Sunday, June 25, 2006

Permanent Bases - Oil

I read Kevin Drum's post about the permanent military bases being built in Iraq. This is something I've wondered about before and written about elsewhere but, in short, I think that this is PNAC stuff. They know they couldn't keep troops in Saudi Arabia much longer and yet their plans required that they stay in the Middle East because of the oil and (to a lesser extent, IMHO) because of Israel. So Iraq became the location of choice -- unpopular, marginalized, secular ruler sitting on the world's second largest known oil reserves and then that propitious event on 9/11 "some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor" -- and the rest is history. Anyway, I followed this topic into the comments and there were lots of worthwhile ones but here are three I especially liked.

The first is from Steve Duncan and is a bit harsh but, sadly, too true.
Hell, Bush could tell everyone to stay indoors for a few weeks, mail them all free iodine tablets and then commence to nuke the entire planet. As long as the public was assured American Idol would be televised as scheduled they'd shrug, pop open a beer and wait for the all clear. Americans don't give a shit about any other nation. They've had it pounded into them since childhood this nation is ordained by God as superior by any measure to all other nations and all other peoples. Therefore other peoples are nearly subhuman, rating no more respect than the cattle we slaughter for our double cheeseburgers. Permanent bases? Hell, put one on every corner in every country, the public could not care less.
The second, from Linus, hints at what I mean.

"I'm continually baffled, however, as to why Democrats don't seem to want to make a bigger deal out of the permanent bases question. That, I would think, is an issue the party could be fairly unified on."

Because Democrats are just the other party of empire, who want American dominance to have the imprimatur of the UN and the permission of France and bureaucrats in Brussels, but say and do nothing about the more than 700 American bases around the world, 24/7 patrols of the world's seas and skies, and multiple occupations of foreign countries (except Iraq, and then only kinda-sorta) because they don't fundamentally object to the American Empire. They've reconciled themselves to the spread of laissez faire capitalism, and even favor the spread of bourgeois cultural liberalism, despite its nasty side effects - the decline of the family, rising crime, the growth of the police and prison state, the people who get left behind (the incorrigible poor and incarcerated). Liberalism today doesn't give a damn about the most vulnerable and hated in this society. Why should it object to an emerging worldwide American civilization that doesn't give a damn about the most vulnerable and hated around the world?

The third, from tbaum, gets at what's really happening, I think. Enjoy!

The issue of permanent bases and the issue of a "Broad Based Time-table For Exit" are directly related because their resolution depends upon the underlying objectives the Bush crowd had for our attack on Iraq. To accept their framing of our purpose in being there as being the development of a free, democratic Iraq is both silly and self-defeating since it causes all discussion to miss the central issue.

We attacked Irag, primarily, to carry out the PNAC/NEOCON dream of world empire, starting with the Middle East, and we did so in order to estabilsh an imperialistic presence there and to begin the process of gaining control of OPEC oil, starting with Iraq's which is believed to be the second largest estimated reserves in the world. The original plan called for Iran to be next and then probably Venezuela. Our presence there would assure our continued influence over the largest and the additional second largest reserves in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. That is why you have seen the unending demonization of both Iran, with the manufactured nuclear emergency, and Chavez of Venezuela, with the claim of Communism.

Not withstanding the mess they have made in Iraq, I believe they still see success being the establishment of a client government and the privatization of the oil and its sale to US international corporations. Also, not withstanding all of the warnings of dire consequences to be expected, if we attack Iran, I believe to do so is still their intention and all the talk about nuclear programs will have nothing to do with that decision. It is all about oil and direct control of the world's oil heartland. He who has it, not only will be able to keep their own economy going when all others fail, but they will also have a death grip on the throat of everyone else.

If you question why we would need to gain control of all of this oil, I suggest you become knowledgeable about the imminence and the predictable impact of "Peak Oil" in the world. You can be assured that Cheney and those oil CEOs with whom he worked on that secret Energy Commission were only too aware of the economic catastrophy that is approaching us.

Some have suggested that we do not need to attack Iraq for their oil since we can purchase all we need on the open market. In a world where there is enough oil for all needs, such a view would be reasonable, but that is not the world we will soon be living in.

Experts have suggested that as little as a 10% shortfall between oil supply and oil demand would collapse the US economy. Now consider that when "Peak Oil" occures (And it might well already have occured, but not been recognized yet.) there will be an inevitable 3% to 5% decline per year in the amount of oil that will be available. Even if today's demand held steady, and it won't, that will mean a 10% short fall between our need and our supply in as little as two years.

Make no mistake about it, oil is what almost all of our recent foreign affairs decisions and actions have been about. That includes the Caspian Sea area, the proposed oil pipeline through Afghanistan, the attack on Iraq, the threatened attack on Iran and the demonization of Chavez with the possibility of either his assassination or an attack by us on Venezuela. We are not yet demonizing or threatening to attack our other major supplier of oil, Canada, I guess, because the Bush cabal probably cannot come up with a way to sell it to the American people.

There is another critical issue that is driving the movement towards an attack on Iran and that is the need to prevent the establishment and effective operation of an Iranian oil Bourse that would sell Iranian oil based upon EUROs and not dollars. If such a Bourse become operational and if the Russians, the oil producers of the Caspian area and the Venezuelans all succeed in following suit, the status of the dollar as the standard of exchange for the world would be destroyed and that too would be a catastrophy for the US economy, particularly in view of our humongous foreign debt.

What this all means is that the Bush gang has no intention to leave Iraq , or even to not attack Iran at this point. Those large permenent bases are being built to house the US military force, that will essentially function as the private militia that will remain in Iraq in order to protect the private property of those Bush friendly oil corporations. Because they have no intention to leave, they will continue to reject any and all calls for a time table for withdrawal, no matter how reasonable they might be. They will also reject any proposed negotiated solution to the nuclear emergency they have manufactured with respect to Iran.

I submit that until we force the Bush cabal to acknowledge their real plans and objectives, and so long as we continue to discuss and debate these issues based upon their framing, we will accomplish virtually nothing.

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