Kopi time with Taimur Baig, E07: Princeton’s Bernard Haykel
Bernie recently published an article in Project Syndicate, provocatively titled “Saudi Arabia’s radical new oil strategy.” We begin by going over his theory that Saudi Arabia, under the stewardship of crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman, is done being the swing producer of oil, and with climate change and renewable energy in the horizon, may well want to pump in 20 coming years its entire oil reserves.
We then contextualise this intriguing thesis with ongoing OPEC-plus negotiations and US involvement to cut back supply.
Bernie elaborates on the state of Saudi-US relationship. The former buys a lot of US arms, supports US and Israeli foreign policy objectives of confronting Iran and supporting Egypt, while the latter has been fairly quiet through the Qatar blockade, the war in Yemen, the Khashoggi assassination, and even more shockingly, during this oil price war that is bound to hurt some states that form a core of Trump’s support base. Bernie explains to us what is binding the White House with MBS so tightly.
The discussion then touches on the Saudi-UAE-Qatar conflict, Iran, Iraq, Israel, and Lebanon. We go over the political situation, impact of Covid-19, risk of financial crisis, regional armed conflict, and scenarios of détente.
For anyone interested in oil markets and the middle-east, Prof Haykel’s insights will be invaluable.
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