Thursday, 28 April 2011

"Mission Creep" in Libya is nor Folly: It's a Geostrategic Deperation.

Throughout the west there is a desire to relieve people in distress, but when humanitarians arrive with screaming missiles and a clear political agenda, those being attacked are understandably suspicious of motive. I do not believe Cameron is after Gaddafi's oil, but tell Tripoli's residents, whose sufferings were happily ignored by British governments when their leader seemed secure. The first humanitarian duty to those who are suffering should be to relieve that suffering, not to fight their civil wars, suppress their dictators, partition their countries and destroy their infrastructure. Something has polluted foreign policy.

States Simon Jenkins ( These humanitarians come to Libya with missiles, and an agenda, The Guardian April 19 2011 )

Well, no Cameron is not after Gaddafi's oil as an individual. It is somewhat silly to look at foreign policy as if it were merely the personal folly of politicians, those who lack the sense and knowledge that the older generation who grew up during World War Two had in doing everything to avert war after 1945.

In the long term the far bleaker and more frightening reality is that the profligate fuel use inherent in British consumerism, one common across North America and Europe, means that the future will be one of resource wars. That and the New Great Game with China over control of oil rich regions.

There is no point pretending that this is "rapacious imperialism" organised by sinister corporate elites: most people, including anti-war types, collude in creating resource wars when they fly EasyJet to the Algarve, buy out of season strawberries from Waitrose or have three cars on the drive.

The cretinous statement that Britain's wars are "all about oil", as it this were some trump card that proves moral superiority and the hypocrisy of "Them" and not "Us", ignores the way that Blair went into Iraq in 2003 to give the people what they wanted-cheap and abundant fuel.

Just as the fuel protest in 2000 had convinced Blair that high petrol prices could potentially bring chaos, so too the global crash of 2008 and instability in the Arab nations in 2011 has threatened to push petrol prices up to levels that consumers will not like, that is most Britons.

Hence the Chancellor George Osborne's fuel duty reductions and promise to put "fuel in the tank of the British economy" in the March budget. Labour also sought to exploit discontent over petrol prices. When the Libyan crisis broke out, it threatened to disrupt another important source of oil.

So the fact is if that control of oil supplies is part of the geopolitical calculations upon which power operates, then the intervention in Libya is clearly about advancing Britain's oil interests, not least as in 2007 BP negotiated the development of a huge oil concession in the nation.

When Gaddafi lost de facto sovereignty over Libya and the rebels looked as though they could win, only then for the stronghold of Eastern Libya in Benghazi to be threatened with protracted destruction and death, Britain and France sought to use the humanitarian impact as a pretext to remove Gaddafi.

Policy is formulated by politicians, statesmen and 'experts' according to a variety of objectives, often ones that quite clearly are contradictory and clash. No doubt Cameron and Sarkozy thought that a Libya under anti-Gaddafi forces and committed to destroying the dictatorship would be preferable.

It is clear that the endgame all along was the removal of Gaddafi was increasingly seen as unreliable when set against the control he had over Africa's prime source of high grade low sulphur oil. China was also making inroads in Libya.

Here is the rub: now that the Western powers have staked all on backing rebel forces against Gaddafi, it will be impossible for them to avoid continuing to back them by putting military advisers on the ground and continuing to give aid as if Gaddafi returns British oil interests will be threatened even more.

The US seems to have scaled down its role, probably adopting a policy of "wait and see" as it is European nations that have far more at stake as regards drilling and exploration rights. Something which invalidates the idea that the US is primarily behind an attempt at "neo-imperialism" in Libya.

The struggle for diversification over oil supplies is one that connects to the preservation of the consumer lifestyles the great majority of people in the West want, even if they fail to connect it to foreign policy and certain journalists waffle on in bemused fashion at why these wars are happening.

No comments:

Post a Comment