By Thierry Meyssan (edited by Steve Brown and additional material by Steve Brown)…
1976: President Carter believed oil was the most important component of US global hegemony, and that access to Middle Eastern oil was paramount to the maintenance of US national security. Carter’s mandate stated that Arab states and Iran must sell oil to the USA, and must not inflate the cost by means of their cartel. Carter created the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force to enforce Carter’s oil doctrine.
1980: Like Carter, Ronald Reagan believed that oil was essential to the operation of the US economy, so superseded Carter’s RDJTF with CentCom; the “centre” of CentCom being the location of major known oil fields at that time. While Reagan appeared to oppose the policies of his predecessor, Reagan fully adopted the Carter Doctrine and negotiated permanent military bases and installation of US troops in the Middle East, including Lebanon, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.
1988: George H Bush, likewise an oil-firster, took advantage of Saddam Hussein’s brinkmanship in Kuwait to essentially crush Iraq, subsequent to the very damaging Iran v. Iraq war in which the United States backed both sides. Hussein imagined that he could oppose the USA and carry on independently, beyond control of the US hegemon. Hussein believed too that the British had deprived Iraq of important oil reserves, by allocating Iraqi oil territory to Kuwait many years prior. Thus, Hussein engaged in his own oil trade in currencies other than the US dollar, while obliquely threatening Israel, and dared to recover a portion of Kuwait’s reserves. As a result, G H Bush pursued the oil-centric policies of his predecessors, to leverage hegemonic war versus Iraq, while finally leaving Hussein in power.
1992: With the collapse of the USSR, Clinton-Gore inherited a uni-polar world. Clinton-Gore adhered to the then-new concept of ‘Peak Oil’ touting oil as a finite resource essential to US national security, to be prioritized. The Clinton regime drew a map of infrastructure necessary to support US leadership from the well-head to the petrol pump; that infrastructure included pipelines, highways, railways, and communications to enhance US commercial and military capability to ensure a reliable supply of oil to the US from abroad.
2000: Oil man G W Bush and oil man Cheney — both adherents to the ‘Peak Oil’ theory — launched a series of wars to enforce US oil hegemony. But instead of targeting oil-rich states only, Cheney thought about routes to those energy sources, and the means by which those oil resources traversed Asia and the global south, not just the Middle East. In other words, Bush-Cheney hoped to control global oil production and routes to market that oil production would take. Afghanistan is one example, with the invasion and occupation of Iraq most notable. Sudan, the South Caucasus, Somalia, Eritrea, Nigeria, Chad, with further goals in the Balkans, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Turkmenistan and Turkey followed.
2008: Obama embraced an entirely new and revolutionary technology and opportunity: the fracking of shale oil and natural gas; especially LNG which is a byproduct of fracking. Obama broke with the ‘Peak Oil’ theory to fully engage US fracking and shale as a major component of US oil dominance. (Fracked oil is far more expensive than the traditional method of recovery; fracked oil is most profitable above $70 per bbl.) As a result Saudi Arabia engaged in a direct affront on US fracking by causing crude oil prices to plunge to the vicinity of $36 per barrel, during the last year of the Obama presidency. The Saudi attempt to crash the US fracking industry failed, and US shale corporations barely survived.
2016: Donald J Trump fully understood the lesson of Saudi’s failed experiment, ie the Saudi attempt to crash the US fracking industry. Donald Trump assumed power with the US dominant as the world’s number one oil producer. Trump overturned all previous US energy strategy by aligning US shale production with an eye to control future global reserves outside of the United States*
Trump looks beyond 2024 when the US must command access to more traditional forms of oil reserve, with Venezuela being one component in that strategy. In tandem, we now understand why Trump pulled out of the JCPOA – not just at the behest of Nethanyahu – but to maintain higher oil prices to benefit US frackers. Then, when Iran eventually ‘falls’ to US sanctions – or so Trump’s partners believe – a “reformed” Iran will then be a reliable US oil supplier, as it was under the Shah. Hence we have a clue to the hegemonic timeline favored by the political class.
We consider this evolution of US foreign policy:
1976 – 1992: Oil by US enforcement (force of arms RDJTF / CentCom / USD)
1992 – 2000: Realignment to control well head to delivery (US source recovery & alignment with emphasis on commerce)
2000 – 2008: Wars for oil and offer (including pipeline wars which continue to this day)
2008 – 2016: Redirection to the US as #1 oil producer by fracked oil
From 2024: Beyond fracking to US control of proposed client states such as Venezuela, Iran, and Syria, with all territorial traverse access required for dominant pipelines and the sea lane shipment of LNG.**
The above is a truncated version of events that may enlighten the reader on how / why US foreign policy has developed and evolved since 1976. While many components and factors have been left out, we hope that some light can be shed on why certain extremists are in positions of ultimate power, despite the brutality they engage in. Most of all, the Energy Policy that has been the dominant driving force behind US foreign policy and intervention since 1945.
*shale production peaks in 2024 and is then projected to decline.
**note that this ‘unified field theory’ of US foreign policy ambitions ignores the role of Israel while largely focusing on the importance of Saudi oil. Saudi is only useful so long as Saudi can act in the US interest.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.