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Why Iraq? The US Drive for Global Hegemony

by Isaac Saney

 
www.globalresearch.ca   5 March 2003

The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/SAN303A.html


INTRODUCTION: ON "JUSTIFICATIONS" FOR WAR

On October 20, 2001 at an Anti-war rally held in the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001 and in the wake of the so-called "war against terrorism" unleashed by the Bush regime, I stated that the world was living through extremely dangerous times that the 21st century had "begun with events that portend violence and human suffering on levels that exceed the woe and weal yet experienced by humanity." 1 Since those words were uttered, developments have borne this out. The lawlessness that now pervades international relations is of course, one of the clearest markers of the terrible danger that confronts us.

A US war against Iraq is imminent. Over the last few months we have witnessed much beating of chests by the Bush administration as they continue to portray Iraq as the gravest threat to world peace. The Bush administration, their camp followers and the media would have it that the issue is whether there exists concrete evidence that Iraq has "weapons of mass destruction". If so, the rhetoric goes, then Iraq is in violation of resolutions passed by the United Nations, is a danger to the rest of the world, and should be militarily attacked by the U.S. and whoever else wishes to participate. However, the UN weapons inspection team has not even found the slightest indication that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction. Indeed, one member of the team stated that not "one iota" of evidence has been found. Moreover, Washington did not provide the intelligence reports it said it would make available to the inspection team. On January 18, 2002 the Associated Press released a report in which its analysts scoured the evidence from the more than 400 UN weapons inspections to that date. Their conclusion: No signs of weapons of mass destruction were found. 2Other similar reports have also produced not one shred of evidence that Iraq has chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. 3

Thus, much confusion has been sown about why the Bush regime is persisting on this road: Is it really a question of seeking the elimination of weapons of mass destruction and the violation of international law by Iraq? Former UN chief weapons inspector in Iraq Richard Butler declared: I flinch when I hear American, British and French fulminations against weapons of mass destruction, ignoring the fact that they are proud owners of massive quantities of these weapons….. 4

It is well-known that the U.S. is the country with the most weapons of mass destruction. It possesses huge amounts of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. For decades, the U.S. has also been instructing foreign specialists, including Iraqi, in chemical and biological warfare at the U.S. Army's chemical school in Fort McClelllan, Alabama. Moreover, poignantly in December 2001, the United States sabotaged the verification mechanism of the Convention on Biological and Toxin Weapons. The reasons given by the Bush regime were "that if biological weapons inspections were to be carried out in the United States they could threaten the technological secrets and profits of U.S. biotech companies." 5 Furthermore, the Pentagon continues apace the development of "new types of nuclear weapons and nuclear war scenarios." 6

Is the issue that Saddam Hussein is a dictator who was not "democratically elected"? The U.S. has a long history of supporting and helping dictatorial regimes come to power all over the world, including South Africa, Indonesia, Guatemala, Chile, and Nicaragua, to name only a few. It is well-known that U.S. financiers, including Bush's grandfather, Senator Prescott Bush, collaborated with German Nazi regime during the 1930s and into the 1940s. As Howard Zinn, the acclaimed American historian noted the US "is not interested in democracy but in regimes it can control." 7

Is the issue Iraqi aggression or potential aggression against other countries? The U.S. has committed aggression against countless countries. Since 1945, the list includes - but is not limited to - Korea, Iran, Guatemala, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Cuba, Haiti, and Grenada. In addition, the U.S. has planned, instigated, and aided violent coups in many other countries, including Iran in 1953, Iraq in 1963 and Indonesia in 1965, where an estimated million people were assassinated. Washington has also supported countless acts of aggression by its allies and surrogates. Among others, the US supported the 1975 Indonesian invasion of East Timor and the brutal war of extermination that followed. In 1982, it threw its weight behind Israel's invasion of Lebanon, which cost the lives of more than 20,000 civilians.

Is the issue "combating terrorism"? The U.S. has always supported terrorism. Osama Bin Laden was trained by the CIA. Nazi war criminal Werner von Braun rained V-2 rockets on London and then, later, headed up the U.S. space program. There are thousands of known terrorists living in the U.S. today, including numerous Cuban exiles, former El Salvador General Jose Guillermo Garcia, Haitian Colonel Carl Dorelian, Chilean secret police agent Armando Lorios, and many others. Indeed, the U.S. has never ratified any of the UN's Conventions against terrorism.

Is the issue Iraq's defiance of the United Nations? Washington has long defied the UN and other world bodies any time it suits its interests. The U.S. simply ignored the UN resolutions condemning its bombing of Libya, and its invasions of Panama and Grenada. In UN voting, the U.S. has been noteworthy for often standing alone or with one or two other countries, such as Israel, against UN resolutions aimed at furthering human rights, nuclear disarmament, economic justice, and other progressive causes. In 1983, when the World Court ruled against the U.S. mining of Nicaraguan harbours, President Reagan refused to recognize the authority of the World Court.

Israel is currently in violation of at least 30 UN Security Council resolutions, including Resolution 487, which requires Israel to open up its nuclear facilities to inspection from the International Atomic Energy Agency. Israel is estimated to possess more than 200 nuclear warheads. 8 Indeed, since 1972 the US consistently has used its veto to protect Israel from various resolutions censuring and condemning its behaviour and disregard for international law. 9 Turkey, a key US ally, is in violation of 24 Security Council resolutions regarding its 1974 invasion of Cyprus. Morocco is in violation of 18 resolutions related to its invasion and annexation of the Western Sahara in 1975. As has been pointed out the "the US has effectively blocked the UN Security Council from enforcing these resolutions against its allies." 10

For many, the hollow ring of the various "justifications" and "pretexts" demonstrate the rank hypocrisy and double standard of Washington as it endeavours to generate one fallacious "excuse" after another to justify the unjustifiable. However, the issue is not simply one of outrageous hypocrisy and blind self-righteousness by the Bush administration. As this paper argues, at the core of the U.S. drive for War on Iraq is the U.S. drive for global hegemony. This determination to ensure and entrench U.S. world hegemony was explicitly outlined in The National Security Strategy of the United States of America: the so-called Bush Doctrine.

When the Bush Doctrine and its antecedents are understood, it becomes abundantly clear that the central issue is not about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, but about guaranteeing an Anglo-American monopoly on weapons of mass destruction. It is not about combating aggression or terrorism, it is about the exclusive right of the US to engage in state terrorism and wage wars of aggression. It is not about defiance of the United Nations, it is about the exclusive right of the US and its allies to defy the United Nations, while other nations are bound by the obligation to respect the United Nations as long as that organization acts in accordance with US will and dictate. Thus, what is revealed is not just hypocrisy but the hegemonic drive of US ruling circles. This is the actual motive underlying the US drive to war.

OIL AND US FOREIGN POLICY

Many have spoken of the perfidious aroma of petroleum that suffuses the US determination to wage war and rain destruction upon the people of Iraq. The oil of the Middle East is viewed as the central objective of the US, the paramount reason undergirding the planned conquest of Iraq.

During the Second World War, the US State Department and the Council for Foreign Relations developed the concept of the Grand Area Planning. The Grand Area was defined as an area "strategically necessary for world control." 11 Critical to the Grand Area conception was the Middle East. The region was described as "a stupendous source of strategic power and one of the greatest material prizes in world history." 12 Thus, after WW 2, particularly in the 1950s, the US supplanted the various European powers that had held sway - primarily Britain and France - and became the dominant force in the region. The US was the prime mover in the creation of the State of Israel, installed and propped up ant-democratic regimes such as the Pahlevi dynasty in Iran and overthrew nationalist regimes.

The result was that from 1940 to 1967, US companies increased their control of Middle Eastern oil from 10% to almost 60%, while British control dropped from 72% to 30%. US oil companies extracted enormous profits. In Iran between 1954 and 1964, US corporations netted a compound interest rate of profit of an incredible 70%. 13 In 1970, the US Commerce Department estimated the net value of US assets in the Middle East at $1.5 billion US, which yielded a profit of $1.2 billion US: a prodigious profit return of 79%. 14 In the 1970s, 40% of all US investment in the Third World and 60% of profits derived from the Third World was oil related. 15 On the basis of this immense wealth oil companies became huge conglomerates that dominated the international economy. In 1973, seven of the 12 largest corporations in the world were oil companies. 16 The so-called "Seven Sisters" still dominate the oil industry: Exxon, Mobil, Chevron, Texaco, Gulf, Shell and BP. The "Seven Sisters" have been joined by the French giant TotalElfFina. 17

The singular importance of the Middle East to the US has been continually underscored in US foreign policy. In the January 5, 1957 address to the US Congress, President Eisenhower outlined what became known as the Eisenhower Doctrine in which the US asserted the right to employ force, if necessary, to assist any nation or group of nations in the general region of the Middle East requesting assistance against armed aggression from any country controlled by "international communism." 18 Ostensibly formulated to preserve regional stability, its primary goal was to preserve and deepen American hegemony as the strategic and economic interests of the US and its allies were increasingly tied to the vast oil reserves in the Middle East. In order to preserve its control, President Nixon devised what became known as the Nixon Doctrine, which focused on creating and buttressing client states, which would serve as instruments of US power in the region. President Carter in the January 23, 1980 State of the Union Address, augmented the Eisenhower Doctrine when he announced a new American policy that came to be deemed the Carter Doctrine. In the wake of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Carter warned that: An attempt by an outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force. 19 However, while the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was presented as the overriding reason for establishing the Carter Doctrine, it was, in particular, the Iranian Revolution and, in general, the victories of several revolutionary movements in Africa, Asia and Latin America in the 1970s that provided the underlying impetus. Thus, as its predecessor the Eisenhower Doctrine, the Carter Doctrine's aim was to preserve US dominance through military means, especially in the face of increasing challenge by anti-imperialist forces. Towards this end the Pentagon in 1980 created the Rapid Deployment Task Force, which became in 1983 US Central Command.

In the wake of the collapse of the USSR and the East Bloc, the US sought to deepen its hold on the Middle East. The months preceding Iraq's August 2 invasion of Kuwait provide a very fascinating and telling story. In Jan 1990, Judge William Webster, Director of the CIA testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the rising Western dependence on Middle East oil, particularly the Persian Gulf. In February of that same year, General Schwarzkopf told the Committee that the US should expand its military presence in the region and outlined military plans for intervention that required the establishment of permanent military bases. In May the Center for Strategic and International Studies completed a study initiated two years earlier detailing the outcome of a war between the US and Iraq. This report was circulated in the Congress and the Pentagon. Throughout 1990 several war games, premised on repelling an Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, were staged. 20 On July 25, 1990 April Glaspie, US Ambassador to Iraq, told Saddam Hussein regarding the growing friction between Iraq and Kuwait that Washington has "no opinion on Arab- Arab conflict, like your border disagreement with Kuwait." She further added that she was expressing official policy and that Secretary of State, George Shultz, "has directed our official spokesmen to emphasize this instruction." 21 Glaspie was, thus, merely reiterating the directions of a State Department communiqué received on 24 July. On July 27, the CIA informed the US Senate Intelligence Committee that all indications pointed to an Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990. On July 31st, two days after the CIA informed the US Senate Intelligence Committee and two days before the Iraqi invasion, John Kelly, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern affairs, testified to an open session of the US Congress that the "United States has no commitment to defend Kuwait and the U.S. has no intention of defending Kuwait if it is attacked by Iraq." 22

On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait, claiming it as its "19th province." The resulting Gulf War - waged by a U.S. led and dominated coalition and fought ostensibly to "liberate" Kuwait - destroyed large areas of Iraq and Kuwait, including Baghdad and other cities. The Gulf War allowed Washington to escalate its military presence, tighten its grip on the region and open up the road for massive investment of billions of dollars by US multinational companies, especially in the oil rich Caspian Sea region. The prevailing situation was aptly encapsulated by Zbigniew Brzenski - a Carter national security advisor - and Brent Scowcroft - national security advisor to Bush Sr. - who asserted that it was "imperative that all parties understand an important strategic reality: the United States is in the Persian Gulf to stay." 23 However, the events of the 1990s took place against the backdrop of the increasing economic challenge posed by Europe and Japan, which together by the 1980s had surpassed the US.

ENERGY IN THE 21st CENTURY

Global oil use is 77 million barrels a day. In 20 years it is projected to reach 120 million barrels a day. World energy consumption is projected to increase dramatically over the next few decades. By 2020 it is anticipated that the Asian economies, lead by China, will consume 25% of the world's energy, the US - 25%, Western Europe - 18%; Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union - 13%; and Latin America - 5%. Currently, the US consumes approximately 20- 25 million barrels of oil per day i.e. nearly 1 out of every 3 barrels produced. The US has an estimated 2% of the world's oil reserves but uses 25% of the world's oil. Twenty-four percent of US oil imports are from the Middle East. This is expected to rise sharply as other sources disappear.

The Middle East contains 65% of the world's proven reserves. Iraq alone has 12% of the world's proven reserves, an estimated 112 billion barrels. The US Energy Department further calculates that Iraq has as much as 220 billion barrels in "probable and possible" reserves, enough to cover present US imports for 98 years. It is estimated that within seven years of the lifting of sanctions, Iraqi oil production could rise from 3 million to 6 million, or even 10 million barrels per day. 24

At present, the French corporation TotalFinaElf has the lion's share in Iraq, with exclusivity to exploit the huge Majnoor and Bin Umar oil fields. The Majnoor field has an estimated potential of 30 billion barrels of oil, larger the proven reserves of the US. Also, the Italian oil company Eni and the Russian consortium LukOil have negotiated very large deals and concessions. LukOil signed a $20 billion US contract in 1997 to develop the West Qurna field, which is estimated to have a potential 15 billion barrels. Another Russian company, Zarubezhneft, recently negotiated a contract worth $90 billion US. The potential total value of the Iraqi contracts with foreign corporations is estimated at $1.1 trillion US. 25

However, a US military occupation of Iraq and the establishment of US controlled government would likely lead to the cancellation of these deals, with US companies filling the breach. This has been explicitly stated by the various individuals that Washington is grooming to form the post Saddam Hussein government. US oil corporations are already positioning themselves for re-entry into Iraq and Iran. As Robert J. Allison Jr., chairman of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation stated, "We bought into Qatar and Oman to get a foothold in the Middle East…We need to position ourselves in the Middle East for when Iraq and Iran become part of the family of nations again." 26 This is in line with the Bush administration's statements that an U.S. military governor will be established to directly rule Iraq. 27 Washington would then develop and hold in trust Iraqi oil: in short, siphon of Iraq's wealth. 28

OIL BY ITSELF IS NOT ENOUGH However, oil by itself is not sufficient to explain why the US is so intent on waging war. What is at stake is not simply a massive gorging on oil profits by American oil monopolies: a war to fill the coffers of the oil giants. While oil is a critical factor, it must be seen within the larger context of the clash of the aims and interests of the great powers in the geo-political arena, as an integral part of the overall US strategy for global hegemony, for world supremacy. Oil is but one of a constellation of objectives behind the multi-faceted and multi-pronged pronged US drive for global supremacy. It is a means to an end.

By focusing solely on oil, we miss the overall forest for the trees. To consider oil as the over-riding motive behind the US drive to war on Iraq is to single out the symptom while ignoring the disease. This is why the slogan "NO BLOOD FOR OIL" - while well meaning - is misleading and deceptive; it masks the true nature of the danger that looms, the calamity that hangs over the globe.

THE DRIVE FOR U.S. HEGEMONY

The present period is characterized by Washington's push to permanently entrench its hegemony by imposing arrangements that will ensure US domination in the 21st Century and beyond. The National Security Strategy of the United States of America - the Bush Doctrine- released by the White House in September 2002 established the policies that the most aggressive sections of the US ruling circles see as essential to preserving and extending American economic and political dominance. Central to this stratagem - in reality an ultimatum issued to the world - are:

1) The preservation of US military dominance in the world: The National Security Document states"[i] t is time to reaffirm the essential role of American military strength. We must build and maintain our defenses beyond challenge." 29 Another critical objective identified was the dissuasion of "future military competition" 30 by any other country by ensuring that US "forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries form pursuing a military build-up in hopes of surpassing, or equalling, the power of the United States;" 31

2) The resolve to launch pre-emptive strikes at anyone it perceives as or labels a threat, anywhere and at any time. The Bush regime has made it clear that they "will not hesitate to act alone;" 32and,

3) The destruction of the framework of international law and the fundamental norms of diplomacy. This has centred on the re-sanctification of the use of force in international relations: the principle of might is right. This requires a whole-scale reconstitution of international law to suit US interests. 33 The goal is to naturalize US dictate.

It is imperative to emphasize that while the immediate source of The National Security Strategy is the ruminations of the Bush regime, the position it formulates was developed at the end of the Cold War. Moreover, the current approach is primarily aimed at the European Union. In 1992 the Pentagon produced a document entitled Defense Planning Guidance. In this document a misgiving eye was cast on Germany and Japan, predicting that these countries would enter into "global competition with the United States," resulting in "a crisis over national interests, military rivalry." 34 The document further outlined that Washington should actively make every effort to undermine Europe's attempt to assert an independent role. It argued that the US "must seek to prevent the emergence of Europe-only security arrangements which would undermine NATO, particularly the alliance's integrated command structure." 35Furthermore, it was emphasized that the continuance of US dominance required maintaining "the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role." 36

In 1994 the US Congressional Research Service concurred with the Pentagon's conclusions in the Defense Planning Guidance document. It stated that the prevailing view in US ruling circles was that European integration would have "negative consequences for US interests." 37 Indeed, the central importance of US efforts to control and even exercise hegemony in Europe, in order to ensure American pre-eminence in the world, cannot be overstated. As Henry Kissinger opined, NATO was the US "prize for victory in the Cold War" and was the principal institutional link between America and Europe." 38 In short, it was the fulcrum of US hegemony in Europe. One of the principal objectives of NATO, as lucidly stated by Gabriel Robin, former French representative to NATO, is "to serve as a chaperon of Europe" and "prevent it from establishing itself as an independent fortress and perhaps one day, a rival." 39

The 1990's were marked by, among other developments of crucial significance to humanity, significant political changes within the European Union, changes aimed at achieving and securing independence from the US. Germany and France throughout this period increasingly and openly advocated European autonomy. This rhetoric was paralleled by specific policies and measures aimed at actually concretely establishing an independent global role. The clearest indication was the adoption of the European Security and Defense Identity Policy in December 1991 at the Maastricht Conference. The resulting establishment of the joint Franco-Germany army corps - viewed as an embryonic pan-European army - was the immediate result. Of course, this move to an independent European foreign and military policy was seen as a "threat to NATO and US dominance." 40 Indeed, the US has since actively undermined the European Security and Defense Identity Policy, encouraging and pressuring the smaller European countries not to participate.

The coming of the Euro not only heralded a new stage in European economic integration but, also, an important potential challenge to the dominance of the US dollar as the international reserve currency. Indeed, it presaged a real threat to US global primacy. As Helmut Schmidt, former German Chancellor, observed the Euro would "set up a monumental conflict…it will change the whole world situation so that the United States can no longer call all the shots." 41 Poignantly, some in US also came to the same conclusion. Martin Feldstein, former head of the President's Council of Economic Advisors, stated that the monetary integration of Europe could alter "the political character of Europe in ways that could lead to…confrontation with the United States." He went on further to emphasize that the European monetary union could lead to a world that was "very different and not necessarily a safer place." 42

These latent tendencies are now surfacing as serious and undeniably antagonistic contradictions. The Euro has increased markedly in strength, trading at more than 1 to 1 against the US dollar and is, thus, mounting a serious challenge to the US dollar as the world's dominant currency. Moreover, the EU - in particular Germany and France - desire to challenge the characterization vis-à-vis the US of being economic giants but political dwarfs. In short, the European Union - especially an increasingly assertive Berlin and Paris - represent the most powerful challenge to US global ascendancy, both economically - as one of the largest economic units in the world - and by its ever-growing independence from Washington's dictate.

Critical to the project of maintaining US hegemony, specifically ensuring that the European Union "knows" its place, is the reshaping of the Middle East according to US imperial schemes. All the U.S. government's purported "reasons" for war in Iraq are a smokescreen to hide the true intention of Middle East domination, its oil included, for purposes of keeping Europe in check and dominating Asia. This requires reducing the region to a situation akin to the colonial status that existed before World War Two. This is the task, which the first Bush administration set itself under the so-called New World Order and is now being consummated by the second Bush administration. A September 10, 2002 article in the Boston Globe captured the intended scheme: Iraq, the hawks argue, is just the first piece of the puzzle. After the ouster of Hussein, they say, the United States will have more leverage to act against Syria and Iran, and will be in a better position to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and will be able to rely less on Saudi oil…."The goal is not just a new regime in Iraq. The goal is a new Middle East,'' said Raad Alkadiri, an Iraq analyst with PFC, a Washington-based energy consulting organization. 'The goal has been and remains one of the main driving factors of preemptive action against Iraq." A friendly Iraq- home to the world's second-largest oil reserves - would provide an alternative to Saudi Arabia for basing US troops. Its oil would make Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, less important in setting prices, he said. In general, others contend, a US allied-Iraq could work to diminish the influence of OPEC, long dominated by Saudi Arabia, over oil supplies and prices."43

US ruling circles seek through this war to extend and cement their domination over the entire region and, thus, facilitate the projection of their power on a global scale. Indeed, absolute control of the Middle East is crucial to the American Empire. In his book The Grand Chessboard, Zbigniew Brezezinki - former National Security Advisor to US President Carter and a major intellectual of the American ruling class - stated that in order to maintain its global dominance the US must control Eurasia, an area encompassing the Middle and Central Asia. 44 Indeed, he identified that task as "central to America's capacity to exercise global primacy." 45 To control Eurasia would allow the US to wield overweening influence on its main rivals: the burgeoning European Union and Japan. As Jay Brookman, an editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution stated the war against Iraq "would be the culmination of a plan 10 years or the more in the making, carried out by those who believe the United States must seize the opportunity for global domination, even if means becoming the "American Imperialists" that our enemies always claimed we were." 46

The objectives behind establishing dominion over the Middle East include:

1. Direct U.S. control of Iraq or rule by Washington puppets would allow domination of the Persian Gulf and bring 65 per cent of the world's known oil reserves under U.S. control. Washington would ensure that the EU, Japan and China would thus become dependent on US controlled oil for their most vital energy requirements. The oil spigot would be in American hands. Pepe Escobar, a writer for the Asia Times, summed it up: "Oil and gas are not the ultimate aims of the US. It's about control…If the US controls the sources of energy of its rivals -Europe, Japan, China and other nations aspiring to be more independent - they win." 47

2. The occupation of Iraq and the installation of a regime under American control would leave "Iran (itself an oil power and part of Bush's "Axis of Evil") almost completely surrounded by U.S. military bases in Central Asia to the north, Turkey and Iraq to the West, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman to the South, and Pakistan and Afghanistan to the east." 48 Direct control of Iraq will convert Iraq into the perfect US weapon to keep the rest of the Middle East under its domination; much like the U.S. used Japan as a military base and supplier during the Korean conflict and the Vietnam War. Who knows? After the conquest of Iraq, maybe the U.S. command will start an "anti-feudal" campaign to "liberate" all the feudal emirates around the Persian Gulf and use their control of oil to finance a war against another member of the "evil axis," the Islamic Republic of Iran.

3. The US would then participate in augmenting Israel's campaign to both suppress and crush the national liberation struggle of the Palestinians and territorially expand at the expense of its Arab neighbours. The resistance of the Palestinians has been a major obstacle to US designs.

4. The encirclement of China by military bases would continue. It is important to note that China, the fastest growing economy in the world, is a potent political, economic and military impediment to the projection of US power in Asia. Also, China stands at the heart of the largest free trade area in the world: the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) trading bloc contains more than 1.7 billion people and is increasingly a new and potent site of world capital accumulation. In short, China is emerging as a new geopolitical pole of power.

5. The war against Iraq and the eventual occupation of the Middle East would completely "free" the US from any obligations or responsibilities under the system of international law and norms, leading to the resanctification of force in international relations. Thus, Washington would re-introduce might is right as the governing principle of international relations, while simultaneously ensuring that it is the paramount economic and military hegemon.

6. The resulting devastation of Iraq would serve as an example to anyone who seeks to flout or challenge US dictate.

7. The war would serve Washington's goal of extinguishing the right to self-determination and negate the rights of the world's peoples to carry out their affairs without external interference. Under the justification of removing the threat of so-called "failed state" to world peace and order, the policy of recolonization would be re-initiated.

8. By conquering Iraq and extending its absolute sway in the region the Bush regime would be able to establish an exclusive US dollar zone, effectively barring the Euro, thereby, strengthening US currency against European and other potential challengers. Moreover, "since 2000, Iraq has tried to undermine the hegemony of the dollar in world trade - with all its implications for U.S. financial domination - by selling its oil in Euros." 49 Through the control of Iraqi oil, the Washington would ensure that that future sales are in dollars, thereby, simultaneously shoring up the dollar at the expense of the Euro and funnelling profits to the U.S. oil conglomerates. This foreshadows an immediate future struggle. As the contradictions between them intensify and deepen, the world imperial centres will engage in a titanic contest to determine which currency will be the ascendant global "legal tender."

9. US ruling circles seek to divert the US population's attention from the growing US economic crisis. The financial woes continue unabated. The monthly US trade deficit reached a record $40 billion US for November 2002. The 2002 general accounts deficit is projected to exceed $400 billion US. 50 Thus, to meet its shortfalls and cover the deficit the US requires a net inflow - i.e. must borrow - more than $2 billion daily. Moreover, the US dollar has steadily declined in value in relation to the other major currencies. Rates of industrial investment and output are static or decreasing. Indebtedness, at both the corporate and personal level has reached record levels. In the last quarter of 2002 the U.S. economy grew by only 0.7%. A "dismal performance" that raises "concerns that the economy could yet slide back into recession." 51 Thus, the American "economy is faltering, unemployment is rising, consumer confidence is weakening and economic uncertainty widespread." 52 The Bush regime hopes to overcome this crisis through the exertion of military force. Thus, the press is awash with articles outlining the benefits to the US economy of a seizure of Iraqi oil. However, the link between economic prosperity and war - e.g. the creation of more jobs, wage increases etc. - is a fallacious construct. Moreover, the U.S. economic throes are part of a growing world economic crisis. Some projections forecast world economic growth for 2003 at only 2.2%. A growth of 2.5% and less is considered by many economists to demarcate recession. Stagflation, a Depression era spectre long thought exorcised, now haunts the globe. These phenomena underline the "world economy's fragility." 53

INTER-IMPERIALIST CONTRADICTIONS

Direct military control of the Middle East would translate into even more immense US economic and political power on the worldscale. In the 1970s the US lost economic ground to Europe and Japan. The US share of the world GDP shrunk from year to year. However, with the collapse of the USSR and the Eastern Bloc, leaving the US as the only superpower, the US ruling class saw this as an opportunity to consolidate a Pax Americana - i.e. permanently cement into place a unipolar world. Thus, the Bush doctrine is a continuation of this strategy. To achieve world hegemony the US ruling class is determined to reorganize and restructure the world politically and economically to reflect and serve its interests. This necessitates the subordination of not only underdeveloped countries such as Iraq, but also, and above all, its powerful international rivals in Western Europe and Japan.

However, the EU - specifically, Germany and France - will not countenance a US stranglehold on the Middle East. But there exists an asymmetry in power. While the EU wishes to challenge US unilateralism there are limits on the level of opposition it can mount at this time. As it cannot match US military might, the German and French ruling classes seek to promote and pursue their own self-interests through the United Nations and international law. In this way they wish to safeguard their stake in the Middle East and mitigate US control of the region. It is not humanitarian concern for the fate of Iraq's people that accounts for the German and French opposition to the US drive to war but the recognition that America's rush for absolute hegemony poses a serious threat to the political, economic and strategic interests of the German and French ruling classes: the goal of the global projection of their power would be forestalled. This vulnerability is evidenced and epitomized by a special Deutsche Bank report advising the purchase of ExxonMobil, which is considered to be "ideally positioned to get new reserves after Saddam is toppled." 54 The report observes that: Exxon Mobil's status as the largest US oil company gives it major weight with the US government. The company may find itself in pole position in regime-changed Iraq. 55

Central in comprehending the US push to war against Iraq is realizing that it is the part of a scheme that attempts to impose US dictate in international relations and to implement a new redivision of the world: a new appropriation of markets, sources of raw materials, zones for investment and spheres of influence that US ruling circles hope to accomplish at the expense of its global competitors. However, history demonstrates that the other powers will not stand idly by. They will seek to impose their own wishes on the world and seek a global division that serves their own interests. Thus, intense contradictions - inter- imperialist rivalries - emerge. Contradictions that can be smoothed over peacefully for a time but - as World War One and World War Two testify - these contradictions and rivalries ultimately cannot be contained within the confines of peaceful resolution and inevitably result in world war. Hence, we are entering a period in which one of the main features will be increasing contention and tensions between the world's main power centres. The economic, strategic and "security interests of the French and Germans are incompatible with those of the Americans." 56 The bitter diplomatic fissure surrounding the war on Iraq augurs for a future direct and open conflict - inevitably violent - between the major world powers.

Therefore, the course the US has taken will guarantee nothing but a string of one war after another. This is the threat that faces us. The maturing latent and nascent great power tensions, evidenced in the emerging differences and frictions between, on one side, Germany and France and, on the other, the US, portend a planetary conflagration. The interests of the great powers - the US and the so-called anti-US bloc (primarily Germany and France) - are unable, by themselves, to avoid resorting to the use of force, threat of war and actual war to settle their differences. The abolition of war necessitates the abolition of the imperialist system.

However, it is the peoples of the world, the ones who will bear the suffering that can stay the hands of the warmongers. As a first step, Canadians must prevent our own government from conciliating with the U.S. war preparations, whether with or without the UN Security Council. By going into motion and fighting for a just and peaceful world, we can show that another world is possible. This is the main clash that will determine the future of humanity: on one hand, the aim of imperialism to entrench and deepen its global domination in all spheres and, on the other, the aim of the world's peoples to harmonize and humanize the natural and social environments.

At present, the forces of reaction and retrogression have the upper hand. But the space for change exists. Resistance to the imperialist warmongering is growing and can no longer be ignored by the ruling circles. The struggle for self-determination - epitomized, for example, by the heroic people of Palestine and Cuba - has sharpened. People will not allow themselves to be marginalized. Indeed, there is a burgeoning movement of enlightenment that refuses to subordinate human beings and humanity to the demands and dictates of capital, seeking to establish a world in which individuals and collectives have inalienable rights by the very dint that THEY ARE; THEY EXIST.

With this in mind and given the immediacy of the dangers facing us, we must occupy and extend the space for change by challenging the massive and all-sided disinformation and by developing venues for serious discussion and principled analysis. The all-sided disinformation campaign is aimed at paralysing the polity by sowing the maximum confusion and disorientation, thus, leaving the political and social terrain free for the ruling circles, who, unencumbered, will continue their ongoing efforts to strip basic rights from the people and violate all norms of civilized practice with impunity.


LET US RESOLUTELY DECLARE THAT THIS SHALL NOT, WILL NOT AND CANNOT PASS! A WORLD OF JUSTICE, PEACE AND HUMAN DIGNITY IS NOT ONLY POSSIBLE AND NECESSARY: IT IS INEVITABLE!
NO TO A U.S. OR A UN LED AGGRESSION AGAINST IRAQ!
CANADA MUST UPHOLD THE UN CHARTER AND NOT COMMIT CRIMES AGAINST PEACE! ALL FORWARD TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF AN ANTI-WAR GOVERNMENT!

NOTES

Isaac Saney, "On the War," shunpiking magazine, January 2002.

2 See The Halifax Daily News, January 19, 2003.

3"Annan sees no reason for attack on Iraq," Globe & Mail, January1, 2003, p.1.

4Sydney Morning Herald, October 3, 2002.

5"U.S. Imperial Ambitions and Iraq," Monthly Review, December 2002, p. 8.

6 "UN official attacks U.S. nuclear stand," Globe and Mail, February 27, 2003.

7 "The New New World Order," Macleans, January 27, 2003, p. 22.

8 See, among others, Avner Cohen, Israel and the Bomb (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998) and various reports of Jane's Defense Weekly.

9 Manchester Guardian, September 24, 2002.

10 News Release, Institute for Public Accuracy, October 9, 2002.

11Joyce and Gabriel Kolko, The Limits of Power (New York: Harper and Row, 1972), p.242.

12bid.

13Michael Tanzer, The Energy Crisis: World Struggle for Power and Wealth (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1974), p.58.

14Anthony Sampson, The Seven Sisters (New York: Viking Press, 1975), p.60.

15Tanzer, op. cit., p. 60.

16Sampson, op. cit., p. 189.

17See Sean Gonsalves, "Corporate Interest in Iraqi Oil," Seattle Post-Intelligence, August 2, 2002.

18For Eisenhower's exposition of the doctrine see, The Department of State Bulletin, XXXV1, No. 917, January 21, 1957, p. 83-87.

19Michael T. Klare, Resource Wars (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2001), p.4.

20See US News & World Report, Triumph without Victory: The Unreported History of the Persian Gulf War (New York: Time Books, 1991, p. 28-30 and Chapter 2) and "The Road to War," Newsweek, January 28, 1991. Also, see James Blackwell, Thunder in the Desert (New York: bantam Books, 1991), p. 80-87.

21See "The Glaspie Transcript: Saddam Meets the US Ambassador," in Micah Sifry and Christopher Cerf The Gulf War Reader: History, Documents, Opinions, (New York: Times Books, 1991, p. 130) and "Mr. Bush's Fateful Blunder," New York Times 17, July 1991.

22As quoted in Geoff Simons, The Scourging of Iraq: Sanctions, Law and Natural Justice, (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996), p. 3.

23Zbigniew Brzenski, Brent Scowcroft and Richard Murphy, "Differentiated Containment, Foreign Affairs, May/June 1997, p. 30.

24See Energy Information Administration, "World Oil Demand 1970 -2001;" Energy Information Administration, "World Energy Outlook 2002,"and Energy Information Administration, "World Primary Energy Consumption 2002," all available at www.eia.doe.gov . Also see, Klare, op. cit., p.61.

25 "Scramble to carve up Iraqi oil reserves lies behind US diplomacy," The London Observer, October 6, 2002.

26 New York Times, October 22, 2002.

27 See, "Iraqi opposition slams plan for military governor," The London Observer, February 16, 2003; "Exile leaders fault U.S. postwar plans," MSNBC NEWS, February 11, 2003 and "Emerging U.U. military leaders," CNN.Com, December 25, 2002.

28See "Planning Underway To Manage Iraqi Oil," Boston Globe, January 26, 2003, and "Iraqi oil, America Bonanza" In post war Iraq, U.S. companies could be major players," MSNBC News, January 11, 2003.

29Office of the President of the United States of America, The National Security Strategy of the United States of America (Washington: Office of the President of the United States of America, 2002), p.29.

30 Ibid., p. 29.

31 Ibid., p.30.

32 Ibid., p.6 and p.15.

33 Ibid., p.15.

34 "US Strategy Calls for Ensuring No Rivals Develop", New York Times, March 8, 1992. Also, see Der Spiegel, March 16, 1992, p. 18-21.

35 Ibid.

36Ibid.

37 Stanley R. Sloan, "U.S.-West European Relations and Europe’s Future," in Glennon, J. Harrison ed., Europe and the United States (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1994), p. 171.

38Henry Kissinger, Diplomacy (New York: Simon and Shuster, 1994), p. 819- 820.

39 As quoted in David N. Gibbs, "Washington’s New Interventionism: U.S. Hegemony and Inter-Imperialist Rivalries," Monthly Review, September 2001, p. 23.

40 Ibid., p. 24.

41 William Drozdiak,"U.S. Dominance Breeds Irritation," International Herald Tribune, November 5, 1997.

42Martin Feldstein, "EMU and Internation Conflict," Foreign Affairs, November/December 1997, p.2 &21.

43 Boston Globe, September 10, 2002.

44The so-called "war against terrorism" and the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan cannot be separated from the rush to war against Iraq. The geo-political and economic objectives of U.S. imperialism in Central Asia are an integral part of Washington's drive for absolute hegemony. Some experts assert that the development of the oil fields in this region, together with the ones in Iran and Iraq, will supplant the importance of the oilfields in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The region is estimated to contain 20% of the world's oil reserves - 270 billion barrels of oil - and one eighth of the world's reserves in natural gas - 655 trillion cubic metres. The Caspian region, alone, is calculated to contain 115 billion barrels of oil, with energy reserves "many times greater than those of the North Sea." The oil in the Kashagan oilfield in Kazakhstan is estimated to exceed the entire US oil reserves. The mammoth Tenghiz oilfield, also in Kazakhstan, is among the largest in the world. At present, US companies have obtained around 75% of the Tenghiz oilfield, with the Chevron Corporation being the heaviest investor (See, Jan H. Kalicki, "Caspian Energy at the Crossroads," Foreign Affairs, September/October 2001, p. 121). One estimate places the value of the Central Asian oil and gas reserves at $4 trillion US (See, Kurbanov, E. and Sanders, B. Caspian Sea Oil Riches: A Mixed Blessing (College Park, MD: The Center for International Development and Conflict Management's Monograph Series, University of Maryland, 1998) and "Moscow's Man in Armenia and Armenia's Man in the Kremlin," Caspian Watch #11: US Interests Jeopardized As Kremlin Prevails, (Centre for Security Policy, No. 98-D56, March 31, 1998). The area is key to the economic development plans of several surrounding countries, for example Russia, China, India and Pakistan. Thus, the US is determined to penetrate and undermine spheres of Russian and Chinese influence in this strategic and resource rich region. It is revealing that one of the major oil and gas news agencies - World News Network, October 15, 2001 - advanced the following analysis: "While the bombardment of Afghanistan outwardly appears to hinge on issues of fundamentalism and American retribution, below the surface lurks the prize of the energy-rich Caspian basin into which the oil majors have invested billions of dollars. Ultimately, this war will set the boundaries of US and Russian influence in Central Asia - and determine the future of oil and gas resources of the Caspian Sea." In 1998 - then CEO of Halliburton - the world’s largest provider of oil and gas services - and now US Vice-President - Dick Cheney told a gathering of oil industry executives, "I can't think of a time when we've had a region emerge as suddenly to become as strategically significant as the Caspian." (See The Manchester Guardian October 23, 2001). In October 1999 the US Department of Defense transferred "senior command authority over American Forces in Central Asia from Pacific Command to Central Command." This "represented a significant shift in American strategic thinking," entailing the recognition of Central Asia as "a major strategic prize."(Michael T. Klare, "The New Geography of Conflict," Foreign Affairs, May/June 2001, p.49). In the wake of the war in Afghanistan, the Bush administration has signed military agreements with the various countries in the area permitting the stationing of U.S. troops for an indefinite period.

45 Zbigniew Brezezinski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its GeoStrategic Imperatives (New York: Basic Books, 1997), p.xiv.

46 Jay Brookman, "The President's Real Goal in Iraq," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, October 4, 2002.

47 Pepe Escobar," The roving eye, Pipelinestan," Asia Times, January 26, 2002.

48 "U.S. Imperial Ambitions and Iraq," Monthly Review, December 2002, p. 11.

49 Bertel Olman, "Why War With Iraq? Why Now?, ZNET, February 23, 2003 at www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm? SectionID=5&ItemID=3112.

50 See, "U.S. International Trade in Goods and Servicers," U.S. Census Bureau, January 17, 2002 and Bruce Odessey, " U.S. Trade Deficit Down in September; Exports, Imports Both Drop (Deficit for first nine months up 17 percent from same period year earlier)," US Department of State: Washington File November 11, 2002.

51 "A Temporary Setback," The Economist Global Agenda, January 30, 2003

52 Ibid.

53 "Look if you dare," The Economist, January 30, 2003.

54 "U.S. Admits Plans To Snatch Iraqi Oil Fields," The London Daily Mirror, January 25, 2003.

55Ibid.

56 Andre Gerolymatos, "Crumbling Alliance: Conflict of Interests," Globe and Mail, February 12, 2003.


This text was first presented at the Halifax Political Forums: Peace and Nations in the 21st Century: Understanding the Causes of War, Halifax, Canada.  Isaac Saney teaches at Henson College, Dalhousie University and IDS, Saint Mary's University. Copyright Isaac Saney 2003.  For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement .


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