News

Loading...

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Reading Between the Lines

Walter Mead writes:
"For the past few centuries, a global economic and political system has been slowly taking shape under first British and then American leadership. As a vital element of that system, the leading global power -- with help from allies and other parties -- maintains the security of world trade over the seas and air while also ensuring that international economic transactions take place in an orderly way. Thanks to the American umbrella, Germany, Japan, China, Korea and India do not need to maintain the military strength to project forces into the Middle East to defend their access to energy. Nor must each country's navy protect the supertankers carrying oil and liquefied national gas (LNG).

"For this system to work, the Americans must prevent any power from dominating the Persian Gulf while retaining the ability to protect the safe passage of ships through its waters. The Soviets had to be kept out during the Cold War, and the security and independence of the oil sheikdoms had to be protected from ambitious Arab leaders like Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser and Iraq's Saddam Hussein. During the Cold War Americans forged alliances with Turkey, Israel and (until 1979) Iran, three non-Arab states that had their own reasons for opposing both the Soviets and any pan-Arab state.

"When the fall of the shah of Iran turned a key regional ally into an implacable foe, the U.S. responded by tightening its relations with both Israel and Turkey -- while developing a deeper relationship with Egypt, which had given up on Nasser's goal of unifying all the Arabs under its flag.

"Today the U.S. is building a coalition against Iran's drive for power in the Gulf. Israel, a country which has its own reasons for opposing Iran, remains an important component in the American strategy, but the U.S. must also manage the political costs of this relationship as it works with the Sunni Arab states. American opposition to Iran's nuclear program not only reflects concerns about Israeli security and the possibility that Iran might supply terrorist groups with nuclear materials. It also reflects the U.S. interest in protecting its ability to project conventional forces into the Gulf.

"The end of America's ability to safeguard the Gulf and the trade routes around it would be enormously damaging -- and not just to us."

*****************************
My corrected version of Mead's text:

For the past few centuries, a global economic and political system has been slowly taking shape under first British and then American leadership. As a vital element of that system, the leading global power controls world trade over the seas and air while also ensuring that international economic transactions take place in a way that profits it. Thanks to the American umbrella, Germany, Japan, China, Korea and India are not allowed to maintain the military strength to project forces into the Middle East to defend their access to energy. Nor can each country's navy protect the supertankers carrying oil and liquefied national gas (LNG).

For this system to work to our advantage, the Americans must prevent any power except themselves from dominating the Persian Gulf while retaining the ability to protect the safe passage of ships through its waters. The Soviets had to be kept out during the Cold War, and the authoritarian rule of petty despots over the oil sheikdoms so that their families can plunder the national treasury for their Swiss bank accounts had to be protected from ambitious Arab leaders like Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser and Iraq's Saddam Hussein. In fact, Iran can't be allowed to "project force" into its own waterways!

Today the U.S. is building a coalition against Iran's drive for power in its own backyard, where only we are allowed to have power.... American opposition to Iran's nuclear program not only reflects paranoia about Israeli security and the fantasy that Iran might supply terrorist groups with nuclear materials. It also reflects the U.S. interest in protecting its ability to run the world.

The end of America's ability to safeguard the Gulf and the trade routes around it would be enormously damaging — and not just to us WSJ op-ed writers! It will also be very damaging to US oil company executives, and Republicans everywhere.

No comments:

Post a Comment