What are America's global intentions?

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Feb 16 2005 13:55
What are America's global intentions?

Was thinking about it last night, and what do people think Bush and America are going to do next? Will they pull troops out of Iraq, leave bases there and control it via a puppet government and flood it with Western capitalism, or will they cayy on occupying the country and then attack Syria or Iran? If they do that it would probably be pretty bad for them in terms of world opinion...

Rob Ray's picture
Rob Ray
Joined: 6-11-03
Feb 16 2005 14:01

Depends on how the political situation pans out with the new government. They're blatantly trying to replace US soldiers with locally trained government thugs, but it's debatable whether the new state will have the numbers/resources to beat the rebels. If the state gets things nominally under control the US, I have no doubt, will pull out, regroup for a year or so and try it on with Iran. They've been really pushing the charm offensive in Europe, suggesting that they are trying to get some support because they've not got the manpower to continue to hold Iraq and simultaneously invade Iran, so the UN role may well be far more crucial here.

Joined: 20-09-03
Feb 16 2005 14:01

Blow the shit out of Iran (if Iran can't stitch them up first by making itself vital to the future stability of Iraq).

Elsewise, spend whatever they can of the last term creating a legacy for Bush as some sort of mythical "Bush the Peacemaker".

Joined: 20-09-04
Feb 16 2005 14:09

Iran is too much like hard work.

The next target will be Syria (look at the way they are blaming Syria for the recent assasination of the ex-Lebanese PM)

Iran would be hard to justify. Syria can be justified to the likes of most Labour MPs, on the grounds that Syria has allowed/does allow people to cross its borders to carry out attacks in Iraq.

In a few months time the Iraqi government will "ask" the American military to take action to secure its borders, and that will result in either a partial or full invasion of Syria.

That action will also send a message to Iran - you could be next.......

Refused's picture
Joined: 28-09-04
Feb 16 2005 14:34

Compared to Iraq and Syria, Iran has a rather more formidable military. I think this rules out Iran as the next target for invasion as the US only goes after weak militaries (and even then they cock it up).

However, they could be planning strategic bombing campaigns rather than a full-scale invasion.

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Rob Ray
Joined: 6-11-03
Feb 16 2005 14:44

the relative strength of iran's military simply isn't a factor, they haven't got anywhere near the sort of strength to stop a US ground assault, they'd fall extremely quickly. What might put off the US is the long term implications of trying to hold onto both Iraq and Iran, hence the attempt to build European support, and probably a 'hiatus' period.

Both Iraq and Afghanistan were not a problem initially, it's the holding it afterwards that is the killer.

Joined: 23-01-04
Feb 16 2005 15:28

i think theyll only be further invasions if theres a decent reason (from the point of view of the US ruling classes ) for it. For example if syria interferes with the stability of the regime in iraq, if they start funding alternative unions (though i dont know what their motive would be), continue to let enemies of the states over the border, arm rebels, provide sanctuary to insurgents etc. Theres clearly little chance of another war in the area in the current climate, it would unite rebels across borders and create an international war zone, further unsettling the US's interests in Iraq, it isnt worth it. It wouldnt surprise me if iraq was divided up into a couple of new countries based broadly on the religous make up of the areas, though the formation of a kurdistan in the north may be a point of contention with the turks.

cantdocartwheels's picture
Joined: 15-03-04
Feb 17 2005 03:09

Certainly not convinced by the ''flood it with western capitalism'' line of thinking or phraseology, that seems highly suspect. I don't see iraq emerging as a liberal state any time soon.

As for what the ruling class in the US and elsewhere is planning, well i'm not sure, i think the US could attack iran, it would be a huge gamble, but if the american bourgeoisie pulled it off it would pay big dividends that would retain their hegemony for a few more decades at least. Otherwise they would need to prioritise taking some sort of action in parts of south america or africa which would be a more long term strategy. Who knows really. I think we can speculate but its dangerous to think we know. we can only really react to the evidence and posturing at hand, which would point to a strategy based around some sort of interference in iran, even tho this could be a ruse i stillthink we have to take the threat absolutely literally.

Nick Durie
Joined: 12-09-04
Feb 17 2005 05:42

Right it's quite late so I probably shouldn't be writing this but hey!

Frankly I find much of this unsatisfying and I find vaneigem's notion that the US could not afford another war optimistic to the point of sophistry. I think this occupation of Iraq and what is going on is fundamental to understanding what the US is up to, and I believe that this war is of pivotal importance to the US empire in a way that few have been for the US since the second world war.

But firstly to deal with some of the ideas raised by Vaneigem. IMO the only thing that could prevent the imminent attack on Syria and Iran is a neo-con feud over the issue of middle eastern oil dependency, and I don’t think that on the neocons own terms that argument stands up to scrutiny as I shall examine later.

[Incidentally there was a hilarious interview on channel 4 evening news today where they had some neocon nut giving it this about Kyoto. Interviewer gives leading questions about this ‘security’ issue crossing over with the accords calling for cutbacks in CO2 emissions. Nut refuses to bite claiming that global warming doesn’t exist in his opinion and that he’s hapyy US is not part of Kyoto and he doesn’t give a monkeys about emissions although he thinks that US dependency on oil from middle east is hindering attempts to bring about democracy in the region, and (I paraphrase but he did actually say it) if there was not this dependency then they have to kill less people to bring democracy and freedom to the region.]

“Theres clearly little chance of another war in the area in the current climate, it would unite rebels across borders and create an international war zone, further unsettling the US's interests in Iraq, it isnt worth it. It wouldnt surprise me if iraq was divided up into a couple of new countries based broadly on the religous make up of the areas, though the formation of a kurdistan in the north may be a point of contention with the turks.” (Vaneigemappreciationclub)

On the contrary I think there is every chance of another war within the next year. I think the recent murder of the former prime minister of Lebanon could be seen as a US assassination (either by the CIA or by proxy) made to look like a Syrian attack. I feel that this could be making facts on the ground. Syria is a nuisance to the US and I’m sure they’d like to extinguish the independent nationalism of Assad and replace it with a more compliant dictatorship.

In Iran we do now know that the US has been attempting to foment nationalist rebellion for some time now. There was the Azaris a year and a half ago when US domestic oil supply was threatened by Chavez’ belligerance which involved the Israeli air force. In the end of course despite Israel’s bellicose ultimatums that project appears to have been discontinued. However now of course Seymour Hersh has come out saying that there are attempts afoot to stoke up Baluchi nationalism in the West of Iran which involve Pakistani intelligence.

I think given these examples it would not be wise to say that there is little chance of war over the next period, and we have not yet begun to look at the motivational behind the prospects for war, which are surely the most important aspect of any future projections on US plans.

As regards the future of Iraq, it would not come as a surprise to even the casual observer if partition happened. Iraq is of course a very arbitrary unit of governance and only owes its existence to the post WWI carve up of the Ottoman empire among the great powers. I don’t think it will happen soon tho because I think the US has just done something quite devious in appointing a Sunni murderer heavily associated with the old regime as ‘their man’ only to have him trumped in ‘a democratic landslide’ for the Shia majority. It makes the US look magnanimous and up for democracy, and it allows the Sunni minority to be singled out to be an underclass for not having taken part in the democratic project that has just made everybody free. Having a population that is too busy fighting amongst itself to recognize the real enemy is not exactly the oldest trick in the book but it works (ask our Irish comrades). Under these conditions I don’t think the US could have it any better. To their domestic audience they can play up the Shia terrorists/iran/bad thing card claiming that Iran is funding the resistance because Shia is dangerous and the new regime being majority Shia has now tipped the balance towards and new 9/11 times 10,000,000! And in Iraq they can talk of the Ba’athist Sunni resistance that is against the will of the Shia majority. Of course it’s a dangerous rope to tread because Ayatollah Sistani may well turn around one day and say ‘Right! […] Fuck off!’ and then they’d be in deep shit, but my belief is that the invasion of Iran will neutralize this problem sometime shortly anyway. My reasons for believing this are to do with those motivational issues for the US which I’ll deal with later.

As regards unting rebels across borders tho, I think this is a non-starter. Ba’athism is something the US is trying to wipe out in earnest now. Former Ba’athists are having to reinvent themselves as Iraqi nationalists and pan-Arabism is relatively moribund. I also don’t see much chance of Persians and Iraqis getting on all that well. The only force that could do this I feel is the proletarian one and the communist movement in Iran has been smashed long ago and across the Arab world outside of Iraq it is not the communist movement that is ascendent. I think there is more hope in Iraq certainly, but outside of Iraq there are deep divides which are going to be healed by anti-American sentiment alone. I think if we are to succeed in the middle we will need a consistently communist approach and try to build the movement back up to where it was in the first quarter of the 20th century, but it is wishful thinking to think that we are on the brink of something in the middle east right now..


So why aren’t they going to pull the troops out?

Well IMO the idea that they’re going to pull the troops out of Iraq any time soon is just not supported by the evidence, I don’t feel. First off while the numbers of casualties has been higher than any US war in relatively recent history (around 1k dead and 15k injured or maimed) it is no Vietnam (where the number of US dead reached >57k). Secondly the Americans are actually building military bases (six in total on top of the existing 32), and not totty ones – camp anaconda for example will be 26km long and three wide. It will be a small town in fact between Baghdad and Baghdad airport. They are also currently building burger bars, restaurants, supermarkets and hotels in their existing bases (hardly the policies of an army that thinks it is going to be leaving shortly.

Well also have to be clear about other issues as well. The US has between 125,000 and 150,000 troops stationed in Iraq at any one time, and yes they have been fucking them about a bit in terms of leave and lots have gone mental (700, I think, it has been revealed have been sent home for psychological reasons) but they do only have a third of their battleforce in Iraq at the moment and we have to bear in mind that the number of active service personnel is still less than at any point during the cold war, and they are currently introducing conscription for people to serve as Gis (they already have conscription for surgeons and some other vital support staff at the moment – that’s been brought in in the past few months or so, almost without a peep). Furthermore in terms of actual expenditure current military spending is still much less than it was during many periods of the cold war.

U.S. Military Spending, 1946–2004

(billions of 2002 dollars)

Year Spending

1946 $556.9

1947 52.4

1948 103.9

1949 144.2

1950 141.2

1951 224.3

1952 402.1

1953 442.3

1954 420.9

1955 376.9

1956 $356.2

1957 360.9

1958 352.9

1959 352.5

1960 344.3

1961 344.0

1962 363.4

1963 368.0

1964 364.4

1965 333.1

1966 $356.2

1967 412.0

1968 449.3

1969 438.1

1970 406.3

1971 370.6

1972 343.8

1973 313.3

1974 299.7

1975 293.3

1976 $283.8

1977 286.2

1978 286.5

1979 295.6

1980 303.4

1981 317.4

1982 339.4

1983 366.7

1984 381.7

1985 405.4

1986 $426.6

1987 427.9

1988 426.4

1989 427.7

1990 409.7

1991 358.1

1992 379.5

1993 358.6

1994 338.6

1995 321.6

1996 $307.4

1997 305.3

1998 296.7

1999 298.4

2000 311.7

2001 307.8

2002 328.7

2003 379.31

2004 379.91,2

I guess what it boils down to is that there is still in my opinion a lot of give in the US system, and I think they can and will pursue other projects.

Ok so here is my theory as to why they are not about to pull troops out, but why in fact they actually have to keep the troops there and redouble their strength, AND also invade Iran.

Well a graph showing oil production against time in any given oil well tends to follow a bell curve etc… To avoid too many yada yadas the US has been undertaking serious moves to reposition troops. The US has three military bases abroad for every country in the world, and the new troop deployments, outside of Europe have seen troops move to take strategic control over all of the world’s major shipping lanes and staging points for oil exports/imports. The world in a sense is fucked for a little while, but the US doesn’t want to sink with it. I agree up to a point with cartwheels that it can be dangerous to overstretch what you think will happen but certainly what we see is that the great powers are forming up into more rigid alliances as the point of slowing returns is either approaching or is passing. This is why we see the Euro (it’s a weapon in a economic war), this is why Iraq was invaded (iraq had just started selling oil in Euros and had made major deals with the FrancoGermans), this is why Venezuela was threatening to sell its oil in Euros to China during negotiations with the US. Iran has just signed a 5.5 trillian dollar oil deal with Russia and China, in Euros. Notice a pattern in the sabre-rattling?

It is also interesting to notice the increase in things like car plants in Eastern Europe and China and the reindustrialisation of the FrancoGerman and British economies. The great powers are gearing up to a war footing. China in fact has come and said so – they want a military capable of defeating a US carrier division within 10 years, which will involve significant military investment.

All this while the US operates an effective trade deficit and is relying on ‘good will’ (that people believe the bullshit about the dollar being a strong currency etc.) to keep the whole monetary system from collapsing as investors realize that the US is now unable even to service its spiralling debts.

So in comes plan B. Provided that the conquer, crush, kill part of the plan goes well you go about creating a huge free trade corridor filled with slave-type workers along an intercontinental super-highway, or as plan pueblo panama (a large chunk of this global masterplan) calls them a corridore. It was all thought up in the cold war by a guy called ‘la Rouche‘.

But the basics of that plan is that the US cannot afford to fuck up because if the FrancoGerman currency takes hold then they lose their gov’t bond income. This is important to continue to fund their military which will be essential to them if they are to survive the coming resource crisis and world war. They’ve been staying off monetary collapse a while by devaluing their currency (and hence making their debt worth less to the creditors in real terms) but this can only work so far. They need to have control over production centres along a superhighway to markets in Eurasia. This was part of the reason behind some of the more obscence destruction during the bombing of Serbia – the contracts to rebuild roads and railways were awarded to US companies. Unfortunately for the US some of the partners in this scheme had elections (e.g. Turkey) and switched allegiances from being within the US sphere of influence to the FrancoGermans. This lead to the US considering alternative routes such as through the Persian gulf into Iraq, then Ira, blah de blah, and this also happened to coincide with moves that the US had to make anyway in order to take and hold regions of oil wealth in order to stand a chance of surviving the looming capitalist crisis produced by the unstoppable drop off in oil production. These regions will be the key areas that the capitalists will need to have access to if they want to continue to exploit oil, and there certainly does not seem to have been many finding themselves in a state of epiphany as yet anway.

So to summarize, the US needs to control the oil wealth in the middle east in order to curtail independent nationalism that might seek to sell its oil in FrancoGerman money. The US needs to control the oil wealth in the middle east because it needs to prevent its export to other countries during the coming world war. The US needs to control the oil wealth in the middle east because it cannot afford to have its dollar currency threatened, because it needs this system of bailouts for itself to maintain its military hegemony. It’s a never-ending loop. Kind of like the poverty of corpulent wealth or something like that.

But it also needs to control this region because it wants to end this debt dependency and to do that it will need either military occupation throughout the region of compliant military juntas who will enforce ‘the law’ in the new mega company-towns.

Sorry if that got a bit rambly but it’s now very late.

For Communism,

:red: Nick Durie :red:

Joined: 16-01-05
Feb 17 2005 11:44

Looks like if it's either it'll be both:

Iran and Syria sign Mutual Defense Pact

ran and Syria heightened tension across the Middle East and directly confronted the Bush administration yesterday by declaring they had formed a mutual self-defence pact to confront the "threats" now facing them.

The move, which took the Foreign Office by surprise, was announced after a meeting in Tehran between the Iranian vice-president, Mohammed Reza Aref, and the Syrian prime minister, Naji al-Otari.

"At this sensitive point, the two countries require a united front due to numerous challenges," said Mr Otari.

Regarded as rogue states by the White House, Iran is under pressure over its nuclear ambitions, while Syria came under renewed scrutiny over the assassination this week of the former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.

Joined: 20-09-03
Feb 17 2005 11:57


Joined: 6-04-04
Feb 17 2005 12:40

I agree with whoever said that the best we can do is speculate. My personal speculation is that we aren't likely to see another invasion soon. The size of the resistance IS significant, because (as I understand it) many americans are very upset about the no. of casualties from Iraq. To jump into another war so soon would be politicially sensitive for Bush. For this reason I think the mutual self-defence pact will be a strong factor: Bush might convince people that one country can be done, but this pact means that they will effectively have to fight 2 wars at the same time. Certainly, they have the military force to do so, but there are a hell of a lot of troops tied up in Iraq for the near future and it'll be very unpopular at home. If they do invade, they'll have to pressure either Iran or Syria into backing out of the pact but this is quite possible. The real problem is going to be getting international support - in Iraq at least they could claim to have a coalition, but I doubt even the Bliar would follow Georgie into another conflict. After all he is still trying to rid himself of the bad associations of the Iraq fiasco. In short, Bush could invade both Iran and Syria anytime he wants, but I really don't know if the price he'll pay would be worth it to him. It depends if this campaign is really that important to him. I doubt it, he has the oil prizes of Iraq and Afganistan and, logically, he would do well to leave the rest alone for the time being.

Joined: 16-01-05
Feb 17 2005 23:43

the beginning? http://www.aljazeera.com/cgi-bin/news_service/middle_east_full_story.asp?service_id=7038

2/16/2005 11:45:00 PM GMT: An unknown plane fired a missile in a remote area near the southern Iranian city of Dailam in the province of Bushehr where Iran’s nuclear reactor is located, Iranian state television said on Wednesday.
Joined: 16-01-05
Feb 17 2005 23:55

On reflection and a bit more reading, this seems to be possibly a false alarm. At least, both the Americans and the Iranians are painting it as a fuel-canister dropped from an Iranian plane.

Sorry about that =)


Joined: 4-11-04
Feb 18 2005 01:00
phoebe wrote:

Elsewise, spend whatever they can of the last term creating a legacy for Bush as some sort of mythical "Bush the Peacemaker".

"War is peace"

The whole situation reminds me of 1984. As soon as America finds a new "enemy" werry few reporters seem to want to point out that the same enemy was their ally some years ago, just like in 1984

Joe Hill
Joined: 2-12-04
Feb 18 2005 01:06

total doublethink (spin doctoring I think they call it a the moment-propaganda at tremendous levels)

I should think they'll also be planning what to do about China. Otherwise a pretty strong analysis on this thread I think.

Joined: 4-11-04
Feb 18 2005 01:13
Ceannairc wrote:
ITo jump into another war so soon would be politicially sensitive for Bush.

On the other hand this is his last period until he has to give away the post to someone else so he might not care that much about it. He might on the other hand care about what his financers and friends wants him to do

Joe Hill
Joined: 2-12-04
Feb 18 2005 01:28

I don't think this is about an individual, but a system...the mask is almost off

Joined: 3-03-05
Mar 3 2005 02:15

Bush is certainly not the problem itself, but he is being used by some people as the figurehead of imperialist domination and arrogance when he is merely an actor.

With the securing of the Iraqi oil supplies, I think that the US can probably afford to delay a ground invasion of Iran for a couple of years. They can alway choose drop high explosive from 30,000 feet, just like they did to Iraq for 14 years before a total invasion. A justification for this wouldn't be hard to spin.

Nick Durie is spot on about the need for the US to contol the oil wealth in the Persian Gulf area. I think that the coming energy crisis has been anticipated for a while now. The UK government has been consilidating 'police state' legislation with alarming speed in the last ten years or so, most of it designed to effectivly criminalise disent.

I don't want to get a prophetical here, but I reckon that the energy crisis will be the biggest problem capitalism has thrown up for itself, and I cannot see the problem being resolved without the shit hitting the fan.

Interesting times. neutral

Joined: 29-05-04
Mar 3 2005 15:21

Yeah Paul, I reckon a lot of this repressive legislation is preparation for the riots/resistance that may be triggered by falling living standards. The necessity of continuing to grow profits as the energy base of the economy declines is surely going to mean the end of the middle class. With the post-war social democratic "consensus" and jobs-for-life gone, the only thing preserving the middle class anymore is inertia.

Rob Ray's picture
Rob Ray
Joined: 6-11-03
Mar 3 2005 15:34
a lot of this repressive legislation is preparation for the riots/resistance that may be triggered by falling living standards

The government have been setting this up for over a decade, it's just they've started accelerating the process now they have the tacit support of people worried about international terror, economic stability etc etc.

Joined: 3-03-05
Mar 3 2005 18:42

The problem faced by the current power structure is that it's economy is totally dependant on fossil fuels, the most important of which being petrochemicals. At the moment we depend on oil and natural gas not only for our energy needs, but also for the manufacture of plasics and agrochemicals.

The ecomonies of scale that have grown out of the industrial revolution will not be possible to sustain in the future as the price of oil will only continue to increase as the cost of extraction starts to rise contantly against the oil yield. The massive global trade in perishable foodstuffs will become near impossible, causing rising prices and major food shortages in the food importing countries (like the UK).

For the current economic setup in the West, there is no alternative to oil. We could maybe use nuclear power for the national grid and used electic-powered transportation, haulage and farm machinery, but the capital outlay do do this to sustain our current level of production and waste would be astronomical. Nuclear power is also very dangerous and the potential benefits can outweigh the costs such as the money and labour required to dispose of nuclear waste 'safely'. When James Lovelock appeared to endorse nuclear energy, it was because he believed thet the threat posed by continueing to burn fossil fuels is even greater than the environmental problems that nuclear causes.

The alternative to all this is an economy based on localised food production on small scale, labour-intensive, permaculture principals, and small scale industry powered by renewable sources. The capitalist system will oppose this because it will mean the end of mass consumerism, and will require a massive overhaul of land and property ownership. The small scale co-operative economy is hard to monopolise and control, and hard to extract profit from.

It is interesting that the energy issue is almost totally ignored by the media and civil society when the coming crisis has been known about for at least thirty years (The G8/G7 was formed around the time of the first oil crisis in the 1970s and it was at the top of their agenda). The global leadership's avoidance of this issue and the re-enforcement of the state's legal powers over it's citizens is no coincidence.