I have long believed that the U.S. will always need an arch-nemesis to justify its defense spending always being millions of dollars higher than any other world power — a country, or "axis" of (evil) countries portrayed as an enemy and a real threat to all that is American. My first example: communism and the cold war.
As I will explain below U.S. policies during the cold war gave birth to the most recent nemesis (Iraq) and the current one (Islamic radicalism).
I had always thought that these were unintended consequences, but as all the news now indicates that the world powers are squaring up to fight for the world's remaining resources, the Iraq and Islamic threat being used as justification to take control of massive oil-reserves there, and the latter potentially giving the U.S. free license for other operations and invasions where most of these remaining resources lie, I ask myself: were they accidents, or has it all been planned from the start?
During the cold war, Afghanistan's government became allied with and controlled by the U.S.S.R. The big oil corporations had noted potential in Afghanistan for a major money-spinning pipeline between the major oil reserves in the Caucasus and financially-rich, resource-poor Asia. Mujahideen groups began fighting the Soviet allied government. And Reagan began covertly funding the extremist of extreme Mujahideen groups, pressuring Saudi Arabia to match the level of funding, and arming the anti-Soviet Afghans with the best weaponry — all via Pakistani intelligence.
The U.S. wanted to draw the Soviet army into invading Afghanistan, seeing the opportunity for "giving to the USSR its Vietnam war", meaning to bog the U.S.S.R down causing a major drain on their resources and weakening the Soviet empire.
It worked, but in the course of it, the pressure applied to Saudi Arabia's King Fahd led to his intelligence chief Turki al-Faisal hiring Osama Bin Laden to recruit fighters and secure funds from rich Arabs for the Afghan Jihad, and having the U.K.'s Special Air Service give the Mujahideen explosives training — including how to improvise Soviet explosives captured in ambushes and recovered mines. Bin Laden kept a database of fighters recruited for the struggle — Al Qaeda is base in Arabic. How much did the C.I.A know about, or have to do with that appointment?