The USSR was not floated by high oil prices, it led to the nation's demise. Historial Nial Ferguson says as much in his book Virtual History. Saddam would have surely invaded Kuwait, under Soviet protection (lets remember that the Soviets armed him to the hilt, much further than the US or France ever did) and sold them cheap oil. If he didn't sell cheap oil to them, he would have undercut OPEC, crippled the cartel and then boosted prices. Either way he would have jimmied with the price of oil to make his Kuwait seizure well worth it. I said the USSR could have survived, I'm not entirely sure it would have. Gorbechev and Reagan were crucial to its demise, without one, the other would have not worked. The Soviets could have withstood a fumbling economy (corrupt yes, terminal, not in 1979) and probably got back on their feet if not forced into the arms race and a costly Afghan campaign (in military, economic and political capital) by President Reagan. To think that the USSR would have collapsed regardless of American or Soviet leadership is to put far too much faith in historical trends. Lets remember that the USSR was first and formost a police state. Secondly it was not prevy to the problems that even subtle changes in the US economy create in our political structure at home. Once politics is removed from the equation the Soviets are left with purely economic concerns. Stalinist states can and have existed in advanced states of decay for decades, just look at North Korea for the most extreme example. The Soviets could have limbered along, if not drastically improved their situation, gobbling nations up and creating higher tension between East and West than existed in the 1970s. Detente would have seen to further Soviet aggression before someone woke up in the alternate past I'm talking about. The economy was bad, but it certainly had enough food to feed its people. And if they started starving, so what? Stalin had massive famines and managed to throw the Soviet military into every corner of the world, not to mention the doctorine even further. The USSR would have gladly let its own people starve to advance its cause. Either the Soviets would have gotten a whole lot bigger before dying, tensions could have went into the future where at some point there could have very well been another Cuban Missile Crisis type of situation (one that didn't turn out as well as the last) or the West could have been so weak and run amok by ultra-leftist parties that it decided to co-habitate or pretty much surrendure to the USSR. The Cold War was more than East-West tensions (as I'm sure you know), it was really, truly communisms tyranny over 100s of millions in Eastern Europe and throughout the Asia. The war could only end when the Soviets did, otherwise the world would have been "half slave and half free." Hardly an acceptable situation for self respecting patriots and advocates of human liberty.