How America Plotted Its Own Demise
Source: Open Talk Magazine 04/02/2011 01:32:00
The key to world dominion lies in control of Eurasia. This central tenet of Halford Mackinder’s Heartland theory was clearly understood by neoMackinderites like Zbigniew Brzezinski who argued in his book The Grand Chessboard that American hegemony was required to stabilize the world and to do that America needed to establish its supremacy over the Eurasian landmass. Why this ‘hold’ was required was that it allowed Americans a geographical basis to retain their control over Persian Gulf oil. To do that, America needed to exercise control over three main oil producing countries; Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq. Saudi Arabia was incorporated into a satellite status with America guaranteeing the continuance of the Al Saud dynasty. However, controlling Iran was a different matter.
Iran is potentially the most dangerous entity because of the homogeneity of its population as most Iranians are Shia Muslims. This homogeneity made the Iranian Revolution a reality and it is this homogeneity that can upset the apple cart in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East.
Iraq was a perfect foil to Iran’s larger Shia ambitions in the Persian Gulf. This country of 23 million, consists of a majority of Shia Muslims(60-65%), followed by Sunni Muslims (32-37%), the Kurds (15-20%) and a sprinkling of Christians and lesser sects. With Saddam Hussein in charge, a Sunni minority had kept the larger Shia community in check. Saddam’s regime may have been brutal but it was definitely more secular. The very fact that a Sunni government was in charge in Baghdad meant that Tehran’s influence could not expand westward and thus boxed in by Sunni states on either side; Tehran was essentially contained.
All dictators can be bought. America had done a marvelous job of keeping Saddam on its side throughout the 1960s until the seventies. In 1959, the CIA supported Saddam Hussein to take part in assassination of Iraqi Prime minister Qasim whom the U.S. planners feared had wanted to alter the favorable terms for their oil companies. The overthrow of Qasim’s government led to the Baathist party coming to power that promptly granted more concession areas to American oil companies; a stake in the rich Rumaila fields and allowed them joint exploration with the newly formed Iraq National Oil Company. The souring of relations in the seventies led Saddam into the Soviet sphere of influence; all due to the high handedness of a few Iraq experts in the intelligence community and misreading of the Gulf regional geopolitics by the State department.
By removing Saddam, the animosity between Iraqi Shias and Sunnis was rekindled. It allowed the Iranians who till now had no say in Baghdad, a huge leverage. This led to a civil war that has killed thousands of Iraqis and American soldiers. Had Saddam not been removed but pampered, America today would not have had the danger of the Gulf going into Iranian hands. It would not have had to lose over 2000 American lives and spend $3 Trillion on a war that is turning out to be a nightmare. For a fraction of the cost, with Saddam in command, America would have continued its extra-regional hegemony uninterrupted and would have become free to deal with Iran more robustly. Today, with war on two fronts, the Iranians are becoming bolder and bolder by the day knowing well that America can no longer strike. Thus, the impending demise of American power in the Persian Gulf is America’s own doing.