Geopolitical notes from India
M D Nalapat
Friday, May 25, 2012 – The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency,Yukio Amano,follows UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s policy of supporting whatever it is that the NATO powers want. In both their home countries,Japan and South Korea,NATO – in the shape of the US military – has been a benign force,defending them against attack by hostile powers. The NATO experience in East Asia has been much less negative for domestic populations than that in West Asia,while South Asia stands in between,except for Afghanistan,where NATO negativism has resulted in the revival of the Taliban and the weakening of forces that could be expected to defend the country against another takeover by the rag-tag militia that is creating panic in NATO headquarters.
Since the past decade, NATO has waged open war in order to alter the status quo. Its battles are not in furtherance of democracy, for itneeds to be remembered that locations such as Qatar and Bahrain, where substantial numbers of NATO troops are based,are far from democratic in their governance. However,thus far,neither Barack Obama nor David Cameron have given any indication of noticing this fact. Instead,they turned their attention first to Iraq and thence to Libya and now Syria, with Iran a permanent target of war plans. After the occupation of Iraq in 2003 and the execution of Saddam Hussein,what was behind the NATO-assisted removal of the Muammar Kaddafy regime? Although BBC,CNN and Al Jazeerapretended that the uprising was entirely local,now the world knows that special forces from several countries got inserted to Libya and played the dominant role in the defeat of forces loyal to Kaddafy. Neighbouring countries provided weapons,money and training to mercenaries who were inserted into Libya throughout 2011,until the fall of Tripoli Conspiracy theorists claim that Goege W Bush and his “Executive President” Dick Cheney invaded Iraq in order to teach Saddam Hussein a lesson for seeking to assasinate the then US President’s father. George H W Bush was a good leader,although – like Lyndon Johnson before him – given much less credit by commentators than he merited.
However,it was not for him that Iraq was invaded.Rather,the common link between Saddam Hussein,Muammar Kaddafy,Bashar Assad and Mahmoud Ahmedinejad is that all four are opposed to the monarchies that rule the wealthy nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council. EliminatingSaddam would,it was calculated,strengthen the position of the GCC and other monarchies. It is no accident that while republican Egypt and Tunisia have undergone changes in the Head of State,the same has not taken place in Jordan and Morocco,both of which are monarchies It needs to be admitted that NATO has stood by its friends in West Asia and North Africa,namely the monarchies. After having taken out Saddam Hussein,another anti-monarchist,Muammar Kaddafy,was dealt within the same way,while a similar fate has been planned for Bashar Assad and Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. Once the last two anti-monarchial Heads of State join Saddam and Kaddafy, NATO believes that their royal friends in the region will be secure,even if there be some public protest,asin Bahrain and Jordan. And their royal friends have stood by the NATO member-states,often at huge financial cost.During the 2008 economic meltdown caused by the greed of NATO-based financial institutions, investors (both public and private) within the GCC lost more than $1.3 trillion,through no fault of theirs.Despite this,they are still holding nearly $4 trillion in the same financial institutions that have been shown to be unreliable.Should the inevitable fall of Greece and Spain be followed by the collapse of Italy and France, GCC investors alone stand to lose $2.1 trillion dollars in financial assets. Despite the rising risk of a repeat of the 2008 meltdown,GCC investors are continuing to keep almost all their funds in financial institutions situated in NATO member-states.
It is this loyalty to the members of NATO that is being rewarded by the military alliance going to battle to rid the region of the principal anti-monarchial regimes there. A fallout of the tension that such a policy by NATO creates is a steady rise in oil prices.Rather than $30,which is the natural price of crude oil given supply and technological potentialities,it is still about $100 a barrel,entirely because of the tension created by NATO policy towards anti-monarchial regimes in West Asia,principally Iran. Such a spike in oil prices rewards companies based in NATO capitals,as well as the monarchies.
Even better,it slows down growth in China, thereby preventing that country from overtaking the US. It slows down growth in India as well,but Delhi is collateral damage.The real target of artificially high oil prices is Beijing. Given such geopolitical realities as the need for NATO-based financial institutions to retain the immense deposits made in them by GCC investors,and the negative impact on China of rising oil prices,it would be futile to expect a breakthrough in the Baghdad talks on the Iranian nuclear program. The pressure on Syria and Iran will continue,until NATO’s mission to rid the globe of key anti-monarchy regimes gets fulfilled.
—The writer is Vice-Chair, Manipal Advanced Research Group, UNESCO Peace Chair & Professor of Geopolitics, Manipal University, Haryana State, India.