The foreign policy of the United States may have seemed a bit out of focus at times in the past few decades, but it’s now clear where we’re headed. With the recent release of the United States Strategic Defense Initiatives, the administration has now officially wrapped its arms around what has been somewhat of a hit and miss strategy toward securing energy resources for the future. The President has announced a shift in focus toward the Asia-Pacific region now that the Iraq war has ended and our occupation of Afghanistan is scheduled to end in 2014.
I’ve posted several times as to the real reason we have made Afghanistan the longest running military engagement in the history of the United States. It’s all about securing natural resources access. Read the post here. Or the original post here. In fact, here is an excerpt of testimony in front of a Congressional subcommittee on Asia/Pacific relations from 1998 by an executive from Unocal by the name of John J. Maresca.
I would like to focus today on three issues. First, the need for multiple pipeline routes for Central Asian oil and gas resources. Second, the need for U.S. support for international and regional efforts to achieve balanced and lasting political settlements to the conflicts in the region, including Afghanistan. Third, the need for structured assistance to encourage economic reforms and the development of appropriate investment climates in the region. In this regard, we specifically support repeal or removal of section 907 of the Freedom Support Act
He goes on to talk about the options available to the U.S. for pipeline options.
The second option is to build a pipeline south from Central Asia to the Indian Ocean. One obvious route south would cross Iran, but this is foreclosed for American companies because of U.S. sanctions legislation. The only other possible route is across Afghanistan, which has of course its own unique challenges. The country has been involved in bitter warfare for almost two decades, and is still divided by civil war. From the outset, we have made it clear that construction of the pipeline we have proposed across Afghanistan could not begin until a recognized government is in place that has the confidence of governments, lenders, and our company
Still not convinced? How about this statement made by Dick Cheney to the Guardian.
In 1998, Dick Cheney, now US vice-president but then chief executive of a major oil services company, remarked: “I cannot think of a time when we have had a region emerge as suddenly to become as strategically significant as the Caspian.” But the oil and gas there is worthless until it is moved. The only route which makes both political and economic sense is through Afghanistan
You can read the entire statement from Mr. Maresca before Congress here.
Now I’m not promoting conspiracy theories here. They are out already out there. However, the fact that we were actively debating the importance of this region for our future security and energy needs back in the 1990’s, prior to 9/11, is undeniable. My position has always been that our government is an opportunistic one. In fact, President Obama said as much when outlining our new strategic defense initiatives.
Indeed, as we end today’s wars, we will focus on a broader range of challenges and opportunities, including the security and prosperity of the Asia Pacific
9/11 happened and presented certain “opportunities”. We enacted the Patriot Act and created the TSA and eventually the DHS. We also embarked in an undeclared war in Afghanistan in an announced goal of seeking justice by eradicating the Taliban and getting Bin Laden.
The reason I point this out is the relevance of Afghanistan to our future goals at the time of 9/11. Where are we now? Facing a threat from Iran. Does it strike you ironic at all about the importance of Iran in our future goals at this time in history? I took the title of this post from an article written by Richard Rousseau in June of 2011. You can read it here. In it, he discusses the importance of pipelines and routes throughout this entire region for access to natural resources. A “Great Game” was played out over the last century in this region and now that energy needs are driving the geo-political plans of all the superpowers including the U.S., Russia and China, a renewed emphasis is now on this entire region, thus the “New Great Game”. From that article.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States is attempting to control a significant portion of the world’s energy supply via control of the oil and gas reserves in Azerbaijan and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, and the establishment of allied regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq
The article also points out this.
The future of Iranian energy policy is therefore a serious consideration for long-term U.S. interests. Iranian domination of the Persian Gulf and the implementation of the IPI project would hinder Washington’s objective of isolating Tehran internationally
Now, we were supposedly in Iraq because of the existence of WMD’s, which was borne out to be false. We’ve been in Afghanistan chasing down the elusive Usama Bin Laden, who turned up dead in a U.S. raid in Pakistan. Today, Iran is pivotal in the role of future energy security and we hear the drumbeat for pre-emptive war beating louder by the day due to the potential of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon. Yet, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta just announced that Iran is not attempting to develop a nuclear weapon.
I think the pressure of the sanctions, the diplomatic pressures from everywhere, Europe, the United States, elsewhere, it’s working to put pressure on them,” Panetta explained on Sunday. “To make them understand that they cannot continue to do what they’re doing. Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No. But we know that they’re trying to develop a nuclear capability, and that’s what concerns us. And our red line to Iran is, do not develop a nuclear weapon. That’s a red line for us
You can read more about his remarks and watch a video of them here. Sounds to me as if our concern is over energy and natural resources access, yet we are being sold on the concern of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapon capability. Whether or not we end up in another war or are drawn in through the Israeli connection remains to be seen.
When you connect all of the dots, it seems quite clear that we are in a race with the other superpowers to lock up energy security for the foreseeable future. To that end, we are doing what we’ve done for decades, which is to take advantage of opportunities presented by geo-political events to pursue our national security objectives. Accordingly, sometimes the concurrence of events puts us in the position of the accused and as the enabler, thus the multitude of conspiracy theories. Are we complicit at times and in various ways? You betcha!
This issue has increased in importance with the current election process due to the Ron Paul factor. He of course supports a foreign policy of complete non-intervention. How would this effect our national security objectives? I think you need look no further than the reaction from the establishment on both sides of the aisle. Paul is a serious threat to our current national security policy as we require the ability to conduct covert wars and apply pressure and influence, or intervention as Ron Paul would call it, to foreign countries to achieve objectives.
This is why I take the stance that Ron Paul cannot win the election. We’ve only seen a small taste of what the military-industrial complex, which includes the big government establishment from both major parties, will unleash on Paul if he continues to gain traction with the voters. They absolutely cannot afford for him to get in office. They have everything at stake. Mark my words, it goes much deeper than just a kooky guy who wants to end the Fed. He threatens their entire organization. Unfortunately, it’s Romney or bust unless you want four more years of Obama and I’m not even going to start on why that’s a disaster.