The Real Grand Chessboard and the Profiteers of War

Published on Global Research.ca, by Prof. Peter Dale Scott, Augusst 11, 2009.

… The Real Grand Chessboard: Those Profiting from Enduring Violence:

The delusional grandiosity of Brzezinski’s rhetoric is inherent above all in the false metaphor of his book title. “Vassals” are not chess pieces to be moved effortlessly by a single hand. They are human beings with minds of their own; and among humans an unjust excess of power is certain to provoke not only resentment but ultimately successful resistance. One can see this easily in Asia, from the evolution of anti-Americanism in Iran to the Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HT) in Central Asia: although still ostensibly nonviolent, HT’s rhetoric is now more and more aggressively anti-American.[13]  

The notion of a single chess player is equally false, especially in Central Asia, where dominant states (the U.S., Russia, and China) and local states are all alike weak. Here major multinational corporations like BP and Exxon are major players. In countries like Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan they dwarf both local state power and also the U.S. governmental presence, whether official or covert. The true local powers are apt to be two which governments are notoriously inept at controlling: first, the “agitated Muslims” which Brzezinski insanely derided, and second, illicit trafficking, above all drug trafficking.[14]

Ultimately however Brzezinski is not constrained by his chess metaphor. The goal of a chess game is to win. Brzezinski’s goal is quite different: to exert permanent restraints on the power of China and above all Russia. He has thus sensibly opposed destabilizing moves like a western strike on Iran, while supporting the permanent containment of Russia with a ring of western bases and pipelines. (In 1995 Brzezinski flew to Azerbaijan and helped negotiate the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline linking Azerbaijan to Turkey.)[15]

As I have argued elsewhere, Brzezinski (though he no doubt thinks to himself in terms of strategy) thus promotes a policy that very much suits the needs of the oil industry and its backers. These last include his patrons the Rockefellers, who first launched him into national prominence.[16]

In March 2001 the biggest oil majors (Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Conoco, and Shell) had their opportunity to design the incoming administration’s energy strategies, including Middle East policy, by participating secretly in Vice-President Cheney’s Energy Task Force.[17] The Task Force, we learned later, developed a map of Iraq’s oil fields, with the southwest divided into nine “Exploration Blocks.” One month earlier a Bush National Security Council document had noted that Cheney’s Task force would consider “actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields.”[18] Earlier the oil companies had participated in a non-governmental task force calling for “an immediate policy review toward Iraq including military, energy, economic and political/diplomatic assessments.”[19]

Of course, oil companies were not alone in pushing for military action against Iraq. After 9/11, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Douglas Feith established the Pentagon’s neocon Office of Special Plans (OSP), which soon “rivalled both the C.I.A. and the Pentagon’s own Defense Intelligence Agency, the D.I.A., as President Bush’s main source of intelligence regarding Iraq’s possible possession of weapons of mass destruction and connection with Al Qaeda.”[20] Neocon influence in the Administration, supported by Lewis Libby in Vice-President Cheney’s office, trumped the skepticism of CIA and DIA: these two false charges against Saddam Hussein, or what one critic called “faith-based intelligence,” became briefly the official ideology of the United States. Some, notably Dick Cheney, have never recanted.

Many journalists were eager to promote the OSP doctrines. Judith Miller of the New York Times wrote a series of articles on Saddam’s WMD, relying, like OSP itself, on the propaganda of Iraqi exile Ahmed Chalabi.[21] Miller’s book collaborator Laurie Mylroie went even further, arguing that “Saddam was not only behind the ‘93 Trade Center attack, but also every anti-American terrorist incident of the past decade, from the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania to the leveling of the federal building in Oklahoma City to September 11 itself.”[22] Many of these advocates, notably Feith, Libby, and Mylroie, had links to Israel, which as much as any oil company had reasons to wish for U.S. armies to become established militarily in Central Asia.[23]

Private Military Contractors (PMCs), Whose Business is Violence for Profit: … (full long text).

(Peter Dale Scott, a former Canadian diplomat and English Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is a poet, writer, and researcher. His latest prose books are The Road to 9/11 (2007) and his reissued and expanded War Conspiracy (2008). His new book of poems (including political poems) is Mosaic Orpheus, from McGill-Queen’s University Press. Visit his website).

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