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LewRockwell.com adopts a deliberate no-brain strategy

Garry North at LewRockwell.com tells us:

Once the United States military has established control over the oil fields, which I assume it will do at the beginning of the invasion, Iraq will not be able to feed itself.  Control the flow of oil, and you control the only thing worth controlling in Iraq.  The government will topple.  Even if it doesn’t, who cares if the U.S. government controls the oil?

At that point, the oil-drilling concessions will be handed out by the United States government’s puppet regime.  ”Y’all come!”  This will buy off Europe’s foot-dragging politicians, who will be able to go to their voters and say, “fait accompli.”  They will have offered token resistance to the United States, which is all that European voters expect.  Now they will reap the rewards, either directly by the participation of their national oil companies or indirectly by enjoying a lower price of oil.

The USA wants to invade Iraq to ‘control’ the flow of oil. Bush wants to do this in order to increase the supply of oil and therefore lower the price… and clearly saying “Y’all” is prima facie evidence of conspiratorial evilness. Gotcha.

However…

“Iraq’s oil fields are capable of providing far more than an extra million barrels of oil a day.  This is why the United States has in effect capped Iraqi wells by its oil-for-food embargo.

Right, so Bush has been doing beastly things to Iraq to keep oil prices up then?

Richard Perle is the chairman of President Bush’s Defense Policy Board, a civilian advisory group.  He co-authored a paper in 1996, “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” which was published by the previously mentioned Institute for Advanced Strategic & Political Studies.  The report is still on-line.  It calls for the establishment of a new balance-of-power foreign policy in Israel – the same system, it might be added, that twice led England into world war, and which twice required the United States to bail out England.  The report made suggestions to the Likud Party, which is Ariel Sharon’s party.

Ah, its not about oil, its about Israel. Right. And if ‘balance-of-power’ is such a terrible idea, when why are LewRockwell.com always so bent out of shape by the current pre-eminence of the USA?

And what is this about bailing out England? I guess Scotland, Ulster and Wales were not ‘bailed out’ then? It is usually a good indication of someone engaging in a cranio-rectal insertion when they refer to the UK as ‘England’, which is rather like describing the USA as ‘New York State’. And this is someone who has such knowledge of International Affairs that he can see through the machinations of the sinister Oil Illuminati.

The United States must defend the interests of the alliance by bringing new supplies into production.  This was what the invasion of Afghanistan was all about: establishing protection over a new pipeline from the Caspian Sea oil fields, either through Afghanistan and Pakistan and into the tankers, or through Turkey.  This pipeline is important if Russia is not to control this flow of oil.  The Great Game of the 19th century – Russia, Turkey, England, Afghanistan, and India – is still being fought.  For a good analysis of the pipeline issues, see the September, 2001 article on Turkey and the pipeline, which is posted on the Web site of the joint Israeli-American organization, the Institute for Advanced Strategic & Political Studies.

Ah. Its all about Russia! Or more accuratly, depriving Russia, the world’s second largest oil exporter, of oil. Gotcha. And that is what Afghanistan was ‘about’ too… in case an oil pipeline might, some time in the future, go through there. Or through Pakistan. Or through Turkey. Or maybe Gloucestershire?

The oil lever is the lowest-cost foreign policy tool at the government’s disposal.  This will require American troops in Iraq on a permanent basis. This is a deliberate no-exit strategy.  The Administration plans to send in troops that will become as permanent as its 5,000 troops in Saudi Arabia.  How many troops will this be?  As many as it takes to control the marginal price of oil. The United States government is about to replace OPEC as the pricing agent of world oil.  The name of the game is still cartel pricing, but there will be different hands on the spigots.

Oh, so it is all about oil then! If someone can explain what this gibberish actually means, I would be very grateful. And to think there was a time when I actually admired the Lew Rockwell group.

29 comments to LewRockwell.com adopts a deliberate no-brain strategy

  • lars

    There is a comment about this same Gary North article on the TCSsociety list:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TCSsociety/message/832

  • Crosbie Smith

    Right, so Bush has been doing beastly things to Iraq to keep oil prices up then?

    This is not unreasonable, and doesn’t contradict the claim that the U.S. wants to control supplies.
    The EU’s C.A.P. controls keep food prices above their world price.
    Their goverment would not have to be particularly evil to attempt this. If oil prices fell to the cost of oil drilling in the Middle East, most other oil fields would soon go out of business. This would be very bad for U.S.energy security. Their motives could be seen as being of the highest sort. Of course, any campaiging politican will soft-peddle policy which aims at higher pump prices.

  • scott h.

    Wait, it was balance of power that led England into 2 world wars? Hmm… maybe I should think of it in terms of the Middle East. The UK’s pursuit of the brutal policy of balance of power humiliated the Germans and left German militants no other choice but to invade Poland.

  • blabla

    Perry,
    The LRC group is still one of the best libertarian sites out there (next to Samizdata of course). They are all about ideology, and their anarcho-capitalist ideology cannot fathom War. There is a need for ideological purity, and there is a need for practical here-and-now action. LRC provides the former in a world where the libertarian must take the later.

    They are incorrect in their assessment that militant islamicism is the result solely of US governmental international interventionalism. They fail to see that militant islamicism hates American economic success and Christians/Jews practicing their own religion, i.e., the very fruits of libertarianism. They are, however, correct in their fear of what the War on Terrorism means for the growth of government.

    I still read LRC everyday, especially the articles not having to do with War.

  • Actually I agree with blabla… I still read LewRockwell.com as much of what they say is very good indeed.

    But I have to say that their decent into moral absurdism post September 11th is more or less an inevitable consequence of their following the pure Rothbard line of anarch-capitalist thought.

    Whilst they may be spot on regarding most economic and civil rights issues, it is impossible to ignore the fact they have been the ‘useful idiots’ of the likes of Saddam Hussain and Slobodan Milosevic… that is not a minor quirk that a rational observer can just shrug off.

  • Perry,
    You are absolutely correct about the England/UK error. (Scott h: please note). Having read the Scottish press daily for some 30 years, I have no doubt that the continuous describing of the UK as “England” is by far the main driving force of Scottish nationalism and will probably lead to the break-up of the UK. That in turn will make departure from the EU all the more difficult for all parts of these islands.
    It is causing even more annoyance than usual at the present time because Scottish troops will be disproportionately represented in the likely forthcoming events in I**q.

  • George Hasik

    I’m not quite sure where this vision of the U.S. or U.S. interests building a pipeline over the Khyber Pass came from. Can anybody enlighten me? I see this given as an accusatory rationale for U.S. activity in Afghanistan with great frequency. The Ruskies already have a pipeline network from the Caspian to the Black Sea. Some of this capacity might now be impaired by the Chechen rebellion, but I’m sure that a good, more secure, capacity remains.

  • Pherecydes

    I can never understand the many, many people who cite oil as the motive for U.S. actions. Surely if the U.S. were interested in expropriating oil from other countries they would have simply long ago annexed Kuwait.

  • Walter E. Wallis

    Oil men want to control more oil to keep the price of oil down? Does anybody think that if the world price of oil were cut in half, the oil companies would keep the price the same?

  • Fred Boness

    If the U.S. were interested in a war for oil they would invade Canada. It’s much closer.

  • T. J. Madison

    If the U.S. did get its hands on a lot of oil (and turned on the taps), the price decrease would surely bust the Saudis, the Russians, and the Iranians.

    I’m not a big fan of the Iraq war, but busting the Saudis would be a very humorous side effect.

    Rumor has it that Reagan leaned on the Saudis to increase production to lower prices for the purpose of busting the Soviets. If this is accurate, it would also be very funny.

    Moral: If you’re going to start a natural resource cartel, be sure to have enough military force to defend/control ALL the important members of the cartel!

  • T. J. Madison:

    1. Why does the US need to ‘control’ Iraq’s oil to do that? Iraq would love to sell more oil than it currently does.
    2. Why is it in the US’s interests to ‘bust’ Russia? It is already in terrible shape economically and how would making that worse be something the US would benefit from?
  • gray1

    If the “true” reason for the conflict with Iraq was over the oil, I fail to see why it would be necessary to go to war over it. All Bush would have had to do is to send a message to Saddam that if the oil concessions were given to American companies X, Y, and Z, the U.S. would act to lift UN sanctions, and would cease to patrol the no-fly zones. Does anyone really doubt that Saddam would turn down such an offer? Why go to the trouble of invading the country for oil when a little diplomacy could yield the same results at a much lower price?

    I do not doubt that oil does factor into the decision to some extent, but those who claim it is the only or primary reason are disconnected from reality.

  • John B.

    This might not be the best analysis, but it seems to me the people at LewRockwell.com genuinely believe in peace and liberty. There are a lot better targets to pick on.

    As for why the U.S. might want to control oil if it’s not necessary for economic reasons, doesn’t it seem reasonable that people influential with the Bush administration see U.S. control and influence as ends in themselves?

  • T. J. Madison

    >>Why does the US need to ‘control’ Iraq’s oil to do that? Iraq would love to sell more oil than it currently does.

    >>Why is it in the US’s interests to ‘bust’ Russia? It is already in terrible shape economically and how would making that worse be something the US would benefit from.

    It might not be. However, it WOULD be in the U.S.’s interests to THREATEN to bust Russia, Saudis, et. al. Then the U.S. could use this power to extract all sorts of political concessions. Busting Russia might be not so good for the U.S., but it would be much worse for Russia.

    Once the U.S. has the ability to control the price of oil (up or down) it can dictate terms to the oil producting countries: “Do what we say, and we’ll cut production. Disobey, and we’ll jack production, busting you.”

    This is especially entertaining because all of the revenues earned when the price of oil is high get wasted on socialism, which makes busting countries that much easier.

    It should also be possible to use this power to play games with the oil consuming countries (Japan, Germany) as well.

  • T.J.Madison: What a strange view of the USA you have… it is actually the view most profound anti-Americans have of the USA, that the USA thinks it can dictate the state of the world to everyone by threatening to ‘bust’ them. I think you also rather under estimate the impact on the world economy, of which the USA is rather a large part, of playing political games that make the price of oil see-saw… and this of course assumes the US government really can just order the supply of oil up and down at will. To be honest it is all very implausible.

  • Gene Callahan

    Dear Mr. de Havliand,

    Does it pay more to be the “useful idiot” of Ashcroft and Rumsfeld than of Hussein and Milosevic? Do you folks have openings? Just wondering, as if the benefits are significantly better, perhaps I’ll apply.

  • Well Gene, the way I see it if I have to choose between nasty and occasional murder-by-proxy statists like one finds in Western polities… and nasty psychopathic mass murderous ethnic cleansing and village gasing statists like Slobodan Milosevic and Saddam Hussain, then clearly I will side with the lesser evil.

    All crimes are not the same: magnitude matters. What the Rothbardians seem to keep doing is choosing the greater evil on the basis of a very parochial and blinkered Americocentric world view. I have even heard one Rothbardian tell me that Waco shows that the USA is no better than Ba’athist Iraq, as if killing 100 people was no different to killing hundreds of thousands. THAT is why I regard the Lew Rockwell world view when it comes to the world’s tyrants as actually rather ludicrous. To let it go unchallanged does rational libertarianism no favours.

  • John

    You want magnitude? Try toting up all the civilian deaths the U.S. and its allies (remember Dresden?)are responsible for since the 20th century (you can go back further if you like — how about Lincoln’s massacre?). Maybe you’ll see why some libertarians don’t have a naive “patriotic” view of American benevolence.

  • DId I say anything about benevolence? Did I say anything about ‘Patriotism’? Which bit about lesser EVIL escaped your notice? You seems to be mistaking me for someone else.

    So are you going to argue that National Socialism and Soviet Socialism are not far and away the ‘winners’ in the mass murder sweepstakes? I certainly hope that is not what you think.

    As for the strategic air war in WW2, sorry but that is a completely different issue and is more a matter of understanding a war fought with the weapons of the era. Blame Giulio Douhet.

  • John

    If you are serious about the “lesser evil” bit, then I apologize for the misleading characterization. It would certainly apply to other self-described libertarians. But correct me if I’m wrong, you seem eager enough to support U.S. military action that, in my opinion, has little do with defending against actual threats.

  • Yes, I am all in favour of seeing tyrants the world over reap the fruit of my stolen tax money, i.e. a smart bomb through the window of their presidential palace.

    I do not support war against Iraq because Iraq is a threat to the UK or USA, I do so because I support war against ‘the greater evil’ by the lesser evil. That is also why I supported the Cold War against the Soviets. I want evil barbarians like Saddam Hussain dead and if the nation-states in which I have worked and been taxed (i.e. the UK and USA) are going to keep funding volunteer militaries with my stolen tax money, then I would at least like to see some value for my money.

    Alas we do not yet live in a rational libertarian world, so until then, I promise to stop demanding the military kills people I don’t like when the state stops taxing me to fund said military.

  • T. J. Madison

    Perry, I too am eager to see tyrants like Mr. Hussein, et. al. have bad accidents. Clearly some organization needs to exist to kill these scumbags.

    I’m just doubtful that the US military is the right tool for this job. Being run by statist socialists, it’s very difficult for us, as libertarians, to control. It has the bad tendency to SPONSOR the same sorts of scumbags we want dead. The more we try and use it to fight evil scumbags, the bigger it gets, and the more tax money it consumes.

    When it’s used offensively to “liberate” places, there’s very little accountability as to the quality of the “liberation.” The people running the U.S. military, like all politicians, LIE A LOT about their motives, plans, and outcomes. As a result, the U.S. military periodically generates lots of positive PR for communism — like in SE Asia. This isn’t helpful. As libertarians, we have a hard enough time keeping the US and UK from messing with the liberties of their own citizens, much less getting them to advance liberty elsewhere.

    The greatest danger of using the US military is that if it gets big enough, nothing will be able to stop it if it goes really bad — including the US population. The more propaganda/media control capability the USG has, the scarier this gets.

    When Gandalf refuses to take the One Ring, is he making a mistake? Is the One Ring evil because of the nature of its maker, or the nature of its power?

  • David Perron

    Interesting. I guess it’s easy for some to suppose that we have the same military-dictatorship power structure as Iraq, for example. But only easy if they hadn’t the slightest idea how the government of the United States is actually run.

    It is possible, I suppose, for the military to seize control. It’s also possible for gravity to suddenly stop working, but we haven’t seen much sign of either catastrophe, much less any indication there’s something to worry about.

    Gandalf refused the One Ring for the same reasons that Galadriel did. Because it was Evil, made by Evil for Evil purposes. If you take the position that military might is intrinsically evil, that’s an entirely different conversation.

  • T. J. Madison

    >>It is possible, I suppose, for the military to seize control. It’s also possible for gravity to suddenly stop working, but we haven’t seen much sign of either catastrophe, much less any indication there’s something to worry about.

    Smaller scale breaches have occurred before. Go look up what happened to anti-WWI protestors, Japanese-Americans in WWII, COINTELPRO, etc. I don’t think it’s too extreme to suggest that bigger breaches might show up as the government gets bigger.

    Imagine that a small nuke went off in some U.S. city. My prediction: the public would BEG for a police state to save them, and would sacrifice their liberty as quickly as possible to anyone who would promise them security. Any remaining shreds of distinction between the military and the police, already worn thin by the drug war, would disappear.

    Let’s hope we never get to empirically test my assessment.

    Votes So far:
    One Ring evil by maker: 1
    One Ring evil by power: 0

  • David Perron

    The internment of ethnic Japanese during WWII was by command of the executive branch and had little do do with seizure of power by the military. I’d say that in the United States there is an increased sensitivity to limitations on civil liberties, rather than an increased tolerance. Just look at the uproar over things that actually make sense, such as pooling of gathered domestic and foreign intelligence. I’m not seeing it, sorry. If you’ve got some evidence (other than Democratic Underground hysteria) to the contrary, please do bring it on out.

    As for the “small nuke” scenario, it already happened. There was a deliberate intent to murder in excess of 50,000 civilians in an urban setting over a year ago; through no small amount of heroics and luck the body count was only about 3000. Granted, it wasn’t a nuke. But it certainly accomplished a “Sum of All Fears” scenario, repeatably and on a much smaller budget. If we didn’t nuke all of the Arab world in response to that, I’d say we’re showing some restraint. Have you forgotten the fury?

    It’s easy to postulate what might happen. But you’ve got to have some reasonable basis for assigning a nontrivial probability to the string of events you have fabricated. Otherwise, I think we’d better start spending all our defense dollars on the asteroid threat, because the level of danger is much higher. Once you discard any probabilistic concerns, anyhow.

  • Remove Saddam and replace him w/ someone else capable of keeping Iraq together (i.e. another thug), that way President Jeb Bush will have an enemy to rally the country around when he runs for re-election in 2012.

    Its possible to both jail any Reagan administration official (such as Rumsfeld) who aided or supported Iraq against Iran in the 80s (thus at least contributing to today’s supposed threat) and invade Iraq to take out that threat. If Iraq is really a threat, do both. My government can put up or shut up here.

  • I just noticed that Gene Callahan wrote a response to this post for LewRockwell.com:

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/callahan/callahan100.html

  • François G.

    With the Communists and the Neo-Nazis, but unlike them with parlous inconsistency, American libertarians seem to be the only people discussing this issue who do not draw any consequences from the fact that mass murderers are mass murderers — to such an extent that they seem unable to believe that others act because they do. Since libertarians are supposed to know that mass murderers do not have any rights at all, so that there must be at least a dilemma about opposing other governments attacking them, this can only be explained by psychology, in a quite peculiar local and personal context.

    Remember that Rothbard distorted basic historical facts to prop up his denial of Soviet aggressiveness (see Mikko Ellilä’s comments, and for those who can’t read Finnish, his quotes of Tim Starr’s at: http://fi-lib.blogspot.com/2002_09_01_fi-lib_archive.html).

    Besides, their reasoning involves a number of other fallacies, the grossest being perhaps their basic idea that “it is all our government’s fault, since if we left them alone, they would leave us alone”. This implies a vision of the enemy as a mechanical thing, unable to have wrong ideas and bad intentions of its own, their crimes being mere automatic reactions for which they have no responsibility and deserve no punishment. It is a display of moral incompetence, not only because it seems to excuse their actions, but because it actually denies them the dignity of human beings.