Good Girl Roxie calls that a must see: “This may be the single most amazing interview I have ever watched on Bill Moyers’ PBS show. Meet Andrew Bacevich, West Point graduate, retired colonel with 23 years in the Army, author of many books, including “The New American Militarism” and a just-released, “The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism.” Bacevich is now a professor of international relations and history at Boston University.”
This interview sums up some aspects of the American foreign policies during different presidency as a result of a dependence on consumer goods and credits. Some excerpts:
“[…] Our foreign policy is not something simply concocted by people in Washington D.C. and imposed on us. Our foreign policy is something that is concocted in Washington D.C., but it reflects the perceptions of our political elite about what we want, we the people want. And what we want, by and large – I mean, one could point to many individual exceptions – but, what we want, by and large is, we want this continuing flow of very cheap consumer goods. […]”
“[…] I think historians a hundred years from now will puzzle over how it could be that the United States of America, the most powerful nation in the world, as far back as the early 1970s, came to recognize that dependence on foreign oil was a problem, posed a threat, comprised our freedom of action.
How every President from Richard Nixon down to the present one, President Bush, declared, “We’re gonna fix this problem.” None of them did. And the reason we are in Iraq today is because the Persian Gulf is at the center of the world’s oil reserves. I don’t mean that we invaded Iraq on behalf of big oil, but the Persian Gulf region would have zero strategic significance, were it not for the fact that that’s where the oil is.
Back in 1980, I think, President Carter, in many respects when he declared the Carter Doctrine, and said that henceforth, the Persian Gulf had enormous strategic significance to the United States and the United States is not going to permit any other country to control that region of the world.
And that set in motion a set of actions that has produced the militarization of U.S. policy, ever deeper U.S. military involvement in the region, and in essence, has postponed that day of reckoning when we need to understand the imperative of having an energy policy, and trying to restore some semblance of energy independence. […]”
” Britain merged the Ottoman provinces Baghdad, Basra and Mosul into a new state of Iraq, inhabited by three different groups of people: Shi’ites, Sunnis and Kurds. Under British rule, the new Iraqis were subjected to more taxes than under Ottoman rule. Nationalist revolt rose against the new British rulers in 1920.
To crush the Iraqi national-liberation movement, Churchill, secretary of state for war, introduced new military tactics with massive bombing of villages as the original “shock and awe” doctrine, revived eight decades later by the US military. Churchill ordered the use of mustard gas, stating:
“I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favor of using poison gas against uncivilized tribes.” Source
Imperial parallels: Iraq
British Colonialism and Repression in Iraq: Winston Churchill, as responsible cabinet minister in the early years, saw Iraq as an experiment in high-technology colonial control.
Gertrude Bell: The Uncrowneded Queen of Iraq
When Oil and Water Mix: … “One drop of oil,” said Georges Clemenceau, the Prime Minister of France in the second half of World War I, “is worth one drop of blood of our soldiers.” … … … One has to wonder how many more millions have to be slaughtered before the collective consciousness of humanity is stirred into action. Has the ongoing stench of the genocidal concoction obscured our compassion? Perhaps the fatal potion brings with it another message – shame? Or perhaps even a glimmer of hope that there is still time. Soraya Sepahpour Ulrich
Modern Musings wrote: “Reading yesterday’s paper I found an article that spoke of the new Iran sanctions being prepared by the United Nations. Two sentences in this article got my blood boiling. I like being informed, I like keeping tabs on our government but I get so emotional, baby, that sometimes I can’t intelligently respond to the absurdities I encounter. So this is what the article stated:
“Acting U.S. Ambassador Alejandro Wolff said the United States rejected amendments by Indonesia and Qatar calling for the Middle East to be free of weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. U.S. officials said Iran’s nuclear program should be the sole focus.”
Just a few questions…
- Why isn’t mandating a nuclear free Middle East a good thing?
- Wouldn’t adopting such an amendment allow Iran to comply without losing her sovereignty as a nation in the eyes of her people?
- Would Israel’s nuclear weapon stores be the cause of rejecting said amendment?”
United Nations complicity in war crimes: interview with Hans von Sponeck, or here
Count Hans-Christof von Sponeck, has been working for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for 32 years. Appointed in 1998 as United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, with the status of UN Assistant to the Secretary General, he resigned in March 2000 in protest against the sanctions, which had led the Iraqi people to misery and starvation. He speakes about the sufferings endured by the Iraqis and he appeals to the political leaders responsible for the catastrophe.
More about the UN: UNSC Role Change, Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich
Iran, Israel, The Big Lie and The Real Threat, by Frank Scott, Information Clearing House: “Attempting to portray Iran as a nuclear menace to Israel and the world, in that order, even though it has no nuclear weapons and Israel has hundreds, is not merely a sign of dementia. It is indication of near idiocy in a society that can be repeatedly manipulated into believing such totally crackpot notions that have no foundation in the material world but exist only in a world of superstitious psycho-fantasy.”
Keeping All Options on the Table: A Roadmap to Negotiation or War?
Farideh Farhi, Foreign Policy in Focus, March 6: ” … if the Iranian leadership thinks that negotiations and compromise on the nuclear issue will indeed lead to a breakthrough in relations with the United States and on the abandoning of its policy of weakening the Iranian regime. Without such an incentive, the hardliners in Iran will be able to run the show based on the argument that no matter how many concessions are given, American hostility will not end…”
Q. Persia is sitting on a sea of oil. What could they possibly need a civilian nuclear energy program for?
A. I’d love to be a Congressman for a day with subpoena authority. I’d subpoena Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. I’d say:
“In 1976, Dick, when you were White House Chief of Staff, and Donald, when you were the Secretary of Defense for Gerald Ford, you guys concurred that Iran had every right to pursue a nuclear energy program inclusive of indigenous enrichment of uranium capabilities, and yet at that time Iran was one of the major oil producers, awash in a sea of oil. Why did you reach that conclusion? If you don’t want to testify, I’ll pull out the documents you signed. You reached that conclusion because you agreed that the expert opinion in Iran and the US, that Iran had a finite amount of oil, that this oil needed to be exported for Iran to retain economic viability, that Iran was a developing economy, that if it did not develop an alternative energy source, would eventually be consuming the bulk of the oil meant for exportation, thereby destroying Iran’s ability to generate the income needed build its economy. It would self-destruct.” …
Regime Change is the reason, disarmament, the excuse interview with Scott Ritter, see previous post: The case against Iran
More on the same:
Just a reminder, who helped Iran’s nuclear program in the 70’s
Some of the back ground, Juan Cole’s blog
Emily Johns, British artist and publisher, is touring an exhibition of images partly inspired by her recent peace delegation to Iran, in May 2006.
” … images dealing with the complex relationship between Iran, oil, and Britain. The work weaves together the larger international dynamics, the mutual cultural influence, and more intimate personal connections of Iranian-British relations. The pictures are accompanied by a text from Milan Rai“, co-founder of Justice not vengeance.
26 May 1908
On this date oil was struck at Masjid-i-Sulaiman, The Mosque of Solomon, in western Iran, by the fore-runner to the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, later to become ‘British Petroleum’ or BP. This was the first oil well to be established in Iran. Oil is bursting from the well at the Mosque of Solomon, piercing the flying carpet of King Solomon, puncturing the fabric of Iranian society.
Bam Earthquake – Underground Poetry
43,000 people were killed in the earthquake that destroyed the ancient city of Bam on Boxing Day 2003. Some of the survivors, including Shahrbanou Mazandarani, a woman of 97 rescued alive after eight days in ruins, had sustained themselves underground by reciting poetry from memory.
Souls in Cabinets
An artifact in a museum case contains the soul of a society, of a people. It holds the human imprint of the person who made it, who can survive over thousands of years in that pot or in that fragment of writing. In Iraq, over the past few decades of war and sanctions, hundreds of thousands of people have died and an enormous number of antiquities have been destroyed. We mourn the people who have been lost, and we mourn the ancient history that has been lost. We mourn the souls embedded in those artifacts that have been destroyed, and their awe-inspiring creativity, now snuffed out. This museum cabinet is a mixture of Persian artifacts from the British Museum and the Tehran National Museum.
Major Gerald Talbot and the Tobacco Fatwa
In 1890, the Qajar Shah of Iran, Nasir al-Din Shah granted a tobacco concession to a British company headed by Major Gerald Talbot. In exchange for a large loan to the Shah, the firm was granted a monopoly on producing, selling, and exporting tobacco crop in exchange for a loan. Tobacco was popular in Iran, and the tobacco industry employed large numbers of people. The concession provoked a mass movement of protest, and led Grand Ayatollah Mirza Shirazi to issue his famous fatwa against using tobacco. Tobacco merchants ceased trading, and the two-month boycott was observed universally – even by the Shah’s harem. The Shah was forced to rescind the concession. Major Talbot and the forces he represented were squeezed back into the bottle that the Shah had opened.
The Rose and The Nightingale
The image of the rose and the nightingale, the lover and the beloved, is a theme of Persian poetry and art. In Sufi Islam, it is a mystical image representing the search for the divine. The oil of Iran is the desired, the sought-after, poisoning the seekers.
Samples of the Oil Spirit
Rivers, woods and seas have their own spirits. Oil has its own spirit, that has been pent up underground, leaking sometimes through the surface of the earth. As with the genies of The One Thousand and One Nights, the spirit of oil can be liberated and controlled by the human will, but its restless force threatens to break free of human intentions with devastating consequences. The danger runs alongside the melancholy waste of this mighty spirit, producing throwaway products and burning oil with reckless abandon. Oil companies store samples of crude oil from different wells in collecting tubes, for analysis.
Chemical Weapons in Paradise
The word ‘paradise’ comes from the Old Persian word pairidaeza meaning ‘a walled-in compound’ or garden. The classic ‘paradise garden’ contains a rectangular pool of water, with strictly-aligned rows of trees and flowerbeds, and a grid of canals. Thousands of such gardens exist today in Iran, full of pomegranate trees, birdsong and butterflies. This picture was inspired by a meeting with survivors of chemical weapons attacks during the Iran-Iraq War, who had had their eyes destroyed by mustard gas. Some of them must have been gardeners, who now can no longer gaze on paradise. One survivor I met now organizes solidarity events with Hiroshima survivors, who plunged into the river to cool their burns on 6 August 1945. In this picture, the gardener stands in a canal to cool his chemical burns.
You can hire/borrow this exhibition from JNV. It comes either as a framed exhibition … large paper posters …or as small laminated posters …
Control energy and you control the nations. Kissinger
What is most important to the history of the world? The Talliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold-war? – 1998 Brzezenski
Frederick William Engdahl has written on issues of energy, politics and economics for more than 30 years, beginning with the first oil shock in the early 1970s.
After a degree in politics from Princeton and graduate study in comparative economics at the University of Stockholm, he worked as an economist and free-lance journalist. He currently lives in Germany and in addition to writing regularly on issues of economics, energy and international affairs, is active as a consulting geopolitical risk economist.
Engdahl is the author of the best-selling book on oil and geopolitics: A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order.
The University of Michigan Press: This book is a gripping account of the murky world of the international oil industry and its role in world politics.