Cross-posted at Daily Kos

In a little noticed bill passed last week by the Senate Judiciary Committee, the US of A has put OPEC and other oil producing nations on notice that Manifest Destiny is alive and well.

Hey, it worked as a key clause of NAFTA so why not OPEC and the gang…

The bearer of desperate tidings was Senator Leahy…

“The bill would allow the US Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to file antitrust lawsuits against foreign states, such as members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), for price fixing and other anticompetitive activities,” said the Democrat.[Leahy]


The bill, just passed, would make it illegal for foreign states and their agents “to act collectively or in combination with any other foreign state …or agent” to limit the production of oil, natural gas, or any other petroleum product, or fix the prices of such products.

Legal action may be taken, the bill said, “when such action, combination, or collective action has a direct, substantial, and reasonably foreseeable effect on the market, supply, price, or distribution of oil, natural gas, or other petroleum product in the United States”.

[All emphasis mine]

The world is struggling to meet the current demand and with China and India becoming major consumers at a rapid pace, there truly is only so much to go around. It is fair to say that this latest action by the Congress, making it illegal for an oil producing country to reduce it’s sales to the US, is in response to the recent moves by China to shore up suppliers & Venezuela openly courting the Russians, Indonesians, Iranians & Indians  in order to reduce their dependence on the US market… let alone all the talk about moving the standard currency from the dollar to the Euro and well, it’s enough to make American politicians nervous… and a cornered beast is always the most dangerous.

The question is how will OPEC and countries such as China & India react to the new saber-rattling from Washington?

And just how far are they prepared to go to enfore their legal judgment (since there will inevitably be one.. my guess is Venezuela will be the first target)?

Update: Fleet Admiral J has provided links to the Senate & House versions of the bill (NOPEC – have they no shame? Seriously now, that’s just insulting)

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