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One factor which is hard to quantify but which I think will be of some importance is the willingness and ability of the various regional powers that be to subsidise (or outright hand out) energy to countries in their sphere of influence (or countries that they want to be in their sphere of influence).

For instance, even though it might look like the Caucasian countries are in a pretty bad shape, it is not impossible that Russia might consider it a good deal to prevent them from collapsing altogether (at least if they behave themselves and get back into Moscow's sphere of interest). If for no other reason then in order to avoid having two thousand km of Chechnya-look-alikes on their Southern border. This could be modeled after the situation that obtained in Eastern Europe before the Colour Revolutions, so it is not entirely unprecedented.

At the other end of the spectrum, I expect things to be harder on some of the Latin American countries than a naïve look at the figures would suggest, because the only major power in the region at the moment - the Big Neighbour to the North - is all but openly hostile to a lot of those countries. Unless Venezuela can bail them out, of course.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 06:22:01 PM EST

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