Monday, October 08, 2007

Over to Britain again

Repeatedly over these three years I have had to point out stories in the British press--usually the Guardian or the Independent--about inside workings of the American government that have not appeared in our own media. The latest, on Robert Gates's attempts to stop war against Iran, appears in the Telegraph.

Two new posts from the weekend appear below.


Anonymous said...

Compare the articles you post to todays op-ed by Ignatius in the wapo! They must be on different planets. I would love to hear anyones take.

Nur-al-Cubicle said... we have Gen. Petraeus saying he'd love to arrest the Iranian Ambassador to Iraq.

Steve Clark said...

Energy was the key resource in mass production, and the western oil monopolies were the most dominant commercial enterprises of that era (heyday: 1850 to 1950).

At the zenith of U.S. commercial might – the post-war 1950s – American foreign policy marched to Big Oil’s tune. Among the most obvious and telling examples was the 1953 U.S. decision to topple Iran’s democratic government – which intended to nationalize the nation’s huge oil industry – in favor of the Shah, whose 25 years of brutal dictatorship set the stage for the revolution of 1979.

The overthrow of the Shah – a multi-class, popular revolution through which the Islamic fundamentalist Ayatollah Khomeini managed to seize overall power – marked the effective end of the era of enforced hegemony by western (particularly U.S.) oil monopolies.

The dream of restoring domination, however, never died. While the Reagan Administration battled mostly on other fronts, Big Oil nursed it wounds, secure that with former CIA chief, Vice President and oilman George Bush (the first) inside their interests would never be completely lost. However, Bill Clinton’s election in 1992 challenged that presumption. Under Clinton, the global finance industry – an industry that had been for a century welded to mass production and oil – began asserting a more independent agenda as it sensed that the hegemonic agenda of oil-based mass production would be unsuitable for the structural changes unfolding in the global economy (that is, the transition to service-oriented rather than commodity-based production). When Al Gore, an avowed opponent of Big Oil on ecological grounds, was nominated to succeed Clinton, the industry went all-out in a desperate drive to re-capture its initiative in the U.S. state.

George Bush (the second)’s squeaking victory, however, could itself do nothing to re-route the underlying forces of global change, so the desperation of Big Oil only intensified. Rejecting Kyoto was a reactionary political statement, but it only checked global policy; it did not change the reality in the ground that Big Oil controlled less of the world’s shrinking supply of oil.

9/ll, however, opened what Big Oil considered a window of opportunity to reverse the reality in the ground. It provided a chance to seize Iraq’s oil fields and to put the kind of pressure on Iran that might, somehow, force its capitulation as well. Unfortunately, the Iraqi fiasco has only strengthened and emboldened Iran.

Because time is running out and Bush could not stabilize Iraq enough for Big Oil to effectively exploit the situation in its own interest, desperation has now advanced to unprecedented levels. The situation is further compounded by the sudden breakthrough of global awareness on the issue of global warming (primarily a problem of fossil fuel consumption and waste).

Like a trapped and wounded Grizzly, the industry is fighting with all its might to smash the fence of its strategic demise and somehow find a way to restore its power. War with Iran seems crazy – perhaps even to Big Oil – but retreating again from the resolve of the Iranian people to control their own resources and destiny concedes, this time around, the end of their epoch, the end of Big Oil. With that much at stake and with their boys (Bush and Cheney) in power most likely for the last time, anything is possible.