THE news that America intends to ‘flood the world’ with cheap liquefied natural gas (LNG) reveals just how far advanced US imperialism is along the road to war with Russia, China and any other country seen as a threat to its domination.
The plans and preparations being put into action – regarding fracking in the US, new oil pipelines being built across the world and the deal with Saudi Arabia to drive down the price of oil internationally – have only one goal.
That goal is to create the economic conditions to destabilise the Russian economy which relies for over 50% of its federal budget income on the export of oil.
In September last year, Saudi Arabia, with the agreement of the US, started to flood the world with heavily discounted oil, driving the price of a barrel of Brent crude down from $112 to under $50 at one point.
When the price fell dramatically, deliberately driven down by the Saudis, there was speculation that it was aimed at the rapidly developing fracking industry in the US.
While a number of small fracking companies were driven out of business as a result, it is now quite clear that whole price manipulation was agreed between the US and their main ally in the region as a weapon against Russia and also Iran – Saudi Arabia’s main enemy in the region with massive oil and gas reserves of its own.
Because oil is traded on the world market, always in dollars, it is impossible for Russia to do anything about the price of a barrel – if it cuts production to push up prices, other countries will simply step up production.
For every dollar fall in oil price Russia loses $2 billion in revenues.
Gas is a different matter, and Russia remains the world’s largest producer of all types of gas, supplying almost the whole of Europe. Russia has huge power in determining gas prices in Europe.
As a response to the attack on oil prices, Russia has sought to speed up negotiations with China on a gas pipeline.
The latest announcements from the US about how they will flood the European market with huge amounts of LNG shipped over in thousands of container ships, is clearly aimed at destroying Russia’s gas industry along with its oil revenues.
This marks a further stage in the attempted economic strangulation of Russia through an oil and gas war coupled with economic sanctions imposed by all the imperialist powers.
This strategy by US imperialism aims to smash up the Russian economy and precipitate an oligarch-led coup and, if that fails, weakening Russia to the extent that it will be ripe for invasion and outright war to overthrow the socialised property relations established by the 1917 Russian Revolution.
This is not the first time such a tactic has been employed by imperialism.
The financial collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1980s was linked to a similar engineered collapse of oil prices which fell in 1985 from $100 to $30 a barrel.
The economic damage that this dramatic fall caused to the Soviet economy opened the door for Gorbachev with his policy of opening the Soviet Union up to capitalism through ‘liberalisation’, and culminated in his removal and the rule of the drunken Yeltsin and the economic ‘shock therapy’ that saw state apparatchiks transformed into multi-millionaire oligarchs overnight as they looted the Soviet economy.
The Russian working class revolted and Yeltsin was replaced by Putin who balances precariously between a powerful working class and the oligarchs, as he seeks to carry out the Stalinist aim of peaceful co-existence with imperialism.
But there can be no peaceful co-existence with an imperialist system that is in the grip of its historic economic crisis, i.e. its death agony.
So severe is this crisis that imperialism, led by the US, is being driven to go to war in order to regain mastery of the world and all its resources, at the same time as the imperialist crisis is driving the working class forward in every country in a very revolutionary way – not least in the USA.
The only way to conclude this crisis of imperialism in the interest of the working class is through building parties of the Fourth International in every country to bury capitalism and imperialism by leading the world socialist revolution to its victory.