Saturday, February 18, 2012

Oil Anyone?: This was just posted by Prof. Juan Cole on his blog "Informed Comment." We do not always agree but I cannot match his historian's intellectual expertise in argument.

This post I believe has merit when one contemplates the why of an impending Iran hit. When one asks the omnipresent question why, think on what he says below. It is by far the most prescient rationale for the reason behind Middle East/US power politics. It does not take a genius to figure it out. All roads, of course, lead to oil and one can see that simply by the maps Professor Cole shows and the explanation in his opinion below.

For me the issue has never been an ignorance about the politics of oil but rather the ability of the US to wage permanent, never ending war killing and displacing hundreds of thousands and spending trillions of our treasury for it.

He states:

I had grabbed an earlier version of this graphic* off a Democratic Underground bulletin board from 2005. It made the point that the United States, which professes itself menaced by Iran, rather has Iran encircled by military bases. I have tried to update the map a bit, though this area is a moving target and the map no doubt isn’t perfect. It is expressive enough, however, of the reality. Iraq and Uzbekistan no longer have American bases, but the US military now has a refueling station in Turkmenistan.

Some critics complained that forward operating bases are not much of a base. But actually, this map* vastly understates the case. It shows only a few of the estimated 450 US military bases and outposts in Afghanistan, e.g. And it does not show drone bases, of which the US has 60 around the world.

Iran has 150 billion barrels in petroleum reserves, among the largest reserves in the world, but they cannot be exploited by US corporations because of ... US congressional sanctions on Iran. US elites, especially Big Oil, dream of doing regime change in Iran so as to get access to those vast reserves. Likely the most important US objection to the Iranian civilian nuclear enrichment program is that it could give Iran “nuclear latency,” the ability to construct a bomb quickly if it seemed to Tehran that the US planned to attack. That is, the real objection in Washington to Iranian nuclear know-how is that it makes Iraq-style regime change impossible and so puts Iranian petroleum out of reach of Houston for the foreseeable future. This consideration is likely the real reason that Washington does not, so to speak, go ballistic about North Korea and Pakistan having actual nuclear warheads, but like to has a fainting spell at the very idea of Iran enriching uranium to 3.5 percent (a bomb takes 95%). North Korea and Pakistan don’t have oil.

*NB: Graphics not shown

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