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World View: Vladimir Putin: Global Economy Will Collapse with Oil at $80 per Barrel

World View: Vladimir Putin: Global Economy Will Collapse with Oil at $80 per Barrel

This morning’s key headlines from

  • China blames Hong Kong protests on ‘external forces’
  • Vladimir Putin: Global economy will collapse with oil at $80 per barrel

China blames Hong Kong protests on ‘external forces’

Hong Kong protesters raise their hands in a symbolic show of peace and non-violence on Sunday (EPA)
Hong Kong protesters raise their hands in a symbolic show of peace and non-violence on Sunday (EPA)

China’s hand-picked Hong Kong leader, Leung Chun-ying, is saying thatthe pro-democracy protests are “out of control” and that they’rebeing supported by “external forces,” echoing Chinese state media thatprotesters.

A week ago, the protesters and the government were going to have talksto determine a political solution, and the demonstrators, who hadpreviously numbered in the tens of thousands, had dwindled down toonly a few hundred. It looked like the demonstrations would fizzleout completely.

However, the talks broke down, and Leung announced that there waszero probability that China would back down and allow free, openelections in 2017. This brought thousands of protesters back out –not as many as before, but still a sizeable number. Although thethree weeks of protests have been mostly peaceful, there have beenclashes with police for the last four nights. Protesters accused thepolice of using “deadly” force, with some demonstrators suffering headwounds, fractures, and bruising, and others carried away on stretchers.

On Sunday night, Leung blamed infiltration of the protest movementby forces outside of Hong Kong:

I shan’t go into details, but this is not entirely adomestic movement.

The Hong Kong government and the police force have exercisedextreme tolerance and patience. That’s what we have done and whatwe will continue to do.

But he also vowed to “restore law and order in Hong Kong as soon aspossible.”

However, protesters claim that the protests are “purely by citizens,purely by those who live in Hong Kong.” According to a protestleader:

To make a statement that there are foreign powersinfiltrating this movement right before the discussions, isevidence that [Leung] is hoping to crack down on the entiremovement.

As the chief executive of Hong Kong, he should probably have solidevidence before making such a statement. He can’t just say thereis foreign infiltration and this is reallyirresponsible.

Despite the protests, talks between the government and protestersare set to resume on Tuesday.

More broadly, China’s government is increasingly cracking downon dissents throughout China, what it calls “subversive ideas.”In a memo, the Communist Party warned of “seven perils” thatwere taking root in the country, including the following five:

  • “Western constitutional democracy”;
  • “promoting universal values of human rights”;
  • “Western-inspired notions of media independence and civil society”;
  • “ardently pro-market neo-liberalism”;
  • “nihilist” criticisms of the party’s traumatic past.

Australian/AFP and BBC and Nation Multimedia

Vladimir Putin: Global economy will collapse with oil at $80 per barrel

In recent months, the price of a barrel of oil has fallen from about$110 down to $80-85. Global economies have been softening, reducingthe demand for oil. And the supply of oil has been surging, withU.S. shale oil production (“fracking”) and supplies from othercountries growing.

Oil revenues have been a major source of foreign reserves for Russia,and the falling oil prices have affected Russia’s economy. Accordingto Russia’s president Vladimir Putin:

If oil prices remain at $80 per barrel, it will leadto production collapse. Budgets of all major oil-producingcountries are based on the price of more than $80, close to $90per barrel.

Russia is not the only economy suffering because of low oil prices.Many Mideast countries have hugely increased public spending aftergrowing instability from the Arab spring. Venezuela and Iransimilarly depend on high oil prices.

The U.S. economy is also affected. It’s true that low oil pricestranslate into lower gas/petrol prices, but it’s also true that muchU.S. oil production becomes unprofitable as oil prices fall to $80.

This reality is affecting politics in 12 member Organization ofPetroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Smaller producers want SaudiArabia to cut oil production, in order to force prices back up. Butthe Saudis are actually increasing oil production, because they wantto try to put America’s oil fracking production out of business.Ria Novosti (Moscow) and Guardian (London) and Forbes

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, China, Hong Kong, Leung Chun-ying,Russia, Vladimir Putin, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Iran,Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC
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