The Petrostate Chess Game

goldman061808.jpgToday the New York Sun reviews Marshall Goldman’s book Petrostate. We’ll have our own review up soon. For whatever reason, the Sun continues to hamper on with its conservative pro-authoritarianism bent, reminiscent of the well-known plagiarized article which sought to absolve the state of any involvement in the Litvinenko murder. Then again, Bob has also penned an article for them, so it appears the paper is interested in taking on a non-conventional perspective of Russia, which is positive. Nevertheless, Goldman (photograph) really reaches in his defense of the state’s lawless tactics to take over energy, and falls victim to the frequent mistake of assuming that it is the government, not privileged individuals, who make away like bandits. Here is a very disappointing quote from the book:

In a welcome contrast to aggrieved Western press reports about Mr. Putin’s economic strategy and the subsequent fall of oligarchs such as Mr. Khodorkovsky, Mr. Goldman takes an agnostic view on these developments. “In all fairness,” he writes, “the way the Russian government reacts when foreign investors attempt to buy their energy resources is not that atypical of how other countries react in a similar situation. If anything, most members of OPEC, for example, are even more protective.” He does have a stern warning for Western Europe, however. The region has become dangerously dependent on Russia for natural gas, he writes. With its spreading network of pipelines, Gazprom now has the power to let Europe freeze if it so chooses.