By Fares Braizat, Oct 09, 2022

The OPEC+ decision to reduce production by two million barrels a day is rooted in a shift of the world view of influential members of the cartel, as well as in commercial calculations. 

In fact, many OPEC+ members are producing less than their quota already, and the actual reduction hovers at around 900,000 barrels per day. So the decision is clearly political and signifies a change in how the “oil for security” formula, especially in the Gulf, is changing to one based on diversification, not only of alliances but, more importantly, of the pathways to those alliances. The new paradigm is building on existing alliances; it does not entail abandoning them, but adding a new twist: individual interests, first and foremost.

While the US sees the OPEC+ decision as a “geopolitical move” to help Russia, there is a realization among OPEC+ members that the US cannot do much in response, except express disappointment, as stated by the White House spokesperson, the national security adviser, and the director of the National Economic Council. 

The decision to reduce output is also rooted in the disappointment of the other side, especially Saudi Arabia’s and UAE’s.

Emirati and Saudi diplomats and pundits often said that they were expecting a more sympathetic American reaction when the oil and civilian installations were attacked by the Iran-backed Houthi drones and missiles, causing disruptions to oil security. They were also disappointed that they were not “sufficiently consulted” on the JCPOA (the Iran nuclear deal) negotiations, and they have been positing that their interests were not taken into account by “a strategic partner” (The US), as they should.

The diversification of alliances, especially in the Gulf region, hinges on a few premises. There is a new understanding of how these countries should conduct international politics. The new paradigm is based on a “calculated proactive” approach. Probably one of the best descriptions of this paradigm is to be found in the work of Mohammed Baharoon’s “The keys to reading the UAE’s strategic map”. The approach is in line with the global trend of interconnectedness on a variety dimensions. 

Most notable is the focus on governance. The fact that democracy is backsliding globally is no news. It coincides with a much lower American and European interest in promoting democracy, compared to their effort particularly in the 1992-2012 period. Today, the model of “effective government” is gaining grounds and more popular support, while support for democracy, especially in the Arab and African countries (where people younger than 30 constitute two thirds of the population) is witnessing significant declines. This comes on the back of the failure of “freedom wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the rise of populist democracy-skeptic parties in established democracies.

The outcome of the new “freedom war” in Ukraine is going to determine whether democracy will gain or lose, and with it, a reformed world order is bound to emerge.

The writer is the Chairman of NAMA Strategic Intelligence Solutions, H.E. Dr. Fares Braizat. 

This article was originally published in Jordan News on October 09, 2022. For the original article source, click here