May 20, 2007

Antonio Rappa on Oil

I've been reading off and on a book by Antonio L. Rappa entitled Globalization: An Asian Perspective on Modernity and Politics in America (published 2004). Rappa is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the National University of Singapore (NUS). Much of what Rappa writes on oil in this passage ties in with what Kevin Phillips wrote in his book, American Theocracy.

I really can't understand why some people earnestly believe that the US is interested in the Middle East for altruistic reasons such as human rights, non-oil trade, or Mediterranean tourism. American troops were not trying to keep the peace in the Sudan, the Republic of Congo, East Timor, or Kashmir. The reason is because these places do not produce sufficient quantities of oil for export to make them sufficiently attractive and worth the trouble of establishing diplomatic relations, economic, social and cultural exchanges, and military assistance. Inasmuch as the US is interested in preventing war from breaking out between China and Taiwan because of the gross amount of investments that it has in both countries, there is a similar reason why the Middle East peace process appears to be a never-ending story. American foreign policy is always dictated by its national interest. And the national interest of the MNCs and Military Industrial Complex that control much of American life is "oil." ... [T]he only reason why the US is so interested in the Middle East is oil. Oil sustains American neoliberal globalization. Let's not pretend it is because of democracy, to protect Israel, to ensure the safety of Americans, or to promote free-trade or world peace. These are only secondary objectives. The US State Department knows full well that without oil, the entire US economy will collapse, and the American Dream will implode. This is a fact. The two Gulf Wars were ostensibly about removing dictators like Saddam Hussein. The Shah of Iran and his troops committed similar atrocities when they were in power (similar to the Russians before glasnost and perestroika; and now that the "Russian mafia" seems to be in charge of many areas, rather than state or the KGB). The real reasons are the oil fields beneath Basra in Southern Iraq. There are three types of crude oil [Basra Regular, Basra Medium, and Basra Heavy] that Saddam and his henchmen hid under the desert. Some analysts say it is between 5-7 per cent of total world production per day. Others say the figures are much higher, perhaps high enough to solve American oil problems for the next quarter of a century. There are also sufficient oil and natural gas reserves in that region to make anyone want to invest in a stable and democratic-loving Iraq.


An American national interest in the Middle East or in the Straits of Malacca or in China and Taiwan is really about protecting America and Americans. These and many other places serve as important and strategic locations for ensuring the smooth flow of American goods and services. Let's call a spade a spade. The main reason why America seems to be here, there and everywhere is because it is safeguarding the American way of life, perhaps the American Dream, and certainly not merely for human rights assistance or aid for natural disasters.
- pp. 109-10

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is one of the most earnest and brilliantly written books I have ever come across.