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The War - Did We Sacrifice A Million Lives And
A $Trillion Cash Just To Hand Our Jobs to China? Part IV

By Nicholas C. Arguimbau

31 January, 2011
Countercurrents.org

While the Tea Partiers and the liberals squabble over important domestic issues, America’s corporate and military titans, at the expense of America’s workers and taxpayers and with the blessing of Congress and the President, are creating China’s economic miracle. The military, at a cost of over $1 trillion, has paved the way for China to acquire and the U.S. to lose access to vast mineral and petroleum resources. The oil industry, with U.S. government assistance, is building a safe haven in East Asia from the imminent crash of oil everywhere else. And foreign investment, largely American, is giving China on average nearly one million new jobs a month while American unemployment soars.

This is a four-part series. Part One discusses why and how the oil industry could create a safe haven from its own collapse, and why it might choose China for the project. Part Two discusses how East Asia became "the right market" for the world’s remaining oil reserves, endangering everyone else. Part Three discusses how the US military has turned Afghanistan and Iraq into China’s good buddies. Part Four takes a broader view of what has happened and what if anything can be done about it. Enjoy.

Part Four of Four. What’s Really Going on Here?

Also Read

Part I Thinking About The War

Part II The US and Europe Aren’t "the Right Markets."
Does "Big Oil" have the resources to carry out your plan?

Part III Our Hand-Picked Governments in Afghanistan and Iraq Snub Us and Befriend China

 

Several months before the 2009 auction in Iraq, Michael Economides, editor of the industry newspaper, Energy Tribune, had described the changing roles of the West and China in petroleum acquisition in a virtual script for the up-coming Iraqi auction:

"It is certain that large Chinese oil acquisitions will become commonplace . .. . .Almost overnight, the US and the EU will be reduced to mere bystanders while China moves into the geopolitical major leagues. Massive Chinese acquisition of energy assets will lead to a transfer of political and economic power that the modern world has rarely seen. Why the US would be willing to give up competing for what has arguably been the world’s most vital commodity and for which there is no credible alternative, is mystifying."1

Mystifying indeed. Economides attributed the Western lassitude to too much "philosophizing on the future of the planet."2 Hmmm. Is that what motivated the US oil companies in sitting out the 2009 auction? Somehow it seems even less likely than the idea that the war has been an aging imperialist nation’s gambit to "crush the growing ambitions of China." We all allow our vision to be clouded on occasion by our determination to blame things on our favorite enemies. Were we "philosophizing on the future of the planet" when we killed one million Iraqis? Were we "crushing the growing ambitions of China" when we imposed "regime changes" in which the new rulers fell over backwards to give China their geological crown jewels? I don’t think so. And yet the BEHAVIOR of both the US Government and the US oil companies is as if they do not want Americans to have oil in the future. An environnmentally admirable position to take if the oil were not going to be used anyway, but the safe-haven-in-China motive and Maresca's assurances that Asia is the "right market" ring more true to this observer at least, especially given that the Waxman and Kerry global warming bills were drafted apparently so that the oil industry would be saved from doing more than "peak oil" would require. See www.countercurrents.org/arguimbau230410.htm ("Imminent Crash of the Oil Supply . . ."), .

Good cop, bad cop

So we go into Afghanistan, rough everyone up, put "our" man in charge and tell ‘em it’s time to have a democracy. Folks aren’t terribly impressed. Then right behind us comes China, which "hearts and minds ‘em," and they lay out the red carpet. The scene repeats itself in Iraq, where there’s a literal red carpet at the 2009 petroleum auction.

It’s a classic "good cop bad cop" routine. For those unfamiliar with it, the routine originated in police interrogation techniques. The "good cop" ingratiates himself to the suspect, offers him food or drink, explains that he wants to get him the best possible deal and may be able to do so if the suspect cooperates. The "bad cop" is standing by, seething, seemingly willing to beat up the suspect at the least excuse if he fails to cooperate. When the routine works, the suspect ultimately does what the "good cop" wants out of gratitude for having an alternative to the "bad cop."

In context, China, playing "good cop," is in a strong position to negotiate favorable contracts for pipeline corridors, oil or other resources from a country that has been subjected to US military intervention. The countries holding natural resources or pipeline corridors coveted by China may choose between China’s "carpet of gold" and America’s "carpet of bombs." 3 To the casual observer, the "good cop" and "bad cop" have conflicting goals, but in fact they are one and the same.. As Chinese analyst Liu Xuecheng puts it as quoted at the opening of this article, the US wages war while China "tries to help."

You have to admire China’s chutzpah. China avoids blame for engaging in imperialist war, China carries off the spoils, United States soldiers bear the casualties, United States taxpayers shoulder the bill, the United States takes the exclusive blame for yet another immoral war, AND China purchases bonds, about one trillion dollars, altogether, on which U.S. taxpayers will be paying interest for decades, to cover the cost.4 As writer William Schneider asks, "Isn't there something worrisome about Communist China financing operations of the U.S. government?"5 But that’s a question for another day.

OK, what’s goin’ on here, if it isn’t clear already?

So what IS going on here? Let’s make a list:

(1) In 1992, there began a massive foreign investment in China. Annual foreign investment multipled by more than 10 in five years to around $70 billion per year by 1997, an influx of "stimulus money" every year greater relative to the size of the GDP, than the US stimulus package of 2009. China, which had been stagnating in the years just prior to that influx, boomed. And for the last decade, investment has been by far the largest contributor to China’s GDP growth, eclipsing its phenomenal export volume,.6 And for the last five yearshas contributed an average of 750,000 jobs per month to the Chinese economy.One might surmise that the oil industry had something to do with that, given its abundance of cash, but this writer lacks the data.

(2) John Maresca made his famous 1998 speech on invitation of Congress and DOE explaining why the Taliban needed to be booted from power in Afghanistan to make way for a pipeline that could get oil to ."the right markets" - namely East Asia rather than the western markets.

(3) The Clinton and Bush administrations negotiated with the Taliban over the pipeline corridor up until August, 2001. The US negotiator made the famous "carpet of gold or carpet of bombs"warning shortly before the negotiations collapsed.

(4) 9/11 happened, apparently as the brainchild of Osama Bin Laden and the Al Qaeda, and in response the "War Against Terrorism" began. At the time, these folks were in fact in Afghanistan

(5) The US delegated capture of Bin Laden and the Al Qaeda to local fighters, the "Northern Alliance," who allowed Bin Laden and the Al Qaeda to escape into Pakistan, where we let them be. The US forces themselves went after the Taliban and ousted its government, replacing it with Hamid Karzai.

(6) These events led the left and much of the European press to conclude that a major and perhaps exclusive purpose of the US in ousting the Taliban was that the war was "for oil," when the logical inference to be drawn was that it was for "oil companies" who wanted the oil itself to go to East Asia.

(7) China particularly, plus other East Asian nations,, have profited magnificently from the war the United States has fought at tremendous cost in Afghanistan and Iraq., and could not otherwise have profited unless they had gone to war themselves.

(8) The Energy Tribune concluded prior to the Iraqi auctions that neither the United States nor its oil companies are any longer seeking to secure oil rights for Americans, and are abandoning the field to China.

(9) The US oil companies were "no shows" at the major 2009 Iraqi auctions, and China and Malaysia secured the great majority of he contracts.

(10) Everyone agrees that China’s ability to do business in Afghanistan and Iraq has been helped, and America’s ability has been hurt, by America rather than China having had the military presence.

(11) Despite enormous expenditures of money and loss of lives, the United States has made negligible progress for itself, but has made enormous progress getting oil to the "right markets," where its use in a declining oil industry will automatically mean that the Western markets will have substantially less.

There have been a multitude of analyses why the Afghan/Iraq war cannot be considered to be exclusively or even primarily a "war against terror," a war against "weapons of mass destruction," or, since we have had an opportunity to see the "changed regimes" in action, a war for US energy security. This writer submits, however, that the simplest explanation that fits all the facts,7 is that it has been from the start a war to ensure that as much oil and other natural resources will get to the "right markets" - namely, East Asia, as possible. Because oil production is no longer growing, every new barrel of oil for East Asia is a barrel less for the remainder of the world.

What about our hypothetical plan’s objective of depriving the "nonwnners" of as much oil as possible as quickly as possible? That is where things get scary. As noted above, the current trend has China increasing its share of oil consumption exponentially at 1%^/yr, meaning that its share, if the trend could continue, would reach 100% of the then-available total, with no one else having anything China didn’t want to give them, by 2025. With the support of the US military in the form of security, and the support of the oil industry in the form of subsidies and "no-shows," there is no obvious insurmountable hurdle. And as long as China and the US can continue playing "good cop bad cop" to a gullible world, China has nothing to lose and everything to gain. Could the hypothetical conspirators be so demonic? Well, there’s nothing new about this. Psychopathy is not-unheard-of even among supposedly sane U.S. geopolitical planners.8

If something like this weren’t happening, we would have no viable explanation for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we would have no viable explanation for what is happening to the oil industry’s probably enormous postpeak profits. And with China and the US Government working in harmony, there is no obvious reason why China will not acquire the whole remaining oil supply in short order. Is that at least part of the reason

-Microsoft is making major investments in China,9

-GM, raised from the dead by United States taxpayers, has put most of its

hopes for the future in China, where its sales already exceed its sales in the US,10

-business invested in only 39,000 new jobs in the US in November as compared to the 750,000 jobs per month, 45 million total over the last five years that foreign investors have created in China11 and

-American oil companies were "noticeably absent" from the Iraq auction, the editor of Energy Tribune says Europe and the United States are no longer trying to compete with China for oil, and private oil companies are building refineries and gas stations in China?

Do they all know something we don’t know about where the remaining oil is going to go?

But Hold On, Oil’s Chinese Safe Haven Isn’t Quite Built Yet

There’s always a possible glitch. China has a legitimate ability to sap the American economy: the extreme disparity between wages here and there, which is ultimately unsustainable. But China does not have a legitimate expectation that the United States will provide military assistance at our taxpayers’ expense to forward Chinese imperialist designs. Nor does China have legitimate expectation that the United States will assist in creating a Chinese safe haven from the end of oil, allowing American companies to pick up their marbles and take them away with impunity, taking our jobs with them. In fact there should be no safe havens from the end of oil, because they are inconsistent with climate stabilization,. Nor does China have a legitimate expectation that it can take charge of companies built by and for Americans, leaving behind lifeless skeletons like Detroit.

The fundamental reason that this was able to occur, was that we allowed oil and banking interests to corrupt or at least control our government so completely that we cannot even call the military our own. So we must all work to end that, starting by making sure we all agree we will not allow anyone to be elected who has accepted contaminated money in their public lives. No more voting for "lesser evils" who support our particular concerns but continue to accept oil money, Wall Street money, etc. We need to end the ability of corporate "persons" to spend billions influencing elections. We need to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan NOW, and restore the constitutional principle that our presidents cannot engage in war without a declaration of war setting its boundaries. The books need to be opened as to major investments by Americans and American businesses in foreign countries, and in particular as to the use of any "bailout" funds for investment in China. Steps must be taken to preserve or replace at the cost of the investors, jobs jeopardized through foreign investment. These things are unlikely to occur while we have a Congress and President so removed from those they ostensibly represent that they will engage in war at our expense with the intent or effect to take our jobs away.

We must also remember that the pay disparity between developing countries and the US is a legitimate threat to the US economy wherever and whenever it exists. Consequently, it is in our interest to work for healthy labor conditions and fair compensation EVERYWHERE.

And we, individually and collectively, need to go all out to minimize our petroleum use because (a) it is necessary for saving the earth, (b) it is necessary for dispelling our ugly public image, and (c) if China and industry succeed with the "safe haven," we;d better get used to it FAST.

Finally, we must remember what we did when Sputnik crossed our skies. We didn’t just whine. We started a crash program in technical education to assure that our workers would continue to offer unique talents to the world. The time has come again for that. The United States has the best educational institutions in the world (although China is rapidly outstripping us) but by no means the best educations. Over the long haul, we have to expect our paychecks to correlate better with our talents than they do today, which means doing what it takes to improve American education.

So we have our work cut out for us. We don't have much time, because with the active support of our government and businesses and no significant opposition, China may be able to achieve 100% control of the oil reserves by 2025. We need a government that will not "give away the store," as both parties have become accustomed to doing with impunity.

------------------------------

The author is a California-licensed lawyer residing in Massachusetts (e-mail narguimbau@earthlink.net). He wishes to thank Ted Cady, Peter Goodchild, Peter Hollings, Lance Rodgers and Emily Spence for encouragement and valuable input. All rights reserved, in particular for republicatiion.

NOTES

1. Economides, "China’s Oil Power Play," Energy Tribune, August 27, 2009, http://www.energytribune.com/articles.cfm/2199/Chinas-Oil-Power-Play

2. Economides, "China’s Oil Power Play," Energy Tribune, August 27, 2009, http://www.energytribune.com/articles.cfm/2199/Chinas-Oil-Power-Play

3. Cf. threat made by US negotiators with Taliban shortly before 9/11 concerning an oil pipeline corridor to the Indian Ocean, as quoted in the French book by two reputable investigative reporters, published November 15, 2001, "Bin Laden, la verité interdite'' (''Bin Laden, the forbidden truth''):"Either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs.'' http://archive.democrats.com/view.cfm?id=5166. The threat has never subsequently been denied by the US.

4. "Who Owns the US National Debt?" Business Insider, January 14, 2011.http://www.businessinsider.com/who-owns-the-us-national-debt-2011-1

5. William Schneider, "Re-evaluating U.S. Debt," Atlantic Monthly, 10/ 2005, http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2005/10/re-evaluating-usdebt/4396/

6. "An old Chinese myth. Contrary to popular wisdom, China's rapid growth is not hugely dependent on exports." The Economist, Jan 3rd 2008, http://www.economist.com/node/10429271?story_id=10429271

7. Occam’s Razor, or as Einstein put it, "Everything should be kept as simple as possible, but no simpler." Wikipedia, "Occam’s Razor," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam's_razor

8. Daniel Ellsberg’s Website, September 13, 2009, "U.S. Nuclear War Planning for a Hundred Holocausts," describing the approved US plan for eliminating one billion civilians in a nuclear first strike against the Sino-Soviet bloc, http://www.ellsberg.net/archive/us-nuclear-war-planning-for-a-hundred-holocaust s

9. See for example, CIIP.con, "Microsoft steps up its expansion in second-tier cities," January 4, 2011, www.ciipp.com/en/index/view-285257.html ; Agence France-Presse, "Microsoft Plans $1 Billion Investment in China R&D," November 13, 2008," http://www.industryweek.com/articles/microsoft_plans_1_billion_investment_in_ china_rd_17808.aspx

10. Bloomberg News, "GM’s First-Half China Sales Surge Past the U.S.," 7/2/10, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-07-02/general-motors-first-half-china-sale s-rise-48-5-pass-u-s-for-first-time.html

11. China News November 8, 2010, "China's FDI to hit 420 bln U.S. dollars in ‘11th Five-Year Plan’ period . http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2010-11/08/c_13597039.htm

 




 


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