May 18, 2008

The Ways of Naysaying

A brief lesson, via Kevin Drum:
Stephen J. Hadley, the national security adviser, told reporters, "What they're saying to us is" that "Saudi Arabia does not have customers that are making requests for oil that they are not able to satisfy," The Associated Press reported.
Which is another way of saying, Saudi Arabia is selling all the oil it cares to sell. No doubt if and when oil clears at $200 a barrel, the Saudis will sell as much as its customers demand, and nothing more. This isn't to say they're deliberately trying to jack up oil prices (the rise of the last few years is likely more due to fundamentals in supply rather than political or financial machinations), but it's clear Saudi Arabia isn't going to change its ways to suit the current desires of the US.

(Post title from a book by SJC grande dame Eva Brann, with whom I had the misfortune of never having a class.)

UPDATE: Hadley's comment should also considered in the light of King Abdullah's recent declaration that certain Saudi oil fields will go untapped for the sake of future generations -- a clear recognition that oil is on the way to becoming permanently scarce.

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