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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > February 2016 > Cheap oil won’t bring peace

Cheap oil won’t bring peace

But it might move Putin’s focus away from Ukraine

“If oil falls to $20 a barrel, Russia will look to get out of Syria. We won’t be able to afford it.” One Russian government adviser on the conflict took a gloomy view of his country’s financial resilience—but one that might seem to suggest that cheaper oil will raise the chance of a ceasefire.

If only. The apparently endless slide in the oil price is just one nagging thought— and far from the most important—in the minds of ministers in Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran, the main countries in what has become a proxy war fought out through roaming bands of jihadists whose identity and allegiances constantly shift and reform. Their actions are shaped far more by old, deep rivalries and modern calculations of power.

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About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect’s February issue: Lawrence Summers questions Robert J Gordon’s thesis on the impact of the digital revolution, John Sawers, the former Chief of MI6, highlights how technology is making the work of spies harder and Frank Furedi examines the student movements demanding protection from the offensive and uncomfortable. Also in this issue: Gershom Gorenberg on Israel, Ben Judah on the complexity of London and Elizabeth Pisani on the impact of fake drugs. Plus Sam Tanenhaus on Obama’s gun control plans.