Overproduction, oil, and war

Jacob Levich jlevich at earthlink.net
Tue Feb 18 08:42:31 MST 2003

I suspect Monbiot's summary doesn't do full justice to Harvey's argument.
At 09:56 AM 2/18/2003 -0500, you wrote:
>  Seems quite a stretch that Iraq will ever be a major market for U.S.
> investments or exports, much less a sink for the huge excesses of surplus
> capital that have presumably accumulated here. Even if we look at this as
> part of Bush's "eternal war," so far Bush has attacked one poor Third
> World nation and is preparing to attack another. They do not represent
> post WWII Europe with its Marshall plan.

Good point, but what is to be kept in mind is that there's ample evidence
that the US intends the invasion of Iraq to be, not an end itself, but the
lynchpin of a plan to reorder and recolonize, directly or indirectly, most
of south, central, and west Asia -- an area which includes vast mineral,
oil, and labor resources. (See "Rebuilding America's Defences: Strategy,
Forces and Resources for a New Century",  Project for a New American
Century, Jan. 2001; see also the analysis of the PNAC report and other key
sources at http://www.rupe-india.org/34/agenda.html )

By the way Iraq is only "poor" because of war and sanctions, by the way.
Before the Gulf War I believe Iraq was one of the more affluent countries
in the Middle East, with a far better distribution of national wealth than
comparable countries. It sits on top of an estimated 250 bn barrels of oil;
much of the pressure for lifting sanctions in the year or two before 9/11
came from Europe and Russia, which had already struck deals to begin
tapping these reserves. Without war and sanctions, Iraq would probably have
become an economic powerhouse in the Middle East -- which, of course, is
one of the reasons the US needed to destroy it -- and WHoite House planners
believe it could be restored to that status (but without any independence
from the US) within a decade or so after the currently planned invasion.

Harvey's other point is also relevant here: the US aims to use control of
Middle East oil as a lever for a kind of global economic hegemony, giving
US the ability to blackmail China, Russia, EU, and other oil-dependent
economies . The advantages of this in terms of creating new markets of
various kinds, as and where necessary throughout the planet and not just in
the Middle East, seems clear.


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