[Mainstream media with its thirty-second attention span would have us believe that the only thing of significance that happened at the U.N. last week was Hugo Chavez Frias’ denouncement of George W. Bush as “Diablo”, when in fact, Iran, North Korea, Bolivia, and others took unprecedented shots at the U.S. Below, Mike Ruppert analyzes the significance of those and why, among other things, Hugo Chavez received a much longer applause than George Bush when addressing the General Assembly.—CB]
UN SESSION MARKS RAPIDLY CHANGING, UNSTABLE WORLD
MICHAEL C. RUPPERT
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September 29th 2006, 2:12PM [PST] - CARACAS – The impassioned addresses by Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Iran’s Mahmud Ahmadinejad still reverberate through the ethers. Make no mistake, if there is a civilization playing videos of historical moments forty-five years from now, a whole generation will have grown up with the image of Hugo Chavez crossing himself the same way that mine grew up with the image of Nikita Khrushchev pounding his shoe on the table and telling the US, “We will bury you!”
There are two major differences between the Cold War bluster of the early 1960s and today. First, there was a whole lot more moving under the carpet and on the stage last week than a bilateral super power confrontation. Secondly, 45 years from now the US Empire will most certainly not have outlasted its enemies.
There were many shots taken at the US during the 2006 annual General Assembly meeting. But for my money, the biggest and the one that most revealed the weakness of the US Empire was taken by North Korea. It’s also the one that got the least global airplay. Basically, North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Cho Su Hon told the US that North Korea had nuclear weapons to protect itself from US imperialism, an applauded position widely supported by many member states.
On the same day, September 27, multiple press stories disclosed that the US negotiator on North Korea’s nuclear program, Chris Hill, was willing to lift unilateral US financial sanctions against North Korea as an incentive for North Korea’s return to stalled six-party talks. That development will hardly make Iran quake in its boots. It has also become very clear that the US is not going to get sanctions against Iran. That was never going to happen over Russian, Chinese and possibly even French vetoes. Those nations desperately need Iranian oil.
North Korea is, after all, a country which actually has nuclear weapons, and it has barely even noticed anything the Empire has done to block it. There are great, almost tectonic shifts that appear to be occurring in the non-aligned and third worlds as US hegemony is showing more cracks and wrinkles than Great Grandma’s face.
Japan’s new Prime Minister Abe will likely lead Japan away, in slow steps, from US influence, recognizing the inevitable regional dominance of China. That is the real meaning of re-emerging Japanese nationalism because Japan has been a virtual US colony since 1945.
This is exactly what FTW has been predicting for years. Geography is the prime influence as we move to a post-petroleum paradigm.
As I wrote in Rapprochement, not only is the US not going to attack Iran (we’ve been saying that for two years also), it actually looks like reconciliation with the US is in the works almost as soon as Bush leaves office. Looking closely at Ahmadinejad’s words he came to the United States and said that Iran is not building a bomb and has no intention of building a bomb. As he was making his media tour, he emphasized that it would be against Iran’s religious and spiritual beliefs to build one. There is nothing but very weak (and unsubstantiated) evidence that Iran is even trying to do so. They don’t have to. Later in the week Condi Rice left the door open for bilateral talks, apparently without sanctions.
But the telling event for me was the fact that Ahmadinejad was invited to speak at the Council on Foreign Relations while he was in New York. After that, also on September 27, CFR’s President Richard N. Haas, former State Department Director of Policy Planning, wrote a widely published editorial in which he described the meat of that very important meeting.
Did we learn anything? I heard three things of considerable interest. Ahmadinejad said that Iran was open to cooperating to stabilize Iraq; that Iran believed it had a right to enrich uranium but that, for religious reasons, it was prohibited from having nuclear weapons; and that Iran is open to having relations with the United States if Washington is prepared to take the initiative.
The last statement in particular is worth considering…
With respect to the “stabilization” of Iraq, let’s get something very, very clear. Here, “stabilization” means “balkanization”, and Iran is very willing to cooperate in carving up Iran if it gets control over the Shia southeast. One could now call the region that was once Yugoslavia stable. But at what ungodly cost? How many lives? How many lives are being consumed in Iraq? I saw a press story yesterday that says that 50,000 civilians are dead since 2003. That’s just the beginning.
What the US wants is Iraq’s oil which is in only a very small part of the country. That’s why it is building huge permanent military bases in those regions.
There are other chips in play with Iran. What the US has long wanted is a way to get Caspian oil to western markets. FTW wrote long and hard in 2001 and 2002 about a multitude of plans to build pipelines out of the Caspian Basin, especially through Afghanistan and Pakistan. By now it’s pretty clear that this is never going to happen. Zbigniew Brzezinski’s Grand Chessboard strategy has failed miserably.
Yet Iran has an existing well-maintained pipeline system much closer to Caspian oil, and that system flows directly to the Persian Gulf. Shipping Caspian oil through Iran to the west has actually been done at least once before, albeit illegally. In 1997, one James Giffen, working with Mobil and Italian companies conducted a Caspian “oil swap” through Iran. The CIA, and indirectly Dick Cheney who then sat on Kazakhstan’s oil advisory board, were all over the deal. FTW told you about it in
The Elephant in the Living Room
If the US and Iran were to normalize relations, money from transfer fees would flow into Iran (already well past its peak of production) to offset rapidly declining oil revenues. It’s a win-win scenario.
Remember that Bush and Ahmadinejad both get lots of votes because of their stated enmity for each other. They can’t walk away from their constituencies and are, in a sense, both prisoners of religious, right-wing extremists. Bush will be gone on January 21st, 2009 and – for my money at the moment – Hillary Clinton will be in. Former Goldman Sachs Chair and Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin almost anointed her in a Bloomberg interview recently.
And here’s a clue that all of this Iraqi carving and deal making is already in the works. My position had clearly been that the current Iraqi civil war is exactly what the US has intended all along.
There’s a great English language newspaper here in Caracas called The Daily Journal. On page 15 of the September 27th edition there appears the following unsourced news brief:
Already the moves to Balkanize Iraq are underway and Iran wants to jointly broker this with the US. The US won’t be able to pull it off any other way. It may be that the US is surrendering control of Iraq’s southern oil as a way of retaining control over the remaining large fields in the north, near Kurdish Mosul.
A Sunni Arab lawmaker said Tuesday it was akin to “treason” to support legislation submitted by Shiites that they hope will one day create their own state in southern Iraq [where about half of Iraq’s oil is located]. The sectarian differences spilled over into the streets of Baghdad, as gunmen opened fire on two Sunni mosques and sprayed bullets into Sunni homes in a mixed western neighborhood of the capital.
The Sunnis will be the biggest losers of all when Iraq breaks up. What they will get mostly is an arid, oil-free desert. The only way they can have even a part of the oil pie is if Iraq stays united; a most unlikely outcome at this point.
Bolivia’s Evo Morales landed another body blow to US hegemony by proudly displaying a coca leaf from the podium. Coca is an intrinsic part of Andean culture and life. He made a point that FTW has been making since 1999; there is nothing wrong with the coca leaf, a plant placed on this planet by nature and by God just like the hemp plant. What is wrong is what is done with that coca leaf to make cocaine hydrochloride, a manmade drug that was ultimately made by humans into crack cocaine, Freeway Rickie Ross, and the devastation of entire cities. How dare the US punish a plant and something that is as useful to the economy in Andean cultures as coffee is in the US?
Is the real enemy the coca plant or a healthy Latin American economy? Morales’s position is a threat to the CIA’s and US’s domination of the laundering of an estimated $600 billion a year in illegal drug profits that the CIA tries to steer through Wall Street.
In the meantime, Pakistan’s Pervez Musharraf and Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai, both US toadies, role play the parts of enemies so that George W. Bush can be seen as a peacemaker in the run up to the November elections. This is theater that both the world and an increasingly awake American public have grown tired of; just as more than 40% of the American public believe that the current drop in oil prices has been manufactured as an election ploy. (We’ll be writing more about that soon).
Here in Venezuela, admittedly from a non-scientific viewpoint taken from observations in a part of the city which is home to the opposition movement, a half- dozen people I asked were a bit shocked by Chavez’s dramatic crossing of himself as he labeled George Bush the devil. But now, just a few days after Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro was roughed up and detained at JFK, attitudes have changed perceptibly.
Hugo Chavez is nobody’s fool. He knew exactly what he was doing. In the coming months and years US influence can and will only wane. It is said that nature abhors a vacuum. Certainly world politics does. Vacuums there tend to create chaos and bloodshed. No single nation can – or is intended to – replace the United States. For some time now Chavez has been looking ahead to a post-US imperial global paradigm. Wisely, and apparently with a deep sense of ethics, he has been working with other key nations (irrespective of political and religious philosophy) to assure that the vacuum is filled equitably, taking great pains to protect his beloved Latin America.
He is dealing not with the world as he might shape it. He is dealing fairly with the world as it is, with the very clear recognition that in the age of peak oil, global warming, vanishing resources, and looming economic collapse, the future of mankind lies in the balance.
It is for that reason that I am pretty well convinced that next month’s secret ballot to fill a vacancy on the Security Council will see Venezuela victorious. The US has pulled out all stops to prevent it, and who knows what kind of intrigue is taking place. But around the world Hugo Chavez is seen as a broadly cooperative leader of a nation capable and willing to stand up to an Empire in decline.
Forget what all the eggheads and analysts have said, CNN’s columnist, and very-funny woman, Jeanne Moos, gave the best analysis of the whole General Assembly session. “George Bush’s speech got 15 seconds of applause and Hugo Chavez’s got 40. Go figure!”
It’s not difficult if you have the map.