Kissinger throws cold water on Mideast optimism

oil prices, henry kissinger, middle east, democracy, revolutionAddressing energy industry leaders meeting in Houston, the former Secretary of State says a transition to democracy is far from guaranteed. By Steve Hargreaves, senior writer


HOUSTON (CNNMoney) -- Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger delivered a sobering analysis on the unrest sweeping across the Middle East Thursday, telling leading energy industry experts that the recent protests may not pan out as smoothly as some hope.

Speaking at IHS's CERA's annual energy conference, Kissinger said most media reports have indicated the Mideast protests should result in a relative peaceful transition to more democratic regimes.

Most experts speaking at the conference this week have said that while turmoil and change may come to the Middle East, the end result should be positive for the whole region and that oil supplies should remain stable.

While Kissinger made no prediction on the fate of Middle East oil, he threw cold water on the idea that the transition of power in the region would lead to a new era of democracy there.

"That's wishful thinking," said Kissinger, who as secretary of state in 1973 helped end the war between Israel, Egypt and Syria and largely shaped the current political makeup of the Middle East. "There's evidence of rejection of the previous model, but no evidence of what the new model will be."

Kissinger also said that "the ability of the United States to achieve its security concerns in the short term is now more problematic."

He said what the United States needs is a clear analysis of the situation and well defined objectives in the region.

Turmoil in the Middle East has rocked oil markets over the last several weeks, with the price of crude surging some 10% over fears the unrest in Libya, Tunisia, Bahrain and other places will spread to the oil producing states of the Persian Gulf, particularly Saudi Arabia.

Protests dubbed the "day of rage," are planned in Saudi Arabia for Friday. Authorities in the desert kingdom have deemed them illegal and threatened to quash them by force.

Saudi Arabia vies with Russia as the world's largest oil exporter, supplying over 7 million barrels a day of crude. The broader region produces nearly a third of the world's 87 million barrels a day. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.30%4.43%
15 yr fixed3.30%3.27%
5/1 ARM3.34%3.46%
30 yr refi4.27%4.39%
15 yr refi3.27%3.25%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,950.77 -133.03 -0.78%
Nasdaq 4,447.25 -24.86 -0.56%
S&P 500 1,978.67 -9.31 -0.47%
Treasuries 2.47 -0.04 -1.67%
Data as of 2:53pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Facebook Inc 75.20 0.22 0.29%
Apple Inc 97.32 0.29 0.30%
Ford Motor Co 17.58 -0.27 -1.49%
Bank of America Corp... 15.59 -0.03 -0.19%
General Motors Co 35.06 -0.68 -1.89%
Data as of 2:38pm ET

Sections

Americans are wasting about $44 billion a year on name brands, when they could be buying the exact same products if they switched to cheaper store brands, says a new paper by economists from Tilburg University in the Netherlands and the University of Chicago. More

Americans are wasting about $44 billion a year on name brands, when they could be buying the exact same products if they switched to cheaper store brands, says a new paper by economists from Tilburg University in the Netherlands and the University of Chicago. More

Louisiana is now the top location for motion picture filming, supporting thousands of new jobs and small businesses. More

CNNMoney readers rip managers who micromanage to death, play favorites, throw their staff under the bus and steal credit for their work. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.