Stories by Robert Johnston

Expert Voices

Trump’s Iran strategy collides with oil market realities

oil tankers off the coast of Iran
Ships at Iran's Port of Kharg Island Oil Terminal. Photo: Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Trump administration must decide by May 2 whether to allow Iran to continue exporting crude oil — a decision with huge implications for Washington’s Iran strategy and the oil market.

The big picture: Since withdrawing from the nuclear deal last May, the U.S. has steadily ratcheted up economic and political pressure on Iran. The core component of the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” strategy is reducing the Islamic Republic's oil exports, which provide provide a third of government revenues.

Expert Voices

The Green New Deal may finally bring climate change to center stage

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks as Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) (R) listens during a news conference
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) unveiling their Green New Deal resolution in front of the U.S. Capitol, on Feb. 7, 2019. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Amid the announcement of the Green New Deal (GND) resolution on Thursday, critics have been quick to characterize the policy as quixotic and extreme. But GND supporters are far from alone in advocating for a radical transformation of the global energy system, nor are such efforts confined to the left wing of the Democrat congressional caucus.

The big picture: In comparison to the rest of the world, Washington has been uniquely slow to recognize and address the threat of climate change. The GND, regardless of whether it comes to fruition, seems poised to force a conversation in the Capitol that other governments and the private sector have been holding for a long time.

Expert Voices

Trump shifting U.S. oil policy to "consumer first"

U.S. President Donald Trump (L) embraces Energy Secretary Rick Perry after Trump delivered remarks
President Trump and Energy Secretary Rick Perry. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool via Getty Images

President Trump took credit again this week for lowering oil prices over the past two months. Oil markets are clearly reacting to his tweets and public comments, which have become a new source of price volatility.

The big picture: Trump’s ongoing campaign against higher oil prices marks a shift from Republican oil policy in the Bush era, which generally relied more on markets to respond to high prices. Despite the presence of oil-friendly cabinet members such as Rick Perry and Ryan Zinke, Trump has aimed to keep prices low.