Is this set of numbers in constant dollars (I doubt it)? This was a period of high inflation.
Yes, it's in constant dollars.
Oh come on, Sean! As if 15% inflation, 20% mortgage interest rates, Soviet proxies in Central America, high unemployment, and the Soviet military buildup had nothing to do with it?
Of course they did. But in the context of oil the lobbyists and their congresscritters had their way with Carter. Remember that without regulation cheap oil had proven to be an economic boost.
This is most curious. Why would a Ba'athist regime like Syria take sides against another secular Ba'athist regime, namely Iraq, in favor of a theocracy like Iran?
The problem between Syria and Iraq was less a matter of ideology and more a matter of traditional power struggle. Syria was shackled to Egypt in the realm of transitting oil but not producing it. In addition, the history of the old mandates had left Syria lacking from its inattendent French handlers.
I take issue with this. The 1980s was the return of oil to commodity status, as the next several paragraphs state. It accomplished several things, not least of which was to reduce the value of Soviet oil sales with which it had financed its military buildup in the late 70s. Decontrol of oil pricing had more to do with the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union than anything else Reagan did.
You're combining decontrol of the US market and regulation on the production side of Russian oil. Russia was hamstrung with the former Soviet system and that's what cost them in production costs. They couldn't bank as much to build up their military until they escaped the old system; they're still struggling now. The problem for us is that our market prices are reflective of OPEC but still subsidized to domestic production. Not quite a true free market but certainly better than the old days.