News & Analysis
Western Wars Are for Oil?
Five months before the March 2003 invasion, Baroness Symons, then the Trade Minister, told BP that the Government believed British energy firms should be given a share of Iraq's enormous oil and gas reserves as a reward for Tony Blair's military commitment to US plans for regime change. The papers show that Lady Symons agreed to lobby the Bush administration on BP's behalf because the oil giant feared it was being "locked out" of deals that Washington was quietly striking with US, French and Russian governments and their energy firms. – UK Independent
Dominant Social Theme: Capitalism always seeks to exploit the worker and is always expansive. Wars are always those of exploitation.
Free-Market Analysis: The dominant social theme that Anglo-American wars are primarily aimed at exploiting raw materials is being trotted out again. While Britain has been engaged in an extensive post-mortem of the Iraqi war called the Chilcot Inquiry, these secret documents were not released as part of that effort but were gathered by "oil campaigner" Greg Muttitt under Britain's freedom-of-information act.
No. All is not as it appears. There are several undercurrents at work. The US has not completed in the action in Libya, but now it is increasingly pressuring Syria, which is a close ally of Iran, obviously a target of Western R2P concern as well. But the ultimate prize is China. China is to be yet another enemy of Western democracy, albeit perhaps more of a strategic and economic enemy. The competition will be waged ostensibly for energy resources and will be greatly facilitated if China does become the world’s pre-eminent economy by the middle 2000s.
One can see the maneuvering even now, the obvious flanking of China on “the great chessboard” by the US military-industrial complex. There is a working relationship between the great powers in our view but this does not preclude a military competition as well. And obvious military maneuvers also add credibility to the supposedly enmity felt and expressed from the top down.
These are all sub-dominant social themes, fear-based promotions designed to show Western masses the fragility of the world and the need for government military power. The same goes for the war-for-oil meme. This is a kind of reversal of the previous sub-dominant themes but it arrives at the same place. Government military power can be a great force for good but only if it is in proper hands and the private sector – rapacious and violent – is closely watched and controlled. Military power in the hand of Western regulatory democracies is the Greatest Good, but it must be restricted to the technocratic military class or it will rage out of control …
The above is nonsense of course but the memes keep getting repeated. It is a form of mind control, as military power (force) is a primary tool of Western “democracies” that actually have much in common with the 20th century’s more authoritarian societies (think Japan, Italy and even pre-war Germany). There is the same emphasis on unquestioning patriotism, on creating with the larger government endlessly elaborated command and control facilities aimed at domestic populations and, above all, an elaborate thematic fiction involving the way society is supposed to work. This informs every aspect of society, from employment to romantic relations to diplomacy and war.
This is where the war-for-oil meme comes in. The press will play up the BP documents endlessly because they make great fodder for the perceptions that Western elites want to confirm: All wars, certainly the smaller ones, are those of Western imperialism with the goal of raw material exploitation. This removes the onus of war from the government itself, which is seen suddenly as a passive, put-upon actor. (Without evil corporations, government would be a force for good.)
It also obscures the real mechanics having to do with a small, familial power elite that stands BEHIND government and is waging a war not for resources, not for military superiority, not to reconfigure the great chess board but to, in a sense, RUN THE WORLD. The Anglo-American elites will do anything and everything they can to obscure this fact!
The war-for-oil meme is attractive, of course, which is one reason the elites cultivated it historically and recycle it endlessly. It is part of a larger Marxist or socialist worldview (also promoted by the elites in decades and centuries past) that the problems in the world are caused by greedy capitalist enterprises intent on exploiting the developing world and will use merciless military force to do so.
The memos have ignited the debate once again, just as they should. The media will no doubt seize on the story and keep it going, especially if there are new revelations. The minutes of the meetings make juicy copy and show clearly that public statements by politicians and oil company execs were contradicted by private discussions. Of course, the context is never made clear (that the decision to go to war had likely been made already) or that the concerns of the oil companies were ancillary at best. Britain had gotten along without actually owning Iraqi oilfields in the past and presumably could have continued to have done so.
Nonetheless, the denials were emphatic at the time, indicative of strong sensitivity among the parties involved. In March 2003, Shell apparently issued several strongly worded statements that there had been discussions with high-level British officials about oil. BP did the same, denying any strategic interest, while then-Prime Minister Tony Blair made statements claiming that oil considerations were not part of the larger, strategic and military equation.
At least five meetings took place between British officials and oil companies in late 2002 and these eventually resulted, post invasion, in the signing of 20-year contracts that covered, according to the Independent, "half of Iraq's reserves – 60 billion barrels of oil, bought up by companies such as BP and CNPC (China National Petroleum Company), whose joint consortium alone stands to make £403m ($658m) profit per year from the Rumaila field in southern Iraq."
Iraq is now producing at a rate of 2.7 million barrels a day, the Independent reports, and this is seen as vindication for those who suspected the invasion had never been about anything but oil. The researcher Muttitt, who has written a book about the oil and the Iraq war, is emphatic about the connections. Lady Symons, 59, meanwhile went on to act as an unpaid adviser to Libya's National Economic Development Board. BP and Shell have no comment, the Independent reports.
Of course, why should they? The executives of these giant oil companies and others were certainly acting in their own best interests and that of their shareholders in trying to secure post-war resources, if it should come to that. But the implication that the war was driven specifically by an impulse to provide contracts to oil giants simply doesn't make sense. Nations go to war for numerous reasons but securing lucrative franchises for this or that multinational is probably not among them.
In the case of what is occurring today, we can certainly see that there are forces at work above and beyond any specific company or resources. In fact, last year when the Pentagon was feeling a good deal of pressure to disengage from Afghanistan, Pentagon officials suddenly discovered old Russian maps that show something close to US$1 trillion in rare earth minerals, coal and oil in Afghanistan.
The implication was that Afghanistan was too valuable to abandon after so much time and effort, but in fact the suddenly discovered resources were evidently and obviously a distraction. China, for instance, has been invited in by the US to exploit certain Afghan energy resources and if the US were really so concerned about the resources one would think that the US itself would be busy exploiting them. In fact, the US is not. The US is experiencing nothing but a financial outflow from its Afghan venture. The total cost is somewhere near US$1 trillion and climbing. And that does not count the cost of taking care of the many injured that are maimed for life.
The idea that the great Western powers are attacking the Middle East over oil or other natural resources doesn't make sense on a number of levels. Egypt and Tunisia – both targets of CIA and state-department "color revolutions" are not oil-rich within the larger context of Middle Eastern oil resources. And if one goes back in time to the history of other Western – US – wars, one finds extensive involvement in both Korea and Vietnam, neither of which were especially resource rich countries.
In truth, raw materials are everywhere in this world. Commodities, as expensively priced as they are now, are virtually everywhere. Oil, coal, so-called rare-earth minerals – copper, silver, gold – on and on. If you can name a mineral it can probably be discovered and mined all over the world. Anglo-American elites are waging wars of conquest, not mineral exploration and the ultimate goal is world domination. This does not fit into the leftist paradigm of greedy capitalist countries exploiting poor developing ones for their resources. But it is true nonetheless.
Over and over when current and past wars can be examined within the context of ever-closer world governance, a pattern can be detected. Those countries that are targeted are not friendly or are downright hostile to Western political and military interests. Afghanistan is the most obvious example but we have just seen another military action develop in the Ivory Coast, which has no oil to speak of.
Of course, the Ivory Coast has cocoa but it seems fairly obvious that the military action that just took place there had more to do with President Laurent Gbagbo's independent "Ivorian first" industrial and economic policies than undiscovered riches that needed exploiting. Attributing Western wars to economic exploitation obscures the larger strategic efforts that the Anglo-American power elites are undertaking. It gives one a false sense of larger global strategies and obscures the real reasons why military actions are being launched.
Conclusion: Purely from an investment standpoint – leaving aside other rationales – a clear understanding of what is going on in the world and why is preferable to a false leftist paradigm that is not actually predictive of Western military involvement. Energy and raw materials are secondary considerations at best. The Anglosphere elites are trying to win the world and if they should, there will be plenty of time to explore what's beneath.
Posted by Cat Writer on 04/21/11 04:39 PM
The reason is that the American 'sheeple', more accurately, the American people, have a vested interest in this. They believe that others are food for them. "TPTB" are only their agents.
Posted by Charles on 04/20/11 09:01 PM
Memehunter How about: "Western Wars are for the implementation of Western-controlled central banks?" That might be closer to the truth.""
NOT WESTERN – BUT ZIONIST Controlled banks! See also who owns the Federal Reserve here
Posted by The Ultimate Sagging Mattress on 04/20/11 02:16 AM
"Nations go to war for numerous reasons but securing lucrative franchises for this or that multinational is probably not among them."
Nations go to war because man is greedy and lustful. His intellect has outgrown his sense. Please correct if neccessary, but didn't Batiste claim gov is set up to establish legal plunder? And didn't Murray Rothbard claim that war is the health of the state?
Securing lucrative franchises, amomg other factors that are considered in waging war, is always a motivation for war. One that is quite lucrative for persons in the right positions. Further,nothing stirs the nationalist fires for war better than profit.
In the article it is facetiously asserted that but for evil corporations, goverment's aim would be more altruistic. The argument is actually quite valid: governments and corporations are both bureaucratic vehicles for avoiding and manipulating the LAW. This writer has no issue with free markets; however, the corporation, along with policies instituted for corporations by their minions in the legislature, is the twin brother of the modern state in all its varieties: fascist, socialist, capitalist, humanist, and communist. Never a more perfect match.
One could make the argument as well that the only difference between a war for resources and a war for dominion is semantic. The control of resources is a necessary condition for global domination, which is laughable on its face.
Reply from The Daily Bell
We stand by the statement. We do not believe that current Western governments go to war for the benefit of "this or that" individual corporation. In fact, the great Anglo-American banking families have chosen NOT to go to war in plenty of places where there are goodly amounts of oil and other resources. Energy and other resources in the MODERN AGE are a PRETEXT for the wars of control that Money Power is currently pursuing.
See, for instance, the Pentagon suddenly discovering US$1 trillion in resources in Afghanistan when pressure was brought to bear to force the military industrial complex out of that bleeding country. The "discovery" was evidently and obviously floated as a way to JUSTIFY the war and the elites' involvement. That is all resources are in the MODERN AGE of warfare-for-global-control. Just PRETEXTS!
We agree the statement was phrased a little clumsily but the thought stands.
Posted by Wayne on 04/20/11 01:01 AM
Actually, Douglas Adams has already recognized that the modern democratic citizen has been bred to be bled and eaten! see link
Click to view link
Posted by Wayne on 04/19/11 09:30 PM
"KNOW your enemy and how they think. Only then can their weaknesses be exploited, leading to their defeat. Of course, their success is also their defeat, so sitting on the sidelines watching the divine comedy is also an option, so long as you do not provide THEM support. They create NOTHING, so must and will starve without support."
There you go again, adding logic to this.
I really don't understand why none of this is perceived by the majority. It's as though they want to destroyed by parasites.
Visualize dogs conditioned to want ticks and fleas to suck them dry! Or a community sending Dracula an invitation to feed on them.
What a freak show!
Who is John Galt?
Posted by Adam on 04/19/11 04:02 PM
Posted by Scott on 04/19/11 03:05 PM
What is an "R2P?" Please don't speak in code.
Posted by Memehunter on 04/19/11 12:44 PM
"No. All is not as it appears. There are several undercurrents at work. The US has not completed in the action in Libya, but now it is increasingly pressuring Syria, which is a close ally of Iran, obviously a target of Western R2P concern as well."
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Libya, Syria, and Iran are among the few remaining countries which do not have a foreign (read elite)-controlled central bank (and Libya might not be on that list for long). Irak and Afghanistan used to be on that list as well...
How about: "Western Wars are for the implementation of Western-controlled central banks?" That might be closer to the truth.
Posted by Warren on 04/19/11 12:00 PM
Sorry, typo. Above post should read: "Example: the US did NOT go into Iraq to ensure cheap and abundant oil for US citizens...."
Posted by Warren on 04/19/11 11:32 AM
One of the various wars purposes is to make resources more expensive, not less.
Example: the US did go into Iraq to ensure cheap and abundant oil for US citizens, but to take that oil off the market and thereby increase its price. Additionally, factor in the huge defense expenditures US citizens are saddled with and the oil becomes even more expensive.
It would be way cheaper for the US to eliminate its military and simply buy oil from whatever potentate sat on it. But as I said, cheap and abundant oil is not what its about. Neither is dismantling the warfare state.
Posted by Jjkorman on 04/19/11 11:01 AM
Posted by Fabian on 04/19/11 10:19 AM
That's also my explanation for the war in Irak. Some say it was to get rid of a dictator, some say it was for oil. No, it was to restore order. Nobody remembers that there was an embargo against Irak and that most of Europe was breaking it a will and making a ton of money out of it. Ministers in France and Italy were caught dealing in Iraky oil (Pasqua, France's interior minister was caught holding Iraki oil coupons and if I recall well the son of the UN secretary too).
It was a total mess and an humiliation for the US. They needed to put an end to that situation. On a larger scale, I can't really believe that the Anglo Saxon elite has the means to conquer the world. Many events and shifts in the world can be explained by demography and the Anglo Saxon world doesn't have the demography to support those ambitions.
My point of view is that, like it or not, world trade functions with the US and the Anglo Saxon economic model. It's in the US interest and the world's interest that trade keeps running. We see how a relative small disruption like Japan's earthquake impacts global trade. As long as there is no other economic model (and I don't see another economic model raising at the horizon) we'll have to live with that and support it.
Reply from The Daily Bell
Restore order, huh? By irradiating the entire country with depleted uranium?
Posted by Kenn on 04/19/11 09:57 AM
One little speck of sand in the universe and this is the best humanity can do?
Posted by Steve on 04/19/11 07:31 AM
DB, are you familiar with this book and it's thesis?
Click to view link
It's not in line with the leftist paradigm, but still shows oil to be relevant to this discussion.
Posted by Bill Ross on 04/19/11 07:23 AM
Of course it is all about control. Every other goal can be decreed and demanded from slaves, once control is achieved. Elites (control freaks) have, for all of history sought to construct systems (belief and otherwise) which provide illusionary pretexts and terror threats regarding why it is "necccessary" (Machiavailli, falsely framed arguments) that THEY be "master" and we, slaves.
It may be intellectually gratifying to speculate regarding motives, but, in reality, you are just discussing THEIR pretexts, intellectual camouflage to obscure REAL goals. Matters become VERY CLEAR if you "know them by what they do". IMHO, all of the false pretexts regarding humanitarian intervention, resources, etc, are attempts to achieve "tolerance (includes terror) of the governed" (and some dubious perceived personal benefit, achieve partners in crime...). But, the basic fact is that THEY initiate aggression (greatest crime against humanity and civilization, according to THEIR own laws) against all who disagree with THEM. It is total war, unchecked, leading to total destruction of civilization. The basic algorithm is: demonize, socially isolate, move in for the kill, feed from the carcass, demonize next prey.
THEY and their predations are now the greatest threat to peace, civilization, social / economic survival and perhaps, life on earth.
THIS is how and why their methodology is so deadly, successful and HOW to fight THEM:
Click to view link
KNOW your enemy and how they think. Only then can their weaknesses be exploited, leading to their defeat. Of course, their success is also their defeat, so sitting on the sidelines watching the divine comedy is also an option, so long as you do not provide THEM support. They create NOTHING, so must and will starve without support.
Click to view link
Posted by RR on 04/19/11 04:57 AM
"Knowledge destroys the darkness of ignorance."
- Rig Veda.