Oil, War and U.S. Foreign Policy. Essay
Oil, War and U.S. Foreign Policy.
The war against Iran by the Anglo-American powers has been in planning since 1990s as part of their Greater Middle East strategy. A number of sources have recently reported plans by the Iranian government to institute a Tehran oil bourse and this might be the hidden agenda behind the evident march to war by the Anglo-American powers on Iran. The oil bourse argument is a red herring which diverts the attention of people from the real geopolitical grounds which is behind the real motive for the march to the war which is a high risk game on the nuclear weapon.
In 1996, two neo-conservatives, Douglas Feith and Richard Perle who later played an important role in the formulation of the Pentagon policy in the Middle East under the Bush administration authored a paper which was presented to the elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The advisory paper, “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm”, had the intention of making Netanyahu to make “a clean break from the peace process”.
Feith and Perle also demanded Netanyahu to strengthen the defense of Israel against Syria and Iraq and to attack Iran as the prop for Syria. More than a year before the declaration of the former US president George W Bush of his “shock and awe” operations against Iraq, he made his January 2002 State of the Union address which is now infamous to the Congress in which he Iran, together with North Korea and Iraq as members of the “axis of evil” trio. This occurred before anybody in Tehran had even considered establishing an oil bourse in trading oil in various currencies.
According to Engdahl, the US believed that the Tehran oil bourse would be the casus belli, which would trigger the pushing of Washington down the road to the potentiality of annihilation of Iran, which seems to be based on the notion that trading on oil openly to other nations in other currencies would make Tehran set in to motion a chain of events in which buyer after buyer, nation after nation, would come to buy oil no longer in US dollars but in euros.
This in turn according to an argument, would lead to a panic in selling of the US dollars on the world foreign exchange markets and also lead to the collapse of the role of the US dollar as the reserve currency, which is one of the pillars of the “US Empire”. According to Engdahl in his book, A Century of War, the creation of “petrodollar recycling” in 1974, which is a process where the by then US secretary of state Henry Kissinger was deeply involved, led to oil price hike of 400% and this was orchestrated by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Engdahl puts it that US dollar did not manage to become a “petrodollar” even though Kissinger emphasized the process of “recycling petrodollar”. According to the author, what Kissinger was referring to was the initiation of a new phase of global hegemony of US in which the export earnings from the petrodollar of OPEC oils lands would be recycled back to the hands of the major London and New York banks and later re-lent in the form of US dollars to other nations which are deficient in oil such as Argentina and Brazil and this led to the creation of what was soon to be known as the Latin America debt crisis.
By this time, the US dollar had been a fiat issue since August 1971 following the abrogation of the Bretton Woods Treaty and refusal by the then US president Richard Nixon to redeem US dollars which were held in foreign central banks for gold. Due to the 400% increase in oil prices, nations such as Germany, France, and Japan suddenly had the reason to buy oil in their own currencies with the aim of lessening the pressure on their reserves of trade dollars which was rapidly declining. This led to the coming up of the Pentagon and US treaty partly with their secret diplomacy by Kissinger through bullying threats
According to Engdahl, the US military were sent to Afghanistan for two main reasons; the first reason was to restore and control the world’s largest supplier of opium in the world while at the same time use the drugs as a geopolitical weapon against their opponents especially Russia. The control of the drug market is an essential ingredient for the liquidity of the corrupt and bankrupt Wall Street financial market. U. S. Military and CIA Interventions in the Middle-East. Blom traces the origin of the current conflict from the brutal 1980-88 war which was between Iran and Iraq.
At the time of the war, Kuwait was busy stealing oil from the Iraqi territory which was worth more than $2. 4 billion of oil. Soon after the battle, United Emirates and Kuwait started to exceed the production quotas that had been established by OPEC and this led to flooding in the oil market leading to a reduction on oil prices. This led Iraq to become deeply in debt and the then president Saddam Hussein declared this policy a threat to hi country by pointing out that Iraq was loosing billions of dollars each year due to the drop in oil prices.
In an attempt to offset these loses, Saddam decided to gain possession of the two Gulf islands which were blocking Iraq from ownership of Rumaila oilfield. Kuwait continued to ignore Iraq’s territorial and financial demands and the OPEC’s request to follow the quota system and this led to Iraq to form large number of troops who were posted along the Kuwait border. This led to the intervention of the US who viewed themselves as the world’s supper power.
After Iraq attacked Kuwait, US came to the defense of Kuwait by declaring that their interest was in protecting nations with whom they had longstanding and deep ties while at the same time, The White House declared their concern about the buildup of troops by Iraq. According to the author, United States had an official position on the Kuwait-Iraq border dispute. This is evident from the official statement that were found by the Iraqis in some of the Kuwait intelligence files which was a memorandum concerning a meeting between the CIA Director William Webster and Kuwait state security in November 1989.
in the document, there was an agreement between the Americans and Kuwait that it was of great importance to take advantage of the deteriorating economic situation in Iraq with the aim of putting pressure on Iraq’ government so as to delineate their common borders. It is evident that US was involved from the beginning and advised Kuwait to apply pressure on Iraq so as destabilize the country economically. The CIA later denied these allegations saying that it was a fabrication. Blum puts it that the US has been behind the Kurdish’ slaughter of many innocent citizens and also encouraged the Shiite Muslims in Iraq to rebel.
All these were done in an attempt to incite Saddam so that he could incite a coup which would result in to the intervention of the United States. The killings in the Persian Gulf by the American soldiers have been due to a voice command from George Herbert Walker Bush according Blum. The United States started supporting Afghan Islamic fundamentalists in 1979 in their bid to fight the Soviet Union. The US continued with their support despite the kidnapping of American ambassador in the capital city of Kabul in February 1979. American intervention according to Blom had some hidden agenda.
The US was using lies and tricks to gain influence of Iraq so as to control the oil prices. In both cases, the authors recognize the use the use of tricks by the US government to make the Middle East unstable. Both the authors share a common view on the idea behind the control of Middle East affairs. In both cases, the authors acknowledge the use of military force in the wars in the Middle East and in both cases, it appears that US is the main cause of all these wars. The aim of the United States according to the two authors is to take control of the rich oil nations and make sure that they continue to price and sell oil in US dollars.
They both acknowledge the pretence of the US to send their military force in these countries with the aim of restoring peace while in the real sense; the US is after establishing permanent military base in places such as Iraq so that they can control the resources of these countries. Under the Bush administration, there was a severe military attack in Iraq with the aim of removing Saddam from power with the pretence that he was behind manufacturing of nuclear weapons. After the attack, it became apparently clear that such a thing never existed in Iraq.
Bush was only accomplishing a war that was started by his father against Saddam who had refused to consent to the demands of the United States. The Use of Torture in Iraq and Afghanistan. A lot has been said regarding what lies behind the shocking images of torture at Abu Ghraib which were released in 2004. many American were shocked by such images and novel with the exception of one American; Alfred McCoy who had been following the operations of the Central Intelligence Agency since the early 1970s, when the agency tried unsuccessfully to stop the publication of his book, The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade.
McCoy had long been conducting study on the pioneering research by the CIA in to the methods of psychological torture. He writes that the CIA had started this project in the early 1950s with their initial study on the Chinese and Soviet methods of breaking and interrogating prisoners. The author has a negative image regarding the torture policies that America has used in the last decades. The CIA’s discovery of Psychological torture had its breakthrough in the 17th century. This was in contrast to the physical approach which they saw most of the times produced unreliable information or heightened resistance.
Under the new psychological paradigm introduced by the CIA, the interrogators used two essential techniques; self-inflicted pain or disorientation so as to make the victims feel responsibility of their own suffering. The first stage of psychological torture involves the use of non-violent methods to by the interrogator to disorientate the subject. After disorientating the subject, the second stage involves simple self inflicted discomforts which may be in form of standing for many hours with the arms in extended position.
Although psychological torture is less brutal due to the fact that there is no touch, the torture leaves both the interrogator and the victim with deep psychological scars. Victims normally require long-term treatment in order to recover from the trauma far much more than the physical pain. On the part of the interrogator, they may suffer from dangerous expansion of ego which may eventually lead to escalating cruelty and lasting emotional problems. According to McCoy, torture was conducted by the CIA directly and also indirectly through outsourcing.
The use of torture is against humanity since it involves forcing the subject to confess in criminal cases with the assumption that they are guilty prior to trail. The CIA also used this method to serve as a deterrent to other potential offenders. According to the author, torture did less in bringing any trustworthy information or truthful confession neither did it prevent other people from breaking the law in any significant way. Following the September 11 bombing of the Twin Towers in the US, the administration of the former President George W.
Bush allowed US intelligence service and the military to use torture as the only means to “quickly obtain information”. They did this by creating a category of prisoners who they claimed fall outside the protection by any treaty or law obligations and are deemed to be tortured. According to the CIA, they argue that this policy which considered the most abusive approach to interrogation is the most efficient and effective quick way to get information that is accurate and useful.
From McCoy’s book, he clearly puts it that torture is always not a good way of producing reliable information. The experience from Colonel John Rothrock, who was heading a combat interrogation team in Vietnam, reported that “he doesn’t know any professional intelligence officers of my generation who would think this [torture] is a good idea,” but the US under the Bush administration failed to listen and this led to death of many innocent people in the name of state security.
These torture cases were concealed from the general public and the Congress when CIA was busy for the past half of the century developing and applying a sophisticated form of psychological torture which were meant to go against investigation, prohibition or prosecution and this made it very successful. Americans have found themselves have found themselves in six separate accounts of this same moral quagmire in the last 50 years period. The first was the exposure of the CIA sponsored torture which took place in South Vietnam in 1970, Iran in 1978, Brazil in 1974, Honduras in 1988, and the cases in Iran and Iraq.
Each of these cases was exposed at different times and as each case fades, the agency resumes with their lethal work in the shadows. The role of torture in the geopolitics of the Middle East is to divert attention on the real issue. While the CIA was busy torturing prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq, they were at the same time busy exporting opium to other countries. The use of torture was also a means of making sure that no information was leaked to the public. Another role that torture play is to make the subject confess to what the interrogator expects them to do.
Also the use of torture by the CIA was to make people from Middle East to desist from any corporation with those who could get in to their secret conducts in these countries. An example is when McCoy was doing a research for his book in the mountains of Laos; a group of CIA machineries attempted to kill him and even threatened his translator to stop working for him. While these were happening, the CIA was secretly transporting opium using Air America helicopters to South Vietnam.
Use of torture helped the American’s to exert great influence in the Middle East as those who experienced the tortures gave their experiences once they were out of the prison. The psychological damage was so much that the victims could not become normal again. This coupled with the killings of many people during the war led to weakening of these nations such that American control of oil and drugs like opium could be easy. All these acts were conducted with the aim of building an “American Empire”. Works Cited. Alfred McCoy. A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror (American Empire Project).
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 14 October 2016
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