The Oil and the Glory: The Pursuit of Empire and Fortune on the Caspian Sea

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Typical assets empower the world's so much coercive males. Autocrats like Putin and the Saudis spend oil cash on guns and repression. ISIS and Congo's militias spend source cash on atrocities and ammunition. Additional info for The Oil and the Glory: Show sample text content.

Yet as Rowson had estimated, the e-book did supply Giffen with rapid cachet as a Soviet specialist. For years Giffen had yearned for such respectability, the type that whisked one unquestioned via difficult-to-open doorways.

Parsing Petro-Politics in the Caspian Sea

The mirrored glory of being a part of the Hopkins family members had already nourished his experience of shallowness. That used to be sizzling shit. Ara Oztemel was once the convivial ringmaster, consistently the heart of recognition. At lunch, there have been formal sit-down foodstuff ready for the workers through his own cook dinner.


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In modern times, the region's rich petroleum reserves have been the object of schemes involving generations of Western industrialists, the governments of emerging democracies in the former Soviet Union, and various U. He blogs at OilandGlory. Your purchase helps support NPR programming. Accessibility links Skip to main content Keyboard shortcuts for audio player. The Pursuit of Empire and Fortune on the Caspian Sea , veteran foreign correspondent Steve LeVine writes about the high-stakes political gamesmanship over control of the rich oil resources in that region.

Practical, because Giffen was such an insider that Nazarbayev would be extremely concerned what secrets could spill out in court were he to be tossed overboard. Giffen is an irrepressible meddler. And they would be smart to listen to him. As an American who sat on the same side of the negotiating table years ago told me, Giffen knows precisely how much blood there is in the turnip, and how to squeeze it out. I do expect revelations at the trial.

Were he to be acquitted or serve only a short sentence, he could remake himself as something else, a la Michael Milken. But he will never be the gatekeeper to big oil deals anywhere, in my opinion. You focus on a series of high-profile personalities and neglect many of the social and political aspects of the story.

How are the governments of the Caspian littoral doing in this regards today?

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Yours is a point well taken. You need to understand how I approached the book. My starting point was the observation when I arrived in Central Asia in early that there was no contemporary reference work tying together the entire region — something of the ambitions of Peter Hopkirk or Dan Yergin, but profiling the events and personalities of the modern-day Caucasus and Central Asia in a straight-forward manner. What dismayed me was not just the absence of such a book, but what I considered a premature leap, mostly by political scientists, to analyze and prescribe policy before knowing almost any of the facts.

What we needed — what I felt I could have sorely used as a journalist working in the region — was to have the facts on the table, chronologically and contextually, on the canvas of the entire former Soviet south.

But how to tie together the whole of this disparate region in a single narrative as opposed to a Gibbonian series of volumes? Something that would attract a broad audience, since I would like more people to know about this region.

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I turned to oil as that thread. The resulting book as you know is more than pages. I do ponder the questions you raise in the epilogue. But as you suggest, the social questions — in addition to the questions of dictatorship and torture — deserve book-length treatment.

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I hope that someone will pick up the mantle and do that companion volume. Turkmenistan is the Caspian state that seems to be downplayed in your description. I assume this is because the multinationals have had such a difficult time penetrating Turkmenistan and securing contracts there. With the sudden death of Saparmurad Niyazov and the transition to a new government there, do you expect things to change?


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Is there a new game afoot today for Turkmen gas? Niyazov, as you suggest, pulled himself out of the game quite early with his bizarre eccentricities. I do have a hunch that his successor, Berdymukhamedov, will be far more open to outsiders. That would more than anything open up Turkmenistan into the outside world.

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During that time there have been broad changes as the states became untethered from the old Soviet world and started to chart truly independent paths. But more recently, Russian investments and commercial interests have begun to pour into this region, in many countries far outstripping those of the west. At the same time, the Chinese are much more active in the scene, and South Asian interests are also ubiquitous.

Will the Central Asian states maintain their autonomy and succeed in balancing these great power interests to their own advantage? They proved themselves by and large, however, to be shrewd and worldly-wise. Unlike Heydar Aliyev, he is unwilling to confront Russia directly. The prevailing wisdom is that he has discarded the West and gone over to the Russians. But this is his style — he vacillates between one great power and another without forming any permanent alliances.

Steve blogs for the book at http: Conversation — August 5, , Conversation — March 30, , 3: