Home / U.S. Policy Consequences: Blowback or Controlled Explosion?

U.S. Policy Consequences: Blowback or Controlled Explosion?

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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?

Pakistan also used U.S. dollars to build dozens of religious schools, or seminaries in the border regions. It was the U.S. and Pakistan’s shared aim that the seminaries would maintain extremist teachings and provide a steady flow of Muslims to go and fight in the Afghan Jihad. Many of those religious schools remain breeding grounds for Salafist anti-western extremism and terrorists to this day. And we all know what all these policies led to: 9/11 and the current threat to western interests from — Reagan’s freedom fighters — Islamic terrorists.

Just before Reagan came to power another problem had emerged: the Islamic revolution in Iran. The revolution overthrew the British imposed Shah, who was a fervent western ally. Saddam Hussein’s Iraq sought to capitalize on the confusion and launched a massive invasion of Iran, which looked like a success for a while. When Saddam’s forces began to be driven back further and further into Iraq, the threat emerged: Iran’s Islamic soldiers could take southern Iraq, from where they would threaten Kuwait and the vital oil supplies in the Middle East proper.

The U.S. — along with other major western powers — began arming (the maniac) Saddam, with weapons and “dual-use” technology, that could be — and were — used in the production of chemical and biological weapons.

Saddam successfully defended Iraq and after years more fighting and thousands of gruesome chemical warfare deaths for little gains, the two countries eventually agreed to the terms of UN Resolution 598 and returned to pre-war boundaries.

Bush came to power soon after and continued cosying up to Saddam — of course, now a well armed dictator. Over-estimating this power and the level of his favour with the U.S., Saddam went on to do what his U.S. weaponry was supposed to prevent: invaded Kuwait.

After brief attempts at diplomacy, U.N. and U.S. forces were deployed to expel Saddam’s forces from Kuwait and protect Saudi Arabia. The stationing of U.S troops in Saudi Arabia, and its permanence when Saddam was expelled were the main reasons behind Bin Laden’s Fatwas, religious rulings calling for the murder, first of American troops in Saudi Arabia (1996), then American’s and their allies anywhere in the world (1998). The latter was, in effect, a declaration of war against the “international community.”

So, U.S. policies led to the rise of Islamic extremism and terrorism, the rise of Saddam and (indirectly) his invasion of Kuwait. This made him an enemy of the U.S, which would allow Bush to invade in 2003, using the other threat the U.S. created and stirred up in dealing with Saddam’s invasion, Islamic terrorists as further justification.

So, was the 2003 invasion really to deal with the threat, or was it the first move in the international resources chess game? And if it was: had it all been the plan when they were giving Saddam all that money and fomenting Islamic extremism?

Iraq stands on some of the biggest oil reserves in the world, and it has become clear since the Iraq invasion that Bush knew there were no WMDs in Iraq and that Saddam posed no threat to anyone but his own countrymen. In fact in the last couple of days, Alan Greenspan the leading republican economist for a generation, now retired said: “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”

U.K. officials also knew Saddam had no WMD’s, and created dodgy dossiers to instil fear of an imaginary threat. I put that down to Blair seeing the struggle to maintain oil-supplies for as long as possible turning to a violent struggle, and wanting to be on-side with Bush as he made his bid for control.

Iraq changed the international dynamic, since then, around the world the U.S and its allies have been squaring up against Russia/China and their allies over resource rich areas, and those not in the fray are picking sides.

Bush and his administration are constantly threatening another invasion of an oil-rich country, Iran.

Russia and China — the latter relying on Iran for resources — have vetoed UN sanctions against the pariah state and given every indication (inviting Iran to cooperation organization meetings with verbal promises to defend each other’s sovereignty) whose side they would take if it went to war. Then there’s the dispute between Russia and the U.S. over the missile defense shield. Of course Russia isn’t going to let the U.S. obtain any military advantage with the great war for dwindling resources looming overhead. Hence Russia resuming long (nuclear armed) bomber patrols. Now, France’s conservative leadership is cosying up to the U.S. over Iran.

France’s foreign minister said: Bernard Kouchner said: “We have to prepare for the worst, and the worst is war.” The top UN nuclear official Mohamed ElBaradei said he saw no clear and present danger and that talk of war was counter-productive. Like Blair, French officials see what’s going down and are picking their side.

So, if France and Russian officials with their intelligence agencies and White House contacts see that Iraq began a war between the world’s major powers for the world’s remaining oil, who am I to argue.

Iraq being about oil gives birth to the possibility that the U.S. doesn’t care about security in Iraq, only control of the oil. That in turn makes an Iran invasion even more likely, because it removes the possibility that the U.S. won’t attack Iran because their retaliation would destroy any chance of security in Iraq. It also removes the problem of an over-stretched U.S. military stopping the invasion, because half the troops in Iraq could control the oil. That then gives birth to the question: why the surge, is it a surge to up the troop levels in advance for war with Iran?

If all this does go ahead; we all go to war for what’s left of precious oil, most of which is in the Middle East, is it so much of a leap to say that the U.S. knew it was creating an Islamic monster and did so knowing that this day would come? I’ll let you make up your own mind.

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About Liam Bailey

  • Your history here is good, and there’s no question that oil is what sets this part of the world apart and makes it the focus of so much attention, but I don’t see anything here but pure speculation to support your conspiracy theory.

    For the conspiracy to be real it would require multiple US administrations from both parties to have participated, and with all the changes in our policy towards the middle east through the period you’re talking about that just doesn’t make any sense. It seems much more rational to assume that US policy has had much smaller objectives and quite a number of unintended consequences.

    There also remains a large factor which you and others who are looking for secret meaning behind these wars often overlook. The way the oil industry is structured, there is NO advantage to the US government controlling the oil over having that oil in the hands of any stable government. There’s also no real disadvantage to having middle east oil funneled directly to China because (say it with me) oil is a fungible resource. The way the oil industry works, if the oil gets pumped the oil companies will eventually get their hands on it and make their money, and the US consumer will inevitably get their share. In fact, the only thing which interferes with this inevitable process is war, which takes oil off the market. Even if the oil is pumped by Jihadist lunatics in Iran and sold to baby killing communists in China, the oil doesn’t care, and the main result is that China buys less oil somewhere else and that oil becomes available to us instead (thank you Mr. Chavez).


  • moonraven

    Pure Nalle nonsense, as usual.

    Everything since the early 70s in US foreign policy has been about grabbing and controlling resources–especially petroleum and gas.

    There are few governments on the planet more stable than that of Venezuela (Chavez has been elected president 4 times now, with landslide victories, and the Venezuelan people beat back the US-sponsored coup d’etat of April 2002 in 47 hours), so there is CLEARLY a difference to the US to control the resources versus having them in the hands of a stable government.

    Kepp of dreaming, Nalle. But learn to do it better. [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

  • moonraven

    Keep on….

  • Pure drivel as usual, MR. The US isn’t making any efforts to stage coups in venezuela and our prior involvement there was to protect existing interests, not to seize the oil resources. That should be obvious fact even to you.

    After all, as you point out, Venezuela is stable. They sell us their oil. I bought some the other day at my local Citgo. We don’t need anything else from them.

    The only reason to be concerned about the country at all is over the slow slide they are making into dictatorship, and that’s just important to a few soft hearted folks like Clavos and I.


  • moonraven

    The US is a dictatorsjip, and that doesn’t bother your fat ass one bit.

    The US is spending hundreds of millions of YOUR tax dollars (not mine) trying to overthrow the government of Venezuela. That’s what the Office of Transition in Caracas is all about.


    What were those “existing interests”–if they were not oil and gas?

    Chavez will cut off petroleum to the US any time he feels like it. Those huge supertankers he is building jointly with China are all about that.

    The Bush Gang overplayed its hand in Venezuela, and still is on its racist donkey believing that a person of color cannot outwit and outplay them.

    Shit, Chavez’ IQ must be at least double that of GW Bush.

  • troll

    so…you’ve got these two companies…one of them cracks oil out of shale and the other pumps it from shallow middle eastern wells

    who is getting a better return on investment – ?

    the war is about privatization (in all but name) –

    fungible smungible

  • Interesting post but I think that you underestimate the smug sense of apathy that permeated US dealing with the region in the wake of the Soviet withdraw.

    Once the Cold War collapsed, US funding and attention to Central Asia had pretty much dissipated, as evidenced by the short shrift the US gave Mashood and the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan during the simmering civil war against the Taliban after the Russian’s fled. The US failed to make any effort to curtail the Taliban or rein-in Pakistan’s overt funding and support of them. Indeed it pretty much passed on multiple opportunities to limit their influence and turned a blind eye to their activities to an extent because of the Taliban’s surpression of the drug trade which was seen as a burgeoning problem.

    I view the events that subsequently unfolded as less by wicked devious design and more as the inevitable byproduct of short-term, reactive politics, hypocrisy and strategic blindness.

    Blowback?- definitely; controlled explosion? – not so much, more akin to Wile E. Coyote sighing and sitting on the detonator….

  • Clavos

    “Chavez will cut off petroleum to the US any time he feels like it.”

    Once again, you’re not paying attention and talking out of your ass, mr.

    To whom El Chango sells his oil doesn’t matter. We will be able to buy it from whomever does buy it from him; and if not them, then from whomever they sell it to.

    One more time, mr:


  • moonraven

    And you are some kind of fungus.

    While Chavez, bless his big heart, is GOD.

  • moonraven

    Please TRY to remember, clavos, that I am NEVER wrong.

    Nor, for that matter, is Chavez.

    He said oil would be selling for 80 bucks a barrel before October.

    Ignorant fuckheads like you said he was talking out his ass.

    Maybe it’s just his ass that’s GOD….

  • Dr Dreadful

    I am NEVER wrong.

    But what if you’re wrong about that…?

  • Clavos

    “But what if you’re wrong about that…?”

    She is.

  • moonraven


    And I never will be wrong.

    Somrthing hard for a cromagnon like clavos–who has never been RIGHT–to grasp.

    It’s all about power.

  • Clavos

    Whistling past the graveyard….

  • Baronius

    The problem with this article is that any of the countries’ names could be changed and it would still hold true. Foriegn policy is about juggling priorities: multiple conflicting national interests and (one hopes) national principles. The US isn’t unique in having policies come back and bite them, and it doesn’t mean that the original policies were wrong.

    Let’s take France, Turkey, China, and Venezuela. I just chose those because they have no obvious connections. Every one of them has national/cultural values, and has had leadership toggling between several of those values. They’ve had national interests, which sometimes have led to former allies becoming enemies. They’ve been aggressors and isolationists. They’ve had policy changes over time, and sudden regime changes.

    It’s silly to single out the US as the only country who has changed foriegn policy. We can be proud that our policies have generally coincided with our principles. But at times we have to choose the lesser of two evils. Which evil is lesser will change over time, both in our perception and in reality.

  • Dee

    Liam – You are one of the “awake” ones who really has been able to see what America has become. Read “Dark Ages America” and it gets more into this exact subject. America does always need an enemy, its easy, its the only way to justify the money that is expended on our military. And of course it is the easiest way to control the stupid ones of the population. Put them in a constant state of fear and war. America has become an imperial power, wake up donkeys. This country needs a slap in the face and a wake up call. We can’t just invade any country with oil, people in power are not that stupid, the motives cannot be that obvious. There are other countries out there watching us. This country is going to get what’s coming to it unless we change our actions and leaders soon.

  • Lumpy

    Dee is how u pronounce the first letter in deluded. But good point in the universality of the problems any nation deals with, baronius.

  • dfctomm

    This is not a war for dwindling resources. Why the hell do people dance around this subject. The problem is population, we are breeding like rats and its soon going to force us into killing each other, and yet you never hear that mentioned.

  • Clavos

    “…we are breeding like rats and its soon going to force us into killing each other, and yet you never hear that mentioned.”

    Maybe because birth rates in most of the world, especially the developed countries, are actually going down?

    Were it not for immigration, the USA’s population would actually be decreasing, and Europe’s IS decreasing.

    Even China’s birth rate is slowing rapidly.

  • dee

    clavas [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor] dude believe whatever you want to believe but overall the TOTAL population is increasing every year… that’s a fact… tis true that some countries are decreasing in population but the human species population is getting larger every year… [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

  • Clavos

    Read a book titled “The Population Bomb”, dee; you can find it in your library.

    Read it, then try to learn how to reason (as opposed to name-calling), if you succeed, we can debate then.

  • troll

    500,000,000 or bust – !

  • dfctomm


    You are correct certain segments of the world population are flat or even in decline. The Western nations is in decline and China’s population is in flattening out, but overall population is increasing. There are some theories that population globally will begin to level off, but until it happens it will remain a theory.

    Russia just had a “fertility day” where workers got the day off to go home and make a good little Russian. I suspect you’re going to see more of this from the declining populations. While this make help to reverse the trend of declining populations in Western nations it will add to the congestion.

    You mentioned China’s decline, but there decline may come with a down side with much darker results than the good they hope to achieve by reducing their population. A generation of boys with no females are going to be very unhappy. What form that unhappiness takes is yet to be seen.

    My point however, was not the increase in population. In the article dwindling resources are a large part of his argument, however the obvious flip side to that coin is population which he didn’t mention. Why was it left unspoken? Is it because the population boom is coming from third world minority nations, and to note it, would be considered racist? How can we confront a problem that we feel we can’t even discuss in polite conversation.

  • Nancy

    Those breeding prolifically are as always those least qualified to breed: the stupid, the ignorant, the uneducated, the slackers, the lowest classes – because they’re too ignorant & stupid to appreciate why they should keep their pants on & have fewer offspring. The educated & intelligentsia have always opted for fewer offspring & limited breeding, knowing that concentrating resources on fewer children increases the chances of those kids growing up to have not just lives, but QUALITY lives, of their own. Ironically, they then proceed to non-breed themselves into an endangered state, while the ‘rats’ breed on: regardless of race etc. it’s always the lowest classes that spawn like cockroaches. It’s an educational level thing. Once educated, most populations tend to slow their incessant & mindless breeding.

  • moonraven

    Sounds pretty damn racist to me, Nancy.

    How would you like it if all fat people were declared lumpen?

  • Those breeding prolifically are as always those least qualified to breed: the stupid, the ignorant, the uneducated, the slackers, the lowest classes

    Please take a basic demographic and population study course before you sound off on subjects you obviously know nothing about.

    Population growth tends to be significantly higher in the developing world for a number of reasons related to basic demographics – not to anyone’s “qualifications”.

    Advances in medical technology(i.e. immunizations etc.), sanitary conditions (clean water, sewage systems), and improved nutrition result in longer average lifespans and lower mortality rates. The drop in the high death rates coupled with a high birth rate creates strong population growth trends.

    Significant reductions in child mortality rate also impact across social and econmic lines. It used to be having a large number of children was a necessity because birth control was non-existent and children were, for lack of a better term, a retirement investment. You needed to have 10 kids as several would die in childhood of disease, malnutrition, war etc., and others would probably die before they were 20. If you had 10 kids, 6 might survive to adulthood and bluntly, you needed that available labour to work the farm or care for the family. Prolific breeding had very little to do with it – it was economic and social necessity.

    The reasons you now see high growth levels in developing nations is that there is a time lag between the death rate and birth rate. Mortality rates plummeted in the last 50 years across most of the globe while birth rates stayed high, still operating on the old norms which often become culturally ingrained and take several generations to change.

    As birth control options expand and, more importantly, as the social necessity for large numbers of children drops (more are surviving to adulthood), birth rates typically fall rapidly. In developed countries such as North America and Europe, population growth is flat or negative for exactly that reason.

  • duane

    Yes, MR, even stating butt-obvious facts can sometimes sound racist. But it would take someone to make a connection between Nancy’s “the stupid, the ignorant, the uneducated, the slackers, the lowest classes” and racial characteristics. Since YOU are making the connection, it’s actually YOU who sound racist. Bleagghh.

  • Were it not for immigration, the USA’s population would actually be decreasing

    And it should be pointed out that at an average of 2.3 kids per couple, even those Mexican immigrants are barely breeding in the positive.


  • moonraven


    Boy are you stretching.

    There is little or no difference between classism and racism, but then a low class person like yourself might not recognize that.

    How does it feel, fatso?

    To be on your own, with no direction home….

  • duane

    Fatso? Moi? Hehe.

    Thanks for the Dylan.

    Here’s one fer you:

    Then this blackhearted bird shouts down my happy fancy into frown,
    By the grave and stern decorum of the affect she wore,
    `I see thy mind be worn and craven, thou,’ I said, `art sure no maven.
    Ghastly grim and ancient raven refuting the logic she abhors –
    Tell me what pathetic name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!’
    Quoth Moonraven, `I’m a boor.’

  • moonraven

    You should have supplied a clothespin for my nose/beak.

    Whew–talk about stinking the place out!

    Adolescent humor, I suppose, [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor].

  • duane

    Ah, Moonraven, you are to prose as dancing is to walking.

  • moonraven

    I believe you were TRYING to write poetry, not prose.

    Try learning English. It always helps to be fluent in the language when TRYING to write poetry.

  • moonraven

    On that note: It’s hammock time!

    See you around, suckers.