Stratfor on Possible Russia/USA Deal

Mark Jones markjones011 at
Wed Sep 18 16:35:13 MDT 2002

At 18/09/2002 21:30, you wrote:
>List members may be interested in this Stratfor digest out today. It seems
>to have a sense of realism about it. The US government is desperate for a
>war with Iraq, and Russia can be easily bribed.

I don't buy this, altho none of us including stratfor can really know what
kind of double-dealing is going on up in the heavens right now. Maybe Bush
himself doesn't know. But I don't think Putin would trade the right to veto
US control of mid-east oil just for the chance to have a crack at a few
Chechens in the Pankisi Gorge, not least because that has anyway only
become an issue because of US penetration and engagement in the
Caucasus/Central Asia since 9/11 and since Putin made what hindsight now
shows to be the catastrophic mistake of agreeing to let them in. Putin is
extremely pissed off with Bush and very ancious to correct his mistake;
it's not Georgians or Chechens he wants out of Russia's backyard, but the
Americans themselves.

Bush's problem is that he is reduced to asking permission from America's
greatest global rivals for the right to go one ruling them and plundering
them. Germany has already responded; why on earth would China, Japan or
Russia meekly go along with what amounts to giving the robber the right to
loot them, declare them rogue states, etc in the future? Personally I can't
see anyway Bush will get the Security Council to agree with US aggression
against Iraq. So the US will have to go it alone in what will essentially
be a criminal adventure in breach of international law and against the will
of the so-called 'international community'. This will be an unprecedented
debacle and illustration of US isolation and weakness. It will also usher
in a prolonged period of global political turbulence and economic decline;
and that's not even taking into account what might happen on the ground and
in the oilfields, if US troops do go on.

This is a real, not imaginary impasse because the underlying reason for US
urgency about Iraq and control of mideast oil generally is not just
corporate greed, but the accelerating decline of non-Opec oil supplies and
the critical and growing dependence of US on imported oil and natural gas.
This and the failure of the Caspian to live up to its early promise makes
it essential for the US to reassert direct physical control over the
mideast oilfields. It is a matter of national life and death, looking ahead
a decade or more. And even before that, if Bush fails to make Iraq and
Saudi oil available on terms, then  oil prices will quadruple, and the US
will suffer a return to 1970's experiences of fuel rationing, queues, Cafe
standards, speed limits etc: the visible, domestic correlative of a huge
crisis for US global hegemony.

Mark Jones

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