“And the war came.” Abraham Lincoln
The war is always coming, it’s always here, either in utero, full fury or chaotic aftermath. The newest war–the invasion of Iraq–will come because a gang of like-minded men is willing it into being. They want it–it’s as simple as that. They want what they believe this war will give them: wealth, dominion, and empire.
The ultimate goal is not Iraq–that bombed, blockaded state partially controlled by a witless thug whom the gang once succored–but domination of the world’s oil supplies in the coming century, when the surging nations of China and India will reach their economic peak. These vast entities could eventually tilt the imbalance of world wealth away from the Anglo-American elites who have for so long held the high and palmy ground of privilege. But the voracious economies of the Asian behemoths will require unstinting draughts of the oil reserves now locked under the sands of Iraq and Saudi Arabia. There is oil elsewhere, yes–but nowhere else in the world are there reserves deep enough to satisfy the thirsts of China and India as they come into their own.
Therefore it is imperative for the Anglo-American elites to dominate this indispensable resource, if they are to maintain their wonted ease beneath the palms. Or so they believe. Actually, the narrowly-concentrated wealth of the West is so staggeringly great that these elites could quite easily devote abundant resources toward developing new forms of energy, national self-sufficiency, and what used to be known in Lincoln’s day as “internal improvements”–roads, schools, hospitals, parks, the extension of liberty, leisure and opportunity–and still keep their corpulent noses planted deep in the trough of their unearned riches.
But alas, they too–like the thugs they hire and fire so easily (Noreiga, Saddam, bin Laden)–are moral idiots. They don’t care about their own nations. They don’t care about the hapless people they rule–except, of course, as cannon fodder or hired help. The “national interest” is what best serves the elites and their retainers.
Throughout history, elite factions have always acted in similar ways to maintain and augment their dominance. At various times, for various reasons, their interests converge and they act loosely in concert; at other times, they tear each other to shreds–killing millions of people in the process. You can see this pattern of behavior–the belligerent lust for dominance coupled with crafty temporary alliances–at work among many primate groups. Our modern “elites” (the Ba’athist clique, Al Qaeda, the Bush Regime, the British Establishment, etc.) are simply secretions of the most primitive and ape-like elements still lurking in our brains. They’re a kind of heavy scum that forms on the free-flowing, light-dazzled stream of human existence.
So the attack on Iraq isn’t really a war for oil, not in the strictest sense. The United States doesn’t need Iraq’s oil. In recent years, America has been carefully diversifying its own sources of foreign oil, and is no longer overly dependent on the Arab-held fields. In fact, that’s one reason the long-planned attack on Iraq is coming now. Before, America couldn’t risk a military takeover of one of the major oil states (minor Kuwait, of course, has been occupied since 1991): too much could go wrong, irreplaceable supplies could be cut off. Now, however, the game is worth the candle; even in the highly unlikely event of disaster–an Arab oil embargo, a long, intractable war–the Bush Regime believes they can ride it out until the situation stabilizes by drawing on other sources: Africa, Venezuela, Russia, plus the oil still lying off America’s coasts and under its few remaining wildernesses.
Iraq is not the end, but the means. What America needs–or rather, what the thugs in the Bush Regime desire–is dominance of Middle Eastern oil in order to hold the economies of China and India hostage in the coming decades. The aim is not conquest, in the classic sense; our elites are imperialists, not colonialists. They don’t want to settle amongst all those funny-looking foreigners; heaven forefend! It’s bad enough there are so many of them in God’s country already, where, as one august national leader, Republican Representative Sue Myrick, noted recently, they “run all the convenience stores,” thus posing the ever-present danger of gustatory terrorism. (“What’s that white powder on my donuts? Aieee!”)
No, what is sought–what is demanded, what will be enforced with human cannon fodder and treasure extorted from ordinary citizens (“You’re under attack! Give us your money!”)–is that the emerging powers become pliant “friends” and business partners, along the lines of Western Europe. Naturally, this will require a heavy U.S. military presence in the vicinity for generations, as in Europe (58 years and counting); naturally, as in Europe, obedience to U.S. “interests” will be mandatory–or else, as warlord Donald Rumsfeld recently threatened Germany, there will be “punishment”: the threat of economic ruin. And of course, there will be the overarching “missile shield,” the exciting “new generation” of nuclear weapons the Regime is developing, and the “full spectrum dominance” of space-mounted superweapons to provide that hint of violent coercion so essential to any warm friendship.
So the game’s afoot; the knives are out; the gangs are on the march. What happens next, no one can tell, but this much is certain–whatever the cost, in lives and lucre, the elites will not be paying it.
CHRIS FLOYD is a columnist for the Moscow Times and a regular contributor to CounterPunch. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org