[OPE-L:8495] Re: Re: On War

From: rakeshb@stanford.edu
Date: Sat Feb 22 2003 - 12:39:34 EST

Cyrus wrote in 8493:
> I haven't read Chomsky's comments.  Yet, I gather from your
> description that
> he might have read the "Aspects of India's Economy," Nos 33 
and 34,
> December
> 2002.  This special(double)issue is devoted entirely to :Behind 
> Invasion
> of Iraq."  The authors in its recent context raise the question of
> why the
> U.S. government is trying to buy friendship from the Government 
> India and
> how such a relationship is motivated by blocking China.  I have 
> this
> last night after I have sent you the unedited and fragmented 
> of this
> note.
> The core of this argument (and perhaps Chomsky's) is based on 
> approach
> that I would call "third-worldist," for the lack of better term. 
> First, the
> focus of the entire argument is on the traditional notion 
> and
> control.  Secondly, it implies that Pax Americana is alive and well
> and that
> the United States is still the hegemon.  Third, it explicitly argues
> that
> the impending U.S. war against Iraq is for oil.  Fourth, it states
> that OPEC
> is a cartel. Finally, it proposes that the apparent and/or alleged
> shifting
> of the Middle East oil producers from U.S. dollar to euro is the
> cause of
> war.  Just for now, let me say that this sort of approach had
> stopped
> thinking and living intellectually beyond at least a couple of
> decades ago.
> Yet, it amount to insult on the injury when an individual like W.
> Clark (?)
> via the so-called Independent Media Center focuses on only one 
> these
> points, namely the so-called currency change, and write up more 
> 16
> pages disconnected, unintelligible, uninformative, and 
> left-leaning piece in order to tarnish the credentials of the left
> (this was
> already posted on OPE-L).

A few of us American leftists who are invoking the name of 
Chomsky are actually arguing that the US intends to control Iraq 
and then every major supplier of oil (presumbably the non OPEC 
ones as well) so that it can credibly threaten any rival--say Europe 
or China--with a total cut off from oil and thus get that rival to bend 
to US will. That is, these leftists see the US design as one of 
classical colonial control over all oil supplies because of the 
political leverage which it will provide. 

In my opinion, these are fantastic and absurd arguments which do 
little for the credibility for the left.

First,  this doesn't require the control of Iraq but the sea lanes. So 
this cannot explain the drive to conquer Iraq. If the US is at war 
with say China then it has to control the sea lanes to Chinese 
ports. But the US is not conquering land locked Iraq in order to 
bolster its naval capacity! 

At any rate,  if the US tells its new colonial dependency of Iraq
not to export to say China or another huge market such 
as Europe someone else will. The incentives are too great not to 
break a US declared embargo; and there is no way that the US 
could keep all the OPEC countries, plus say Russia and Argentina 
and Norway, from exporting to China. 
I don't know what is driving this point of view. Perhaps it's the idea 
that the US intended to choke Japan off from oil (Indonesian in 
particular) in the interwar period. But the oil market is now 
global--there are many points of supply, tankers are relatively 
cheap. Even India could export oil. The US is not going to war in 
order to cut off one day all oil exports to a selected rival. I don't think 
Rumsfeld or Cheney imagine in their wildest dreams that they will 
cut off oil exports to China or France in order to make either bend 
to its will. Of course the US would like to stabilize and increase its 
claim on the disbursement of oil rent  and maintain the pricing of 
oil in dollars and put to use some of this idle capacity in what is 
doubtless thought to be a worthy goal. 
The former two already gives the US--including its financial 
sector--tremendous relative advantages over its rivals. This is 
enough to explain the drive to war. One does not have to construct 
fantastic scenarios of the US believing that it can gain the power to 
make every oil supplier embargo a select US rival. 

Yours, Rakesh

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