Ivo Skoric on Wed, 25 Sep 2002 07:21:11 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Oil, Blood and Gore

This thing with buldozzers - that's new in the histoty of warfare, 
isn't it? I mean Serbs and Croats blew up and burned buildings in 
their process of ethnic cleansing. Israel is bringing demolition 
crews with buldozzers - taking the obvious military aspect out of 
the operation.

Ok, they digged a trench around Arafat's compound. Again! And 
whenever they do it, Arafat's popularity soars. Is he paying Sharon 
for the blockade? Why would Sharon pay for the fuel, food and 
soldiers to boost his enemy's ratings? Where is the logic to that? 

And have you heard Gore's speech yesterday? The elected 
president called Bushites appeal for US global dominance - un-
American (hey, I am calling TIPS on Bush!). Donahue summoned 
Jesse Jackson to studio and they both salivated over Gore's 

You could see a nostalgic streak in Donahue's voice: wouldn't it be 
nice if Gore was so assertive during the electoral campaign? One 
wonders can the Supreme Court reverse its decision and appoint 
him President now, as they did with Bush initially? 

Schroeder won elections in Germany. The "German way" paid well. 
The only problem is that the "German way" went in the opposite 
direction of the "American way" this time. And Schroeder nearly 
miscalculated the unpopularity of American pit-bull president in 

For example, his (former) justice minister putting Bush's name in 
the same sentence with Hitler's name did not really fly very well. It 
was a too obvious attempt to vote-grabbing by a sensationalist 
libel. What exactly did George do so far to deserve being put in the 
same file with Adolf? He used war talk to mask domestic troubles. 
Well, hello, most of politicians do that, and not all of them become 

But it played well for my favorite European politician: Jossca 
Fischer. It is absolutely hilarious to see a guy who built his political 
base in anti-NATO marches, defending German-US alliance 
against the cheap tricks of electoral politics. The result: SPD lost 
votes, Greens gained votes, and Schroeder remained chancellor 
mostly thanks to Jossca.

My friend, now in Europe, thinks I've been in America too long, so 
now I started to think that all that's bad comes frome here. I think 
she's been abroad too long. This place underwent some changes. 
We got Comodus for an Emperor. Marcus Aurelius is long dead. 
This is not any more about values, it is about global dominance, 
and this is plainly said that way. Emperor bought the People with 
war games and tax breaks. 

I think comparation with Roman Emperors is much more apt than 
with the certain hated German chancellor, given at least current 
American position in the world. It is important to remember that all 
parties to the wars of Yugoslav succession were rabidly 
nationalistic and ready to use violence to further their political and 
economical goals, but that Serbs were the ones that caused 
Yugoslav concept to fail, and the ones that ultimately became 
responsible for the most gruesome of crimes against humanity 
committed in the course of those wars.
Why? Is this because they were substantially more evil than 
Albanians, Croats or Bosnians? No. The evil is justly spread 
across the nations. There is Mohammed Atta and there is Tim 
McVeigh. It is the POWER. Serbs had more people, more 
weapons and more resources at their disposal than anybody else 
at the same level of evil. If evil has no power available, it is 
harmless. To that extent OBL is dangerous not only because he is 
evil, but because he is both evil and very rich. 

There is much more damage that can be done to the world by the 
U.S. than by any other nation. The unipolarity of power 
concentrated in the U.S. in the post-cold war period places on that 
country a greater responsibility for restraint. Because, while evil, 
indeed, is multi-polar, the real potential for it to do its unholly work 
lies within the most powerful of nations. 

I am not sure whether Bush is realizing the long-term 
consequences (beyond cheaper oil, of course). Milosevic also did 
not actually think about killing and raping thousands of people in 
Bosnia. He hoped of getting Yugoslavia minus Slovenia united 
under his dictatorial rule and move ahead as a new Tito. But it did 
not happen that way. He committed an act of hubris and is paying 
for it now at The Hague. And Bush war may go terribly wrong as 
well. This is just my gut feeling.

Sadly, it is true that 'bazaari approach' is the rule of the road in the 
Middle East, and that 'horse trading' is the rule of the road of 
American politics, which means that Bush may get his war, 
regardless of potential consequences.

First, the Congress: Democrats will have no chance to talk about 
domestic issues, which they hoped to use to win more seats in 
Congress this November, if the only thing Congress talks about is 
the war on Iraq. So, Democrats stand to gain from quick vote, 
that's the conventional wisdom. 

It is not a surprise that Gore would go against the conventional 
wisdom, though. The Congress still may give Bush a green light, 
just to get Iraq off the agenda (this is actually how Comodus 
handled Roman Senate, that's where I took the comparison from).

Likewise, he will eventually buy the allies with spoils from war: 
French, Italian and Russian companies stand to gain the most from 
their unrealized oil interest in Iraq.  Putin, who, so far politely 
refused to say yes on Bushites war, can still be swayed by 
guaranties that the new pro-US regime in Iraq will pay back $8B 
owed to Russia, and well, Putin is planning a war of his own in 
Georgia, so he may be willing to trade support. 

That leaves Security Council with only one possible veto: China. 
But the US is more than willing to forget the plight of Muslim 
Uighurs and Buddhist Tibet to secure China abstaining from veto. 
Then, there is Turkey, which is willing to do whatever Bush asks it 
to, for meager $10B and for control of Iraq's Kurds.
What exactly would the US get out of that war, then? With 
developing oil fields in Iraq under a pro-Western government, there 
would be substantially more oil on the market, which means, oil 
would generally get cheaper. And we all know the great lengths the 
country, that consumes 25% of world's oil's production, is ready to 
go to get cheaper oil.

I could imagine Germany being pissed because they failed to 
secure an interest in Iraq beforehand (but they would also profit 
from cheaper oil, as would any industrialized oil importing nation), 
and I could imagine Gulf states like Saudi Arabia being unahappy 
about prospects of lowering oil price, but then, they can always get 
to buy more American weapons to keep them in power, regardless 
of how bad their economies go, and the royal family won't really 
end up in poverty even with oil price ten times lower than it is now, 
given their US protected absolute control over the resource.

So, it's done deal, Saddam should just shoot himself to make the 
ordeal of his people shorter. Of course, this all may be a hubris 
that the US is going to pay dearly - what if OBL anticipated this 
development and has taken steps for Al Qaeda to take over Iraq as 
Saddam is pushed out? That's where we get back to the Gore's 
speech: the question is not about the war on Iraq, it is abouth 
whether the Bushites have anything in store for the peace in the 
region. Is there any Marshall Plan equivalent in the works for the 
Middle East? How can we be sure that Saddam's fall will be 
followed by a pro-democracy, free market government, and not by 
some Taliban?


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