& Sandhya Jain / The Pioneer – 2006-09-19 23:49:31
US Oil Use Smears any Peace Effort
Cynthia Tucker / The Times-Union
(September 17, 2006) — You haven’t heard a word about oil from President Bush or his Cabinet as they’ve gone about the country on their pre-Halloween scarefest, trying to frighten voters into supporting their so-called war on terror. They’ve spoken of freedom and civilization, courage and cowardice, Nazis and appeasers.
But they haven’t mentioned oil.
By now, of course, most Americans have long since ceased giving any credence to the administration’s public explanations for the war in Iraq. Most Americans no longer believe toppling Saddam Hussein was worth the sacrifices; nor do they connect the invasion to the broader war against Islamic jihadists.
The idea that the President has pitched most recently — that the very foundations of Western civilization are at stake, as they were in World War II — is no more persuasive. If Bush genuinely believed the stakes were that high, he would have called on all the nation’s resources, including a military draft. Instead, the White House has gone about business as usual — cutting taxes, refusing to take port security seriously and relying on an all-volunteer military.
While several agendas converged to drive the war wagon to Baghdad, providing the United States access to Middle East oil reserves was always a critical factor. It’s not just liberals — Democrats, environmentalists, Hummer-haters — who say so. So do candid conservatives.
In the book titled The New American Militarism: How Americans are Seduced by War, Boston University professor and West Point grad Andrew Bacevich analyzed four military interventions of the Reagan era: “None of the four episodes can be fully understood except in relation to global reserves of fossil fuels and America’s growing dependence on imported oil.”
Kevin Phillips, a former Republican political strategist, is blunt in his latest book, American Theocracy. “Oil abundance has always been part of what America fights for, as well as with,” he writes.
Most Americans don’t want to concede that. Perhaps that’s why Bush was able to con the voters into re-electing him: Americans wanted to believe that we went to Iraq to clean out a terrorist infrastructure and to establish a base camp for democracy in the Middle East. No matter that the facts didn’t point in that direction; it was easier for us to believe that than to believe we went to secure U.S. access to Mideast oil reserves.
Yet history is clear on the point. The CIA intervened in Iran in the 1950s, clearing a path for the shah, because Iran had nationalized its oil fields, displeasing Anglo-American petroleum interests. Phillips notes that in 1973, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and others in President Nixon’s Cabinet “promoted, just short of openly, a plan for using US airborne forces to seize the oil fields of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi.”
And surely no one still thinks the United States would have driven Saddam out of Kuwait in 1991 had petroleum reserves not been at stake.
The current administration kept oil at the forefront of its planning after 9/11, too. In a speech last year, retired Army Col. Larry Wilkerson, who served as chief of staff to Colin Powell, revealed discussions about “mounting an operation to take the oil fields in the Middle East, internationalize them, put them under some sort of UN trusteeship, and administer the oil and the revenues accordingly.”
Bush and his Cabinet deserve their share of blame for failing to confront Americans with the consequences of our addiction to oil. But we’ve gone along with their deception. Until we admit the blood price we pay for petroleum, we’ll never be able to construct a sane policy toward the Middle East. Cynthia Tucker’s e-mail address is email@example.com.
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America and the Oil Slick: The World Rejects US Petro-Strategy
Sandhya Jain / The Pioneer
INDIA (September 16, 2006) — If Iranian President Ahmadinejad is serious about opening a Euro-based oil bourse in Tehran to undermine the US dollar, now is the time to strike.
Strategic experts believe that internationally, the mega-strategic energy deals are slipping away from corporate America, whose strong-arm tactics are alienating growing nationalist sentiment across the world.
Washington’s use of the September 2001 New York terror strike to cynically assume a commanding position in oil-and-gas rich Central Asia has startled the international community, especially after the unwarranted invasion of Iraq and takeover of its economy by cronies of the White House.
This has forced a major rethink in world capitols, and resource-rich regimes in the Gulf and Central Asia are responding to Russia and China, who are cooperating to combat America’s monopolistic ambitions.
Pakistan is Washington’s non-NATO ally in the war against terror, but has turned to China for economic development, as evident in troubled Balochistan. It is keen on an energy deal with Iran, bete noire of Uncle Sam, but the tripartite energy deal with India cannot take off due to Pakistan’s status as the epicentre of jihadi terrorism.
As a rising Asian economy, India is also engaging with the Central Asian Republics for better energy security, though its anxiety for American goodwill has upset Iran and caused a stalemate over the price of LNG.
Saudi Arabia, however, is moving out of the American orbit by sewing up energy deals with China and India, though Washington has compensated itself with the oilfields of Libya.
Yet the unmistakable geopolitical trend among oil and gas producing nations of the Gulf, Latin America, Africa and Central Asia is to avoid US oil companies in favour of nations that do not interfere in their internal affairs. America’s high comfort levels with dictatorial regimes on one hand, and promotion of puppet democracies on the other, as per its corporate convenience, has diminished its value as a desirable economic and strategic global partner.
Central Asia is alert after the string of ‘coloured’ revolutions. America currently retains bases in Kyrgyzthan, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Georgia and Azerbaijan. But Uzbekistan asked it to vacate the crucial Karshi-Khanabad (K2) base after the failed Andijan riots.
President Islam Karimov was warned by ousted Georgian leader Eduard Shevardnadze against American financier George Soros and West-funded NGOs; he promptly expelled the Soros-funded Open Society Institute, stifled other NGOs, and courted Russian President Putin.
A gas deal with Russia’s Gazprom is expected to affect America’s hydrocarbon pipeline over Afghanistan to the Arabian Sea. Karimov has invited India to share an energy partnership along with Russia and China, a move that makes profound geopolitical sense.
Meanwhile, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is pressing America to wind up its bases in Central Asia, especially as heightened tensions with Iran raise fears of another regional misadventure. Kazakhstan, which has enormous hydrocarbon resources, is also upset with President Bush, and even allies like Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan favour a security relationship with Russia.
Tajikistan made the Russian military base there permanent after President Putin’s visit in October 2004, while Russia has a base at Kant in Kyrgyzstan.
China is very proactive in the region. There is a thousand kilometre pipeline from Kazakhstan’s central Karaganda region to Xinjiang, part of an ambitious three thousand kilometre link to the Caspian Sea. China has also invested heavily in Russia’s energy sector, especially Siberia’s coal and oil. It is active in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Experts opine that Russia is leading the attempt to marginalise Western multinational oil companies. The move strikes a chord because the White House is dominated by a cartel of the oil and gas industry and some banker-financiers, and the oil-rich nations of Central Asia, the Gulf, and Latin America prefer joint ventures with State enterprises rather than these rapacious multinationals.
Thus, a very basic economic nationalism drives their tilt towards Russia and China. The West, used to more than a century of de facto imperialism in the oil and gas sector, finds itself on a sticky wicket.
The new oil-and-gas producer States and the key consumer Asian economies (China, India) are joining hands to forge State-to-State joint ventures and arrive at strategic energy security. Analysts say this could eventually diminish the role and status of OPEC in future.
Russian leaders had cleverly positioned the Russian Federation to take advantage of global energy trends, and Russia is now emerging as natural leader of the world’s key producing and consuming powers.
Washington facilitated this process by its unacceptable oil greed in Iraq. In a path-breaking work, “The Bush Agenda: Invading The World, One Economy At A Time,” Antonia Juhasz  exposes the US corporate invasion of Iraq.
So far, 150 US corporations have received a staggering $50 billion worth of contracts for the failed reconstruction of Iraq, even as a new oil law has opened the oil sector to private foreign corporate investment.
Under the Geneva Convention , it is completely illegal for an occupying power to change the laws or political structure of the occupied country. Yet the United Nations and the international community have been idle bystanders as the Bush Administration has changed all of Iraq’s basic economic and political laws, while totally failing in the primary task of providing for the security and basic needs of the Iraqi people.
Thus, as many as 30 oil contracts signed by President Saddam Hussein with oil companies from all around the world, except the US, were simply cancelled.
Iraq oil is now being guzzled by Chevron, Exxon and Marathon. And when you consider that some geologists believe that Iraq’s oil reserves are larger or at par with those of Saudi Arabia, you can envisage a very slow American pullout from the region. No wonder the Central Asian nations with American military bases are no longer keen to play host to Uncle Sam.
America’s obduracy has reinforced the global preference for State-to-State long-term agreements and contracts which serve the energy-security interests of nations, rather than of private corporate entities. Russia’s domination of oil and gas flowing to the West has helped it to re-emerge as a global power in concert with its strategic partners. And, surprising as it may seem, Washington lacks the global leverage to refashion events in its favour.
 Antonia Juhasz, “The Bush Agenda: Invading The World, One Economy At A Time” (Regan Books, April 2006): http://www.amazon.com/Bush-Agenda-Invading-World-Economy/dp/0060846879
 The ICRC’s “The Geneva Conventions: The Core Of International Law”: http://www.icrc.org/Web/Eng/siteeng0.nsf/html/genevaconventions
PLEASE ALSO READ TWO DIRECTLY-RELATED ESSAYS:
•  Stephen Lendman’s 9/16/06 CounterCurrents essay, “Imperialism 101: The US Addiction To War, Mayhem And Madness (Part 1)” [Explains why the US-led aggression in the Middle East and elsewhere are just the latest examples of this nation’s addiction to war, an imperial agenda, and the attempt to implement a “new world order” that no one else wants]: http://www.countercurrents.org/us-lendman160906.htm
•  Naomi Spencer’s 9/15/06 CounterCurrents essay, “US Defense And Oil Company Executives Reap Windfalls From Iraq War” [“The US oil industry has conspicuously benefited from the war in Iraq, at the expense of the lives tens of thousands of Iraqis and the livelihoods of millions. Within the US, ordinary workers are struggling with drastically higher retail gasoline and residential fuel prices.
Meanwhile, chief executives at the fifteen largest American oil companies have received record pay in the years since the ‘war on terror’ was declared.” Goes on to factually document huge spikes in defense contractor and oil company profits, and in their CEOs’ annual salaries.]: