by Ken Kelley
NOVA SCOTIA—”BP has done ruined all those people’s lives down there,” said my friend Bill, a Nova Scotia lobsterman in his seventies, as we talked about the fate of Louisiana fishermen the other day. Many are Cajuns, descended from French Acadian settlers who once lived along this very coast, prior to their expulsion by the British in the 1750s.
Having worked on the sea all his life, Bill said sadly: “We ain’t seen nothing yet. I don’t care how you look at it, that oil is coming up here.” Remarking on swordfish and tuna, which winter and spawn in the Gulf but are caught by Canadian fishermen in the summer, he noted that “fish swim, but that oil will kill every fish egg it touches.”
Although the focus of the environmental impacts of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill has been primarily on the devastation of the coastal wildlife, marshes, and beaches of the Gulf Coast, the impacts will be felt all along the Atlantic coast, as well. With the spill, now in its third month, spewing oil into the ocean at the rate of at least 60,000 barrels a day, it’s clear BP CEO Tony Hayward’s claim that the environmental impact would be “very, very modest” could not be farther from the truth.
Continue reading “Waiting for BP’s tarballs”
Earlier I had criticzed The Electronic Intifada rather harshly for publishing a really poor article attacking John Mearsheimer & Stephen Walt. Having had a day to think about it, I regret the tone of my post and the failure to acknowledge EI’s otherwise exceptional record (although my criticism stands). I therefore preface my expanded article for Mondoweiss.net with an acknowledgment of what I actually think of EI’s work.
Since its founding in 2001, The Electronic Intifada has earned a well-deserved reputation for being the most influential and effective voice for Palestinian rights. It is backed by a team of smart, savvy and committed individuals. Its co-founder Ali Abunimah is in my view an examplar of what Antonio Gramsci called an ‘organic intellectual’, successfuly fusing political action with theoretical rigrour. I have therefore been a long time supporter of the project, occasionally contributing articles and reviews. However, at the moment I am terribly disappointed. Presently on its front page EI runs a ludicrous attack on John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s work — work that has been pivotal in shifting the debate on US Middle East policy. I find it pointless to respond to the author who has freely purloined others’ work, misused sources, and constructed a slipshod argument. But I’ll give two illustrative examples of the deliberate distoritions that keep resurfacing in these ideological assaults on M & W (in both cases the specific claims have been ‘borrowed’ from Noam Chomsky):
Chomsky has long maintained that the war in Iraq was for oil. He always adduces the same evidence to support his case. A State Department document from 1945, a quote from Zbigniew Brzezinski and another from George Kennan. Chomsky argues that Middle East oil is ‘a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history’ (State Department), and anyone who controls Iraq’s vast oil reserves gains ‘critical leverage’ (Brzezinski), indeed ‘veto power’ (Kennan), over competitors. All of this is indisputable: the United States would no doubt like to control Iraqi oil; it recognizes the ‘critical leverage’ the control affords it; and the critical leverage no doubt would grant it ‘veto power’. Now here is the problem: The State Department document Chomsky cites is about Saudi Arabia, not Iraq. And it recommends that, precisely because Saudi oil is so important, US must maintain friendly relations with the kingdom. Also, it does not follow that regime change is the only means to achieve these goals. Indeed, all of these claims have been just as true the past half century, but they did not necessitate war. The US has long preferred shoring up authoritarian regimes which could ensure its dominance and maintain a stable flow of oil.
Lucia Newman of Al Jazeera reports from Buenos Aires.
It has been 28 years since Britain and Argentina went to war over the disputed Falkland islands – known as the Malvinas by Argentines – in the South Atlantic.
Britain emerged victorious from the conflict and the islands have since grown prosperous from tourism and fishing among other things.
Now with oil companies exploring the waters surrounding the islands, tensions between the two countries are rising again.
As Argentina pays tribute to the soldiers who fell in the conflict, many people, including the president, are raising their voices against the continued British rule over the islands.
Dick Cheney did not go to war with Iraq for oil. Dick Cheney spent all of the ’90s complaining about the ‘sanctions happy’ policy of the United States. If it was only the oil he was interested in, he could have got it without having to go to war; the Iraqis were offering monopoly control. Dick Cheney went to war to assert US power, for the ‘demonstration effect’, and the idea originated with the neoconservatives. Other than that Lawrence Wilkerson offers useful analysis.
Obama’s campaign rhetoric and his generals put him in a corner on Afghanistan
Continue reading “The end of US hegemony”
As’ad Abu Khalil on the perversions brought by Arab oil.
What has oil madness brought to the Arab person? What can we say about the accumulated billions that have gone to support the Western banks and corporations hostile to our interests, or to buy arms for America to use to support those servile regimes, or for the sake of subjugating those who raise their voices against Israel. Is there anyone among us who will yearn for Arab oil and its political actions, if the oil runs out?
Continue reading “If Arab Oil Runs Out”
My friend, the great Philip Weiss, states the obvious in his review of Juan Cole’s book. With all due respect, I found Cole’s evasions of the lobby question, and his curious insistence on wielding a club while ‘engaging with the Muslims’ world rather insulting. Both on Democracy Now and the Colbert Report his performances were anything but impressive. Frankly, it is very unlikely that I’d bother reading his book if his media performances are in any way a reflection of the book’s contents.
I’m going to order Juan Cole’s book today. I have the typical American understanding of the Muslim world –pretty small–and admire the engagement and seriousness that Cole has brought to this issue again and again. That’s why I’m addicted to his blog.
But let’s talk about the Israel lobby and the Iraq War. Reading MJ’s synopsis, I find Cole’s view unpersuasive. I don’t think the oil companies had any interest in the Iraq War. Saudi Arabia didn’t want it. Just ask Chas Freeman, the former ambassador, who vehemently opposed the war. Realists hated this war. John Mearsheimer was for the Gulf War out of an American interest that included oil, Saudi Arabia was for that war. Both were against the Iraq war.
Using the oil companies as a motivator strikes me as a lazy leftwing parking job. Everyone’s going to believe it on our side because we all hate the oil companies; but the evidence isn’t there.
Continue reading “Oh Come On, Let’s Blame The Israel Lobby For Iraq”