Transcript of radio commentary that aired on December 1, 2003, on KUNM public radio 89.9 fm in Albuquerque. Link to audio at end of page.
By Arjun Makhijani
A global financial, military, and political drama of the greatest moment appears to be unfolding out of the crisis created by the U.S.-British war on Iraq. Consider the following:
- Russia has opened a base in Kyrgyzstan, only 30 kilometers from a U.S. base. Its opening is a clear challenge to the U.S. military presence in the oil-rich Central Asian regions. China and the European Union have their eyes on the oil and gas there too. This means that all five nuclear-armed, permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, which is supposed to be responsible for the world’s security, are jockeying, competing over Central Asian and Caspian region oil and gas.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested that Russia could price its oil in euros, the new, common European currency. There is speculation that a partnership between the European Union and Russia could offer a suitable military and financial counterweight to the United States. A competition between the U.S. dollar and the euro may be emerging. The jockeying over the control of Persian Gulf and Central Asian oil resources appears to be part of this potentially destructive competition.
- Antagonism to the U.S. in the Islamic world is rising, as evidenced by increasing terrorism, of course. But there is other evidence. Muslim traders are beginning to use barter and euros instead of dollars. The recently retired Prime Minister of Malaysia has suggested that the 45 countries belonging to the Organization of the Islamic Conference use a gold-based currency for trade among themselves and discard the dollar.
- North Korea appears to have become a nuclear weapon state.
- The director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed El-Baradei, has recently said that “Unless we are moving steadily toward nuclear disarmament, I’m afraid that the alternative is that we’ll have scores of countries with nuclear weapons and that’s an absolute recipe for self-destruction.” And there is no movement toward nuclear disarmament.
- The United States and much of Europe are increasingly divided over a host of issues from Iran’s nuclear program to steel trade to the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, not to speak of Iraq.
Oil, money, and nuclear weapons are at the core of the emerging crisis. Enormous U.S. trade and budget deficits have weakened the United States in all but the military realm. Having nothing but a hammer, all global problems appear as nails to the U.S. government and the world is getting terribly bruised from the hammering. It is time for a global summit on oil, money and security to find a way out of the crisis. If the governments won’t convene one, perhaps the people should do so.
For more information on the connections between the global security, monetary, and oil crises, see the web site of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, www.ieer.org. This is Arjun Makhijani.
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