A few nights ago former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov was interviewed on the Bill Maher show. Apparently he’s running for President of Russia, he has little chance of winning (he is very vocal about not liking Putin), but he offered an interesting take on International Relations.
Putin and Iran have been cozying up to each other and many blame this on the Bush Administration’s foreign policies. They argue that all Bush really does is unite people against us (Chavez also is warming up to Iran, and there has been a huge surge in anti-Americanism worldwide). However, Kasparov stated that Putin is in fact making a very calculated move. The Russian economy heavily relies on oil production. If oil prices fall so does the Russian economy, which would give Putin a lot of internal problems.
To ensure that oil prices are high he supports Iran. Iran is de-stabilizing the Middle East. It is attempting to get nukes, it is financing (at least in part) the Iraqi Shiite insurgents, and talks of invading Israel; indeed Iran might be the U.S.’s next target. This leads to marketplace uncertainty, nobody can very accurately predict how much oil will be on the market in the future, which leads to high prices.
This also sheds light on Chavez, who's pseudo-socialist economy also needs high oil prices. But why does it always seems that the U.S. foreign policy establishment is playing checkers while other countries are playing Chess?