- Final World War?
Iraq, America And China
By Bill Henderson
23 July, 2005
In more than
the net I have gone round and round why Iraq was an illegal
war. Evidence of temptation, motive, deceit, aggression and incompetence.
I haven't spent
the time writing just to say 'Bad USA' or 'Bad Bush'. There are consequences
to breaking the law, especially when you consider yourself the world's
policeman. Corrosion of the rule of law and of needed multilateral institutions
(the UN); loss of respect.
One of my central
themes is that our world is now a much more dangerous place. Nuclear
weapons - weapons of mass destruction - never went away. Humanity's
Bottleneck condition promises fierce competition for resources. In this
context the Bush Admin sent a signal to the world in invading Iraq.
The world is a much more dangerous place for everybody because the Bush
Admin chose a resource
war path, a path for all of us toward a nuclear World War Three.
In an April
04 op-ed that was mainly about Lisa Martin's (Harvard School
of Government) prescient paper Multilateral
Organizations after the U.S.-Iraq War of 2003 , I speculated:
one example, how are Japan and China going to perceive American military-strategic
action in the Middle East and the Caspian Basin which can very easily
be seen as a new Great
Game to control the major oil producing regions that Japanese
and Chinese economies are dependent upon for most of their oil? Will
they submit to this new vehicle of US control of their economies or
will they surprise with ramifications that are not even considered today?
Buzz Holling has succinctly labeled some particularly nasty ecological
consequences of 'unilateral' natural resource management: Surprise.
Holling's cautionary applied science is extremely pertinent to the Bush
Admin's rejection of the constraints of multilateralism. The whole adventure
in Iraq has been unthought out surprise; and this geo-strategic use
of American overwhelming military power in not only Iraq but in Afghanistan
and in pressuring Russia and China with bases
in the Caspian Basin promises immense but worryingly unpredictable
consequences down the road. "
in Iraq did send a strong signal to emerging power China and still nuclear
muscled Russia. (Japan
has acquiesced and is re-emphasizing it's role as America's
East Asian ally.) Now in July 05 we are swimming full bore in surprising
and exceedingly dangerous new situations catalyzed by the Bush Admin
attempt to seize geo-strategically tempting Iraq:
We have half of
Asia including Russia, China, India, Iran and many of the new nations
in the Caspian Basin joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO):
"A new multinational
organization that already represents over half the world's population
and whose clear intent is to create a counterbalance to the United States'
political and strategic hegemony has begun flexing its muscle."
The SCO and then
Russian President Putin and visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao issued
statements in support of national integrity and multilateral
problem solving clearly motivated by US unilateralist actions. Differences
and disputes must be solved through peaceful means rather than through
unilateralism or coercion. There should be no use or threatened use
of force. Disagreement 'should not be used as pretext for interference
in other countries' internal affairs'. Jingoism maybe but
still basically bedrock democratic truth.
The SCO countries
also demanded that the US set a timetable for leaving Central Asia
Did Cheney, Rumsfeld
and Wolfowitz anticipate how aggression in Iraq would precipitate this
new anti-American alliance?
We have also had
a Chinese oil company make an offer on a second tier but quintessentially
American oil company, Unocal, because
administration's decision to wage the war in Iraq stands out as a crucial
factor in explaining how Beijing came to scour the Earth for energy
and why the effort is likely to remain central to Sino-US relations
for some time, say the analysts....
the government's thinking,'' said Pan Rui, an international relations
expert at Fudan University in Shanghai. ``The Middle East is China's
largest source of oil. America is now pursuing a grand strategy, the
pursuit of American hegemony in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is the
number one oil producer, and Iraq is number two [in terms of reserves].
Now, the United States has direct influence in both countries....''
argue that oil interests are the driving force behind the Iraq war,''
said Beijing University security expert Zhu Feng. ``For China, it has
been a reminder and a warning about how geopolitical changes can affect
its own energy interests. So China has decided to focus much more intently
to address its security.''
Long march to energy security )
We then had American
politicians openly repudiate free market access to what is now perceived
as a geo-strategically important oil company. We had the leaders of
free enterprise America openly denying the fungibility of oil.
Did those oil men
in the Bush Admin anticipate being outflanked in the endgame
for cheap oil by not only the new SCO alliance, but by the Chinese
using American dollars to out compete America in stock markets globally?
In an Observer essay
entitled US and China Slipping
into a Conflict over Oil Will Hutton argues that peak oil is
the inescapable context for conflict. The China National Offshore Oil
Company (CNOOC) bid for Unocal is but one small move in a much bigger
This is a new
great geopolitical game and neither the Chinese nor American military
are impressed by arguments that the market must rule and that great
powers in todays globalized world no longer need strategic oil
reserves. The US keeps six nuclear battle fleets permanently at sea
supported by an unparalleled network of global bases not because of
irrational chauvinism or the needs of the military-industrial complex,
but because of the pressure they place on upstart countries like China.
this year to abandon its effort to build its own oil company and attempted
strategic reserve was an overt acceptance of its dependent position.
China is not ready to make the same admission of defeat.
And then last Friday
we had a Chinese
general, Zhu Chenghu,
rattle the People's Liberation Army nuclear sword at America:
Americans draw their missiles and position-guided ammunition on to the
target zone on China's territory, I think we will have to respond with
Zhu was reacting
to America's promise to defend Taiwan in event of attack and America's
increasing deployment encircling China.
was the American reaction but few Americans connect the dots.
Military and foreign
affairs experts such as Gwynne Dyer though are aware of
US effort to sort of encircle and build anti-Chinese alliances, which
is well underway now. The US sees China as its challenger for unique
military superpower head honcho of the planet."
During the same
when asked 'What you're saying about the United States' foreign
policy though, do you think that they are heading in the right direction
to avoid what you call a catastrophic conflict?' Mr. Dyer replied
"No, I think
they're heading straight into it. I mean, they're re-militarising the
international system. I mean, the Americans are running around Asia
at the moment, making bilateral agreements which are essentially anti-Chinese,
with every country that they can sign up join us, confront China,
don't need to contain China and that obviously will spook the Chinese.
They're behaving reasonably well at the moment but they can see what
the Americans are up to."
'What would a catastrophic
war between those two powers look like, and when do you think it might
I sincerely hope it won't and we aren't there yet. If it went down that
road and you do end up with a sort of Asian NATO confronting China and
redefining everything as a military confrontation and it then
toppled over into an actual open war, let's say over Taiwan well,
I guess you're looking at World War Three with a different cast of characters
than you were expecting."
neocons in the Bush Admin had
signed on to policy documents which anticipated conflict with
an emerging China in the future and which advocated preemptive use of
American military power to forestall any threat to America's sole super-power
status - Did they not expect China to react to US provocation in Iraq?
What turn of events are they expecting
Hutton ends his
The best way
of avoiding war is not to dismiss its possibility as outlandish; it
is to recognize how easily it could happen and vigilantly guard against
the risk. Too few in Washington or Beijing are currently doing that.
Conflict with emerging
power China was perhaps always in the cards, but Americans, informed
Americans in Washington and throughout the country, have to awaken to
how cynically premeditated aggression in Iraq has made the world a much
more dangerous place and understand that a final nuclear war - or perhaps
a preemptive attempt to depopulate Asia? - is ahead on this resource
Getting off this
path requires justice and an end to occupation in Iraq and a renunciation
of preemptive unilateralism. Aware Americans must work to impeach Bush
and try members of his Administration for war crimes, for lying to Americans,
and aggression in Iraq.
And instead of re-militarizing
the international system, the US must lead in recognizing the dangers
of war caused by Bottleneck caused severe resource depletion - peak
oil, but also water and food in the near future. People on this planet
need the US to lead by committing American can-do ingenuity to multilateral
cooperation in heading off these global-scale problems.