Saudi Arabia, which has been pumping oil at record high levels, has now indicated that it would boost its oil production ahead of crucial talks next month to freeze oil levels. The game played by Saudi Arabia has hurt oil exporting states such as Venezuela and Russia. Next month, OPEC and non-OPEC states will meet to renew talks about a freeze in production, which would of course raise oil prices. The dangerous game played by Saudi Arabia has put the kingdom itself at peril.
But of course this is news best left to the business pages - if that. More important to tackle the minutiae of the American presidential elections, where the discourse plunges to new lows when you had thought that there was nowhere lower to go.
This week I come to you with news from Medea Benjamin, the founder of Code Pink (that's her being arrested above). She has a new book out on Saudi Arabia and the United States. And I come to you with an interview on LeftWord Book's new volume - Communist Histories - as well as a review by Ambassador K. P. Fabian of my new book.
(1) Medea Benjamin.
In the new issue of Frontline, I interview Medea Benjamin, which goes from talk of the US presidential elections to Saudi Arabia. It is a wide-ranging and fascinating conversation with a person of whom President Barack Obama said, 'The voice of that woman is worth paying attention to'. So pay attention to her. The interview is here.
It turns out that this week, at Alternet, I also review Medea's book on Saudi Arabia. I say this of the book -
- Medea Benjamin’s new book – Kingdom of the Unjust - is an activist’s dossier of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and American complicity. She is like an accountant of suffering – lining up columns and columns of information about human rights abuses, denial of basic democratic freedoms and export of nastiness that borders on terrorism.
You can read the rest of the review here.
(2) Interviews and Reviews.
Andrew Stewart interviewed me about the new LeftWord book - Communist Histories. That interview ran today at Counterpunch. You can read it here. I go into the problem of the 'neoliberalism of the left' - namely a kind of consumerist attitude to left-wing politics.
Finally, it is very gratifying for me to read the verdict of Ambassador KP Fabian of my new book - The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution. Ambassador Fabian has served in the Indian Foreign Service since 1964. He was in Iran during the Revolution and was the Joint Secretary (Gulf) during the Gulf War 1; it was during this period that he coordinated the evacuation of almost 176,000 Indians from the region. It remains a legendary feat. Ambassador Fabian's review ends,
- All told, Vijay through this book has taken us through his purposeful and fearless wanderings and we expect more books from him as the politico-military drama shows no sign of ending. The basic theme of the book is that human beings count and it is their suffering that has to be brought to an end, a goal that power wielders do not seem to share. Vijay knows his geopolitics, but his approach is essentially people-centric but without ignoring geopolitics.