Published on Global Research.ca, by Andrew Gavin Marshall, October 16, 2009.
In the face of total global economic collapse, the prospects of a massive international war are increasing. Historically, periods of imperial decline and economic crisis are marked by increased international violence and war. The decline of the great European empires was marked by World War I and World War II, with the Great Depression taking place in the intermediary period.
Currently, the world is witnessing the decline of the American empire, itself a product born out of World War II. As the post-war imperial hegemon, America ran the international monetary system and reigned as champion and arbitrator of the global political economy.
To manage the global political economy, the US has created the single largest and most powerful military force in world history. Constant control over the global economy requires constant military presence and action. Now that both the American empire and global political economy are in decline and collapse, the prospect of a violent end to the American imperial age is drastically increasing …
… The War on Terror and Surplus Imperialism:
In 2000, the Pentagon released a document called Joint Vision 2020, which outlined a project to achieve what they termed, “Full Spectrum Dominance,” as the blueprint for the Department of Defense in the future. “Full-spectrum dominance means the ability of U.S. forces, operating alone or with allies, to defeat any adversary and control any situation across the range of military operations.” The report “addresses full-spectrum dominance across the range of conflicts from nuclear war to major theater wars to smaller-scale contingencies. It also addresses amorphous situations like peacekeeping and noncombat humanitarian relief.” Further, “The development of a global information grid will provide the environment for decision superiority.”
As political economist, Ellen Wood, explained, “Boundless domination of a global economy, and of the multiple states that administer it, requires military action without end, in purpose or time.” Further, “Imperial dominance in a global capitalist economy requires a delicate and contradictory balance between suppressing competition and maintaining conditions in competing economies that generate markets and profit. This is one of the most fundamental contradictions of the new world order.”
Following 9/11, the “Bush doctrine” was put in place, which called for “a unilateral and exclusive right to preemptive attack, any time, anywhere, unfettered by any international agreements, to ensure that ‘[o]ur forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military build-up in hope of surpassing, or equaling, the power of the United States’.”
NATO undertook its first ground invasion of any nation in its entire history, with the October 2001 invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. The Afghan war was in fact, planned prior to the events of 9/11, with the breakdown of major pipeline deals between major western oil companies and the Taliban. The war itself was planned over the summer of 2001 with the operational plan to go to war by mid-October.
Afghanistan is extremely significant in geopolitical terms, as, “Transporting all the Caspian basin’s fossil fuel through Russia or Azerbaijan would greatly enhance Russia’s political and economic control over the central Asian republics, which is precisely what the west has spent 10 years trying to prevent. Piping it through Iran would enrich a regime which the US has been seeking to isolate. Sending it the long way round through China, quite aside from the strategic considerations, would be prohibitively expensive. But pipelines through Afghanistan would allow the US both to pursue its aim of ‘diversifying energy supply’ and to penetrate the world’s most lucrative markets.”
As the San Francisco Chronicle pointed out a mere two weeks following the 9/11 attacks, “Beyond American determination to hit back against the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks, beyond the likelihood of longer, drawn-out battles producing more civilian casualties in the months and years ahead, the hidden stakes in the war against terrorism can be summed up in a single word: oil.” Explaining further, “The map of terrorist sanctuaries and targets in the Middle East and Central Asia is also, to an extraordinary degree, a map of the world’s principal energy sources in the 21st century. The defense of these energy resources — rather than a simple confrontation between Islam and the West — will be the primary flash point of global conflict for decades to come.”
Among the many notable states where there is a crossover between terrorism and oil and gas reserves of vital importance to the United States and the West, are Saudi Arabia, Libya, Bahrain, the Gulf Emirates, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Sudan and Algeria, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Chechnya, Georgia and eastern Turkey. Importantly, “this region accounts for more than 65 percent of the world’s oil and natural gas production.” Further, “It is inevitable that the war against terrorism will be seen by many as a war on behalf of America’s Chevron, ExxonMobil and Arco; France’s TotalFinaElf; British Petroleum; Royal Dutch Shell and other multinational giants, which have hundreds of billions of dollars of investment in the region.”
It’s no secret that the Iraq war had much to do with oil. In the summer of 2001, Dick Cheney convened an Energy Task Force, which was a highly secret set of meetings in which energy policy was determined for the United States. In the meetings and in various other means of communication, Cheney and his aides met with top officials and executives of Shell Oil, British Petroleum (BP), Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Conoco, and Chevron. At the meeting, which took place before 9/11 and before there was any mention of a war on Iraq, documents of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, refineries and terminals were presented and discussed, and “Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates (UAE) documents likewise feature a map of each country’s oilfields, pipelines, refineries and tanker terminals.” Both Royal Dutch Shell and British Petroleum have since received major oil contracts to develop Iraqi oilfields.
The war on Iraq, as well as the war on Afghanistan, also largely serve specifically American, and more broadly, Western imperial-strategic interests in the region. In particular, the wars were strategically designed to eliminate, threaten or contain regional powers, as well as to directly install several dozen military bases in the region, firmly establishing an imperial presence. The purpose of this is largely aimed at other major regional players and specifically, encircling Russia and China and threatening their access to the regions oil and gas reserves. Iran is now surrounded, with Iraq on one side, and Afghanistan on the other.
Part 1 of this essay outlined the US-NATO imperial strategy for entering the New World Order, following the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991. The primary aim was focused on encircling Russia and China and preventing the rise of a new superpower. The US was to act as the imperial hegemon, serving international financial interests in imposing the New World Order. The next part to this essay examines the “colour revolutions” throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia, continuing the US and NATO policy of containing Russia and China; while controlling access to major natural gas reserves and transportation routes. The “colour revolutions” have been a pivotal force in geopolitical imperial strategy, and analyzing them is key to understanding the New World Order. (full long text and Endnotes 1 – 46).
- (Andrew Gavin Marshall is a Research Associate with the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG). He is currently studying Political Economy and History at Simon Fraser University.
- Andrew Gavin Marshall is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Andrew Gavin Marshall).