Iran Facts Update, Pt. II: Strategic Fulcrum & Schwerpunkt
(Note: big research credit owed to Church and Empire, since this is basically his post. I'm plagiarizing like crazy below, I'm just not entirely sure yet from whom.)
Washington has now shifted into full "All Iran, All The Time" mode. This should be a big tip-off to what may be coming next. Rumors circulate that an Executive Order has already been signed for attacking Iran. Someone with access to Cheney's office leaked the preferred scenario: an Israeli attack on the Natanz reactor project, followed by an Iranian response against Israel, followed by a "shock and awe" bombing campaign from the US targeting Iran's entire infrastructure, including bridges, utilities, pumping stations, and ports.
While you or I might not think it's a good idea to bomb a country which hasn't attacked anything since the 18th century, and while a bombing campaign is likely to provoke even the dissident Iranians into hating the US, it might be helpful to know why, under certain strategic analyses, "It Must Be Done." And now, I must hand the blog for a suitably brief period to Mr. Paul Wolfowitz:
"Defense Planning Guidance for 1994-99", Paul WolfowitzThe War Department is always looking to nip new threats in the bud. That's natural. But the focal point of its attention was further expanded as follows:
- "Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union..."
...to ensure that the United States - and no one else - controls the energy supplies of the Persian Gulf and adjacent areas of Asia.The first part of that sentence has been the most basic precept of US foreign policy since the 1950s. In fact, written in invisible ink on the door of the Oval Office is this phrase: Don't Lose the Gulf, Dipshit! (It was a class trip, the tour guide looked away...what can I say?) Now, the Bush Doctrine goes much further. "Adjacent areas of Asia" covers a lot of ground. The Vulcans radically expanded the Carter Doctrine, and turned away from, even trashed, the Eisenhower Doctrine (better known as "Containment"). Amongst other things, the Bush Doctrine clearly stipulates that Iran has to knuckle under. Even if that's impossible.
In short, the Bush Administration wants access to all the oil and gas in the Caspian Sea, which is currently (mostly) under Russian control. Iran happens to be blocking the way of "our" pipelines with "their" pipelines. Even worse, Iran is undermining the Petro-dollar standard by selling its oil directly to countries, for example to Japan in exchange for Yen. Big no-no in Bush World. Chavez is a gnat in that mental sphere, whereas Iran is a bee-hive.
So, having secured the White House and a pretext for wars intended to control pipelines, BushCo wasted no time in taking its spiffy new Doctrine out for a spin in early 2001 by:
- unilaterally pulling out of the US-Russian Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty
- announcing new high-tech arms sales to Taiwan
- Kremlin officials of "unfairly and improperly" restricting the rights of Russian citizens
- Russia using the country's abundant oil and gas supplies as "tools of intimidation [and] blackmail" against its neighbors
- Moscow of attempting to "monopolize the transportation" of oil and gas supplies in Eurasia
- ship their plentiful oil through a US-sponsored pipeline to Turkey and the Mediterranean rather than through Russian-controlled pipelines to Europe.
- Beijing's "lack of transparency" with respect to its military spending "understandably causes concerns for some of its neighbors"
- plans for increased spending on the F-22A fighter and Virginia-class nuclear attack submarines, weapons only useful in an Armageddon War for which there were just two possible adversaries - Russia and China
- use of arms transfers and other military aid as inducements to such countries as Iran and Sudan to gain access to energy reserves
- acquiring warships "that could serve as the basis for a force capable of power projection" into the oil-producing regions of the planet
- spans from the Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea, positioning Tehran to play a significant role in the two areas of greatest concern to the nuclear powers
- owns part of the vulnerable Strait of Hormuz - a narrow waterway from the Gulf to the Indian Ocean, the bottleneck which moves over one-quarter of the world's oil every day
- is the most obvious transit route for the delivery of oil and natural gas from the Caspian countries to global markets, especially those in Europe, India, and Japan
- supposedly possesses the world's second-largest reserves of petroleum - an estimated 132 billion barrels (11.1% of the world's known reservoirs); and also the second-largest reserves of natural gas - 971 trillion cubic feet (27.5 trillion cubic meters, or 15.3% of known reservoirs)
- US firms are barred from investing; European companies face US economic penalties if they do so
- China signed a US$50 billion cash deal in 2004 to develop the massive Yadavaran gas field
- China signed deal to purchase 10 million tons of Iranian liquefied natural gas annually for 25 years.
Russia's designs on Iran are primarily defensive, but the two countries have extensive ties. Russia's perspective:
- major strategic loss if Iran falls under US control
- primary supplier of nuclear equipment and technology, future role in developing Iran's energy infrastructure
- Russian firms are completing the construction of a civilian nuclear reactor at Bushehr in southwestern Iran
Now wouldn't those be handy tools to have? A self-respecting Empire wouldn't be caught dead without them. The only flaw in all this brilliant logic is that the Bush Doctrine's distinctive flair for execution has been, to be kind, dubious and underwhelming:
- Long-term US prospects in Central Asia have seriously dimmed
- US-European relations weakened, halting if not tenuous
- The Coalition of the Swilling sham doesn't hide that Europe stayed on the sidelines
- Our closest allies are interested in securing Iran's oil flows for themselves
- Turkey has refused to provide airbase support for bombing Iran
- Encouraging a separate Kurdistan gives Turkey and Iran a common interest
“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first, and then seek to win."