In an opinion piece in the Indian daily, The Hindu, a vivid comment of contradiction and charges
of American imperialism were made, not unlike those being made for many years around the world by various people:
An article in the Washington Post also noted some parallels:
An article in the Asia Times (April 10, 2003)
notes one effect of the media and propaganda: The Bush administration, the Pentagon and the breathless,
embedded cheerleaders of American corporate media are ecstatic. The whole planet is horrified it says,
giving a hint to perhaps the geopolitical ramification of opposing a power.
Other nations may fear that if they don't fall into line maybe they will be next. Bush's warning
shortly after September 11, 2001 of if you are not with us, you are against us must ring very
sharply in some parts of the world.
Nations who do not fall into line may not be of the violent, despotic nature, it might just be a
nation's attempt at an alternative path to development, perhaps to break the mold of undue influences
from more powerful countries.
However, such attempts have, in the past, usually been destroyed or contained by the powers that may
lose out, in case these nations provide an example for other nations. This, many believe, especially in
the Third World is why so many of the anti-colonial breaks for freedom in the post World War II era
resulted in the new and former imperial powers overthrowing popular leaders and supporting dictatorships,
or puppet governments.
The Third World in general still suffers the poverty and disparities and many refer to today's global
configuration as representing a neo-imperial or neo-colonial era. (The U.S.'s apparent move towards what
some call Empire, in recent years, may be different to imperialism or colonialism as it is normally
understood, but the effects and the issue of power still remain.) In addition, such oppression by dictators
and oppressive rulers has fueled terrorism, which at various times has also attempted to target the foreign
powers that have supported those rulers in various ways.
For more details on these aspects, see for example the page on this site about
control of resources.
(It also has links to a lot more information on this vast topic.)
An irony of this conflict may be that Iraq might actually see a somewhat genuine democracy (though this is not
by any means guaranteed, if events of the few weeks after the first three weeks of the bombardment are to go by)
on the local and national scale, but on the international arena, the concern is whether this government will be a
puppet regime or in some way bend to the demands of external powerful nations such as the U.S. and U.K.
Some describe America's actions as imperialist. Consider the following for example, which also suggests how
reshaping or rebuilding Iraq may look honest, but may be for underlying imperial motives:
Stephen Cohen, contributing editor of The Nation magazine asks some key questions about the impacts of
the war and whether it will lead to the objectives that George Bush stated:
One of many criticisms against war from many angles has been that one of the U.S.'s real interest was to break
the OPEC cartel and have a more compliant regime that would help serve U.S.'s interests more. The Washington
Post highlighted this:
The advisor which hinted the above was Philip J. Carroll, who formerly headed Royal Dutch Shell in the U.S. and
now and is now chairs a commission selected by the Pentagon to advise Iraq's Ministry of Oil. Commenting on the
above-cited concerns about breaking OPEC, the Post noted that Carroll repeatedly rejected suggestions
that he is an instrument of any such policy, saying that he is merely an adviser. In the final analysis, Iraq's
role in OPEC or in any other international organization is something that has to be left to an Iraqi government,
he said. It may well be true that he is not an instrument of such policy, or he may be naive, or he may be
lying. Different people will likely interpret this in different ways.
But oil is perhaps not the only factor, as common as that seems to be as the reason critics oppose the war. It
may indeed be one of many other factors, which, for example, Indian research organization, Aspects of India's
Economy, details. They highlight that
geopolitical dominance in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 is a key factor,
which implies using military, political and economic means to challenge other rivals (e.g. a France/German
centered European power, China and possibly others), control the Middle East for oil and such resources, and other
such aspects. Undermining, or at least further controling the United Nations where possible seems to be another
outcome of this crisis, regardless of whether that was an initial objective or not.
As the cost of war web site reports, the cost for American citizens
is very high indeed. (Their counter on their home page, as of September 28, 2003, reveals a cost of over $76.5
Yet, less reported are the truly wider costs and repercussions of the war.
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA) held a seminar between April 14 and
April 17, 2003 on the regions economic progress. Side Note(ESCWA is
comprised of Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Saudi
Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates and Yemen)
In addition, she added that between four and five million jobs had been lost following the previous
Gulf war and that was expected to rise to between six and seven million as a result of the current conflict.
This could explain yet another reason why so many Arab countries were against the war this time.
For the Pentagon and the U.S., it would seem the $20 billion (and rising) figure would be a profitable
venture, given that the U.S. is attempting to award reconstruction contracts to a
American companies, some of which are controversial
for having ties
or relations in some way to the Republican party.
But this is geopolitical in nature as well. The trillion dollars is not just from reconstruction, but from
many knock-on effects that would affect the rest of the economy, so it shouldn't be assumed that this war
is being waged for reconstruction contracts, as they would not approach a trillion dollars, though there
is large amounts of money involved, nonetheless.
The deeper geopolitical ramification of this is financial and economic warfare to prevent competing
centers of power from emerging. J.W. Smith of the Institute for Economic Democracy
describes this aspect in far more depth. In his works, Smith details how throughout history various powers
have sought to destroy other regions potential in developing, or to bring it under their own spheres of
dominance and influence, in order to prevent competing centers of power to emerge. This results in economic
warfare, political warfare, and, ultimately, military warfare if needed.
In addition, George Bush has announced the intention to create a free trade agreement between the U.S. and the
Middle East. While this sounds promising, critics fear this means opening up the Middle East not so much to
democratic forces, but to corporate interests. Free Trade as it has currently been practised, has been
far from the free trade often discussed in theory, and in practise has often been criticized as being mercantilist
or corporate/subtle monopoly capitalism, where political influence and power plays an enormous part in economic
decisions and directions.
Inter Press Service comments (May 19, 2003),
for example, that the proposal for a free trade agreement with the Middle East is likely to be modelled after
controversial agreements like the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which, Among other things,
that deal gives private firms the right to sue governments if their labour, health or environmental laws are seen
to be barring the way to private-sector investment. In addition, the article also pointed out that In Iraq,
administration officials, many hailing from the private sector, are fast replacing the Saddam Hussein dictatorship,
opening the oil-rich country further to corporate executives, U.S. bankers and goods. The question then
remains about how much Iraqi people will be able to determine their own future. (This site's section on
trade related issues discusses things like
poverty and free trade.)
Towards the end of February, 2003, George Bush gave a speech at the American Enterprise Institute, where he said,
A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region.
This Democracy Domino Theory though sounding promising and full of hope is full of controversy.
The Los Angeles Times reported (March 14, 2003)
that according to a classified U.S. State Department Report, Bush's Democracy Domino Theory is 'not credible'.
In April, Paul Wolfowitz (Deputy U.S. Defense Secretary during President Reagan administration, the Assistant
Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs) went on Fox New Sunday television and likened
a free Iraq as a beacon of democracy just as Japan had been for Asia. The example of Japan he said even
in countries that had bitter memories of the Japanese, inspired many countries in East Asia to realize that they
could master a free-market economy, that they could master democracy.
Yet, as Tim Shorrock comments, Wolfowitz is turning history on its head.
President Bush made a speech before the National Endowment for Democracy on November 6, 2003, reiterating that
there was a greater need for democracy and freedom in the Middle East in general. But, as Stephen Zunes, professor
of politics at the University of San Francisco notes that
After listing a number of examples of how the U.S. has backed non-democratic regimes in the region even now,
Zunes adds that
For more information on this aspect, see for example the following:
Giovanni Arrighi in his book The Long Twentieth Century (Verso Press, 1994), and Chaos
and Governance in the Modern World System (University of Minesota Press, 1999). He also describes
the development of Asia as being financed by the U.S. via Japan through military keynesianism
economic policies, that the development and industrialization of most developed regions was related to
the high military spending that came from the Cold War, etc, and the stimulous that gave to various
J.W. Smith also highlights this in his work, Economic Democracy; The Political Struggle for the 21st
Century (3rd Edition, 2003), which is also on-line in full.
He also details how in the fight against communism, and also for the former imperial powers, to try and
contain breaks for freedom (as most of the former colonized world managed to break free after
World War II reduced the power of imperial nations), those former powers supported dictatorships and puppet
The Noam Chomsky Archive details this as well. Professor at
M.I.T., Noam Chomsky is regarded by many as the world's number one political dissident! For decades he has
been very critical of U.S. foreign policy.
It is also interesting to note that many feel that democratic government is a western value being brought to
other parts of the world. Yet, prior to colonialism and imperialism, many parts of the world showed similar levels
of development and had similar features that could lead to democracy, market economies, etc, that the West
As detailed by Professor J.M. Blaut, the impact of colonialism and imperialism set much of the world back
tremendously. In his work, Blaut details how centuries of eurocentricism in all sorts of fields from
literature to history, archeology and science etc, all have contributed to various stereotypical views such as
only Europe advanced or had the qualities needed to develop democratic, peaceful states, etc. Only now, he points
out, are third world scholars slowly beginning to refute this established history and showing just how much of an
impact things like colonialism etc had on the world.
Blaut's work includes two books that make up a volume called The Colonizer's Model of the World.
He details how various forms of history are still influenced from the colonial and imperial era which
ultimately showed in various ways how Europe or people of European descent were somehow endowed with
better qualities or better environment that led them to develop and others to stagnate.
His book Eight Eurocentric Historians, (Guilford Press, 2000), for example, looks at both
conservative and marxist historians that hold what he describes as a eurocentric view on world history;
that ultimately historical advances progress to Europe, and in particular, northwest Europe.
In the first book in his volume, Geographical Diffusionism and Eurocentric History (Guilford
Press, 1993), he details how prior to the beginnings of colonialism, various parts of the world showed
similar levels of development that Europe had, including China, India, parts of Africa, and that they were
not showing signs of stagnation, and some even showed signs of early market economies and even early signs
of waged labor, just as Europe had. These and other indicators are all presented by various historians and
others as things that contributed eventually to democratic governance.
He suggests instead, wealth plundered from the Americas by Europe allowed it to develop colonialism and
imperialist policies in a way that allowed it to dominate the rest of the world and that was the prime
reason that the west rose more rapidly than other regions.
There appears to be little time in the mainstream media to cover these aspects in depth, and so it is easy to
accept these claims, for they sound ideal and appealing, even if there are murkier complications underneath.
A neo-conservative organization, the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), suggested many years ago that
attacking Iraq would be in the interest of the United States as part of a geostrategic plan to enhance the U.S.
global power. At present the United States faces no global rival. America's grand strategy should aim to
preserve and extend this advantageous position as far into the future as possible it said. One of the
concerning things about this document and the organization is the level of influence and audience some of its
members have, including Dick Cheney (now vice- president), Donald Rumsfeld (defence secretary), Paul Wolfowitz
(Rumsfeld's deputy), George W Bush's younger brother Jeb, Lewis Libby (Cheney's chief of staff), former U.S.
Defense Policy Board chairman Richard Perle and many others.
One of the suggested reasons for attacking Iraq was related to the September 11 terrorist attacks, yet the PNAC
had been advocating this well before that terrible event. The Bush Doctrine of preemptive strikes seemed
to map quite closely to many aspects of the PNAC report. This is discussed in much more detail on this site's
section on military expansion.
That previous link also discusses some other aspects of geopolitics, such as how most wars throughout history
have often had resources and economics at their core. In that context, what has also been missing from mainstream
media analysis has been the deeper post World War II geopolitical history, of wars in the Third World waged by the
West, in the name of fighting communism etc, and how Iraq fits into all that. As media watchdog Media Lens
puts it (talking about a particular mainstream outlet, but applicable to perhaps most if not all), the mainstream
Long Term U.S. Military Bases In Iraq; A Coaling Station for Continued Dominance in the Region
The Independent reported (April 21, 2003)
that Bush administration officials said the United States is planning to use Iraq to maintain a long-term
strategic foothold in the Middle East that would include the right to use four of the country's military bases.
For a while there has been concern about the U.S. geostrategic interests in the Middle East, and how the Iraq
war would aid in that as mentioned, for example, on this page's military expansion
section. This may partially explain the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Saudi Arabia as well.