If Americans appear clueless about foreign policy it’s by design. The rationales offered range from fighting terrorists who threaten our homeland, to protecting helpless civilians, to spreading peace and democracy. Hopefully you, dear reader, don’t need me to point out that none of these reasons given are the true impetus of US foreign policy.
US foreign policy is about control, or if you read the New York Times–“protecting vital interests.”
An article at Global Research, by Stephen Gowans, examines The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and its influence on US foreign policy. Gowans’ argues that US foreign policies formulated by the CFR are those of the wealthy and corporations they own, and it’s their “vital interests” that are being protected.
“US foreign policy has a class content. It is that of bankers, investors and major shareholders of the United States’ key corporations who, through instrumental and functional mechanisms, dominate US public affairs. This class has an interest in unimpeded access to the land, labor, resources and markets of the entire world (and beyond ) for purposes of making itself ever wealthier. For this reason, US foreign policy is, and has always been, hostile to the threat posed by the economic self-determination of foreign populations which aspire to control their own wealth-producing assets for their own purposes.”
In recent posts, I’ve been discussing the neoconservative policy of regime change in Syria and how the US became the empire of chaos. I’ve also been examining the neoconservatives and their iron grip on US foreign policy.
Here, it’s worth asking why does this small clique of neocons holds such outsized influence over Republican and now Democratic administrations? Could it be that the neocons are articulating the preferences of the wealthy elite who actually control the US, despite the veneer of democracy?
It sure looks that way.
The mandarins at the CFR advocate control over worldwide energy supplies, resources, and markets. Overthrowing recalcitrant leaders and governments is how to gain that control. Examining the leaders and governments who have aroused the ire of US planners clearly shows the bias of the wealthy and the corporations they control.
The whole empire of chaos bit is a clever tactic to achieve control over unruly parts of the world that haven’t gotten with the Washington Consensus.
When viewed in this light events in Syria and Ukraine make a lot more sense. The US is attempting to force Russia out of the European energy market. Russia has already had to abandon its South Stream pipeline project to Europe. Furthermore, by pushing for a pipeline to supply dollar-denominated energy from Qatar through Syria and on into Europe, the US can strengthen the dollar while further driving Russia from Europe. In the meantime, to remove Assad who is regarded as a barrier to this project, US-backed war and destabilisation has resulted in 250,000 Syrians being killed.
Since World War II we’ve trained and armed proxies to fight against leaders and governments that wanted to use the resources of their country for their own advancement rather than letting American corporations profit from them. We’ve overtly or covertly appointed hundreds of dictators, war criminals, drug lords and terrorists. Despite the rhetoric, we don’t care about brutal dictators as long as they get with the program. They only become a problem when they go rogue.
Here’s an example of this concept–the most radical fundamentalist Islamist state is our ally Saudi Arabia. “The fanatacism and medievalism which underpins ISIS/Daesh in Iraq and Syria is indistinguishable from the Wahhabi Sunni doctrine in Riyadh.” The Saudis have used their oil money to fund the building of mosques and other projects across the Muslim world, all with the aim of asserting the dominance of this particularly extreme form of Sunni Islam.
But, the Saudi’s allow US oil companies to profit from their petroleum, they purchase our weapons, and they invest their money in our banks. If they didn’t, we’d invade, or employ terrorist proxies to overthrow their government and put someone in charge who would.
It should be clear by now that many of the Islamist armed groups, whether the Taliban, Al-Qaida or ISIS have been financed and armed by the US as a way to maintain control over its world wide empire. It’s for the same reasons the US waged war on the Third World for decades to combat indigenous nationalism–where the leaders or countries wanted to use their resources to better themselves and their people rather than Wall Street.
I’m more convinced than ever that the Cold War narrative of the heroic US containing the evil Soviets is false. In light of US foreign policy since the end of the Cold War, I’m inclined to believe that the US wasn’t containing the Soviets as much as they were containing us. Taking this idea further–the challenge posed by Soviet containment was that it placed communist controlled parts of the world off limits to capitalist penetration in the search for resources, cheap labor, and markets. Communism effectively contained the American empire from expanding into certain areas of the world.
This is a large part of the reason why the neoconservatives are willing to restart the Cold War with Russia.
It’s all about control.