM CST
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, right, and Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, left, are seen during their meeting in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2008.   (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
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(Newser) – There is one silver lining to the global recession: The economic and political fortunes of America’s oil-rich antagonists have been tarnished, Rana Foroohar writes in Newsweek. Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez have all been humbled by the falling price of oil, which has plummeted to $37 a barrel from from $147 last summer.

“High oil prices and oil wealth reshaped geopolitics,” said one expert. “Now we’re seeing the reversal of all that,” including diplomatic openness to “imperial” America and the possible sacking of Ahmadinejad and Chávez. Concludes Foroohar: Recession presents “the opportunity to exploit the even more glaring weaknesses of one’s rivals, to talk to enemies whose problems at home open them to compromise.”