Examines major Soviet objectives in the Persian Gulf region, especially with regard to oil. Production targets and relative costs suggest that the USSR and Eastern Europe can be expected to import a substantial volume of Middle Eastern oil and gas by 1980. Moscow's changed trade status will mean the development of particular economic interests in the Persian Gulf, but Soviet motivations have been and will probably remain mainly political. In its effort to expel the West from the Middle East, Moscow can be expected to support enthusiastically radical measures--including economic warfare--initiated by the producer states, but it is not likely to try to lead the pack for fear of alarming friend and foe alike. Although the Gulf seems an environment made to order for Soviet maneuvering, regional rivalries will make penetration difficult for Moscow. 49 pp. Ref.