Thursday, January 04, 2007


Zionism and Oil

These days we’re seeing a surge of open discussion about the influence of the Israel lobby on US government policy, particularly that in the Middle East. This is a healthy, welcome, and long-overdue development in view of the strong and pernicious influence of this lobby, which runs counter to the true interests of the US. Especially encouraging is that heavyweights like Jimmy Carter and Scott Ritter have joined the fray, giving public discourse in this area new momentum. It’s becoming more apparent from this discussion that America’s interests are not served by an alliance with Israel, which is little more than a serious drain on US finances and a giant political liability. The lobby’s push for the illegal US attack on Iraq, and for a presumably planned attack on Iran, is a given.

But the discussion has taken a disturbing turn recently. No, I’m not talking about the absurd charges of “anti-Semitism” that fly every time someone criticizes Israeli policies or the Israel lobby. I’m talking about the idea that America’s Middle East adventure is solely inspired by Zionist influence on the elites who run the US, and has nothing to do with oil. This position is a denial of reality.

I would be one of the last to deny that Zionist influence plays a role in US Mideast policy. The debate now in progress on the Israel lobby’s influence has produced a wealth of convincing information that amply demonstrates how the lobby works and how it holds sway over US policy and members of Congress. One would have to bury one’s head in the sand not to see it.

By the same token, a head-in-the-sand position would be just as necessary not to see that the war is primarily for oil. Consider a few facts. Let’s say you run an empire. Your home country has just 5% of the world’s population, but consumes 25% percent of its energy, and you want to keep it that way. To protect supply lines, you have troops garrisoned in well over 100 countries around the globe. You have a giant military machine. This Empire runs on oil. Lots of it. Your own oil fields are in serious decline. Your Vice-Emperor is an oil man. He knows about peak oil, and he knows where about 60% of the world’s remaining oil reserves are concentrated. Despite groundless mind-candy pronouncements for public consumption that there is plenty of oil and that production will keep increasing until 2030, elites know the truth. The Empire must secure oil for itself and keep it out of the hands of competitors.

Permanent military bases being built in Iraq are to secure the oil and to prepare a strong ground-based staging area to assert control over the entire Middle East and its oil. If you want to drag Israel into this equation, consider that Israel has precious little oil of its own, and imports almost all of its crude. Israel’s economy and military machine also run on oil, and it is heavily dependent on outside sources. Without oil, Israel is toast.

It therefore makes much more sense to assume that Israeli interests (as far as Balkanizing Iraq and attacking Iran are concerned) dovetail with, and are piggybacking on, the war for oil.

Oil is the lifeblood of modern economies — and of modern military forces. Once crude prices rise to a certain point, oil-based economies will collapse, and the military forces that those economies support will be in dire straits. When that happens, empires also collapse. Study history and see what happens to empires that lose their resource bases. Oil is the sine qua non. This crucial importance of cheap and abundant oil is not lost on the elites who run the world’s oil economies, but it seems to be lost on those who claim the war is not for oil.

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