King Pyrrhus of Epirus defeated the mighty Roman legions at the Battle of Heraclea in 280 BC and the Battle of Asculum in 279 BC during the Pyrrhic War. Suffering heavy causalities coupled with an inability to replenish his forces ushered in the term “Pyrrhic Victory.” Apparently, Russian strongman Vladimir Putin and the Saudi Royal Family are no students of history. Their recent oil war left them both licking their wounds and counting unnecessary losses.
In a dust-up over oil production, the number two and three largest oil producers behind the U.S. flooded the global market at a time when the COVID-19 crisis tamped down demand. The month-long oil war saw crude oil prices plummet by about 50 percent. As Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Saudi royals recently came to terms about capping production to buoy prices, reports indicate this was not business. It was personal.
After failing to renegotiate an expiring deal in early April, Saudi Arabia’s state-operated Saudi Aramco oil company ramped up output to historic highs, reaching an unprecedented 12.3 million barrels. In a matter of days, crude prices tanked by more than 25 percent. Of its own accord, the oil giant scuttled any notion of turning a profit. Saudi Arabia was reaching into its own coffers to make up the losses attributed to the glut of product on the global market.
Reports of personally heated language surfaced, as the reckless game of brinksmanship ensued. According to reports, Putin was furious over Saudi crowned prince Mohammed bin Salman forming a powerful alliance with President Donald Trump that included a “preferential advantage” to the U.S. Prince Salman also engaged in a heated back-and-forth with Putin that prompted a petty and reckless vendetta.
“Putin does not tolerate the language of ultimatums,” said former Russian deputy energy minister Vladimir Milov. “As I imagine it playing out, the Saudis tried to pressure us, and Putin told them to go to hell.”
But facts did not get in the way of the American establishment media concocting yet another Russian hoax. Outlets such as Newsweek, Bloomberg, and others put forward a tired old narrative that the Russians were plotting against U.S. oil.
“Now some oil experts are predicting barrel prices as low as $20 within the year, while Russian President Vladimir Putin has voiced confidence that his country can weather out a sustained and significant price reduction,” Newsweek reportedly stated. “Some analysts have argued that Russia’s efforts are intended to counter U.S. shale producers and push back against U.S. sanctions targeting the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline that connects Russia and Germany.”
“The Kremlin has decided to sacrifice OPEC+ to stop U.S. shale producers and punish the U.S. for messing with Nord Stream 2,” Bloomberg reportedly quoted Alexander Dynkin, of the Moscow-based Institute of World Economy and International Relations.
The phony narrative never gained significant traction as the price of gas at the pump price sharply declined. The drop occurred precisely at a time when Americans grew anxious about money due to COVID-19 business closures. America was winning.
While the American establishment media appears to be in awe of Putin and willing to attribute incredible powers of strategic planning, it seems he and the Saudi prince simply let their emotions get the better of them. Both have egg on their faces.