America's Global Neocon War

by Jonathan Reynolds, 22 June 2012

Bush-era neocons are still very much directing foreign policy in the United States, ultimately aiming for conflict with Russia and China
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In March 2009, the same neoconservatives who pushed for a bloated military budget and war in Iraq via a "think tank" known as the "Project for the New American Century" formed a new "think tank" called "Foreign Policy Initiative" (FPI).

As summarized by History Commons, FPI's mission statement explains how the United States remains the world's "indispensable nation", warning that "strategic overreach is not the problem and retrenchment is not the solution" to Washington's current financial and strategic woes. FPI calls for "continued engagement—diplomatic, economic, and military—in the world and rejection of policies that would lead us down the path to isolationism."

The statement by FPI also lists a number of threats to US security, including "rogue states", "failed states", "autocracies", and "terrorism", but focuses primarily on the "challenges" posed by "rising and resurgent powers" of which only China and Russia are named.

Robert Kagan, a prominent, warmongering neoconservative who is member to FPI argues that the 21st century will be dominated by an "apocalyptic struggle between the forces of democracy, led by the US, and the forces of autocracy, led by China and Russia."


Over the last four years with the Obama Administration the world has truly seen the face of this new "cold war" that has surfaced which has taken the shape of ideas proposed by neocons within Foreign Policy Initiative in terms of rogue/failed states being "dealt with" and conflict with China and Russia. Recent events in Libya, Sudan, Pakistan, South Korea, Japan, Iran, Yemen, Uganda, Syria, and many other nations around the world also seems to confirm this.


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LIBYA

Libya, home to the largest oil reserves in Africa, floated the idea of nationalizing it's oil companies in 2009.

On March 14, 2011, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi met with Chinese, Russian, and Indian oil investors afterthreatening to throw out western oil companies. Gaddafi said: "We are ready to bring Chinese and Indian companies to replace Western ones".

Three days later, the United Nations authorized the use of force to "protect civilians" protesting against Gaddafi's regime, allegedly to prevent a "bloodbath". Shortly before giving his speech to bring the American people up to speed, Barack Obama met with William Kristol, a prominent neocon and the founder of Foreign Policy Initiative, who called Obama a "born-again neocon" during an interview following the exchange.

Most of Russia's business dealings with Libya were conducted through Gaddafi directly.

As noted on oilprice.com by Pavel Baev of the International Peace Research Institute, "The losses as far as economic interests are concerned were in the cards from the start because all of them were negotiated by Qaddafi and through Qaddafi. In this respect, the moment the uprising started, those investments had to be written off."

Additionally, Russia's state arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, lost an estimated $4 billion in Libyan contracts after an arms embargo was imposed on Libya by the UN Security Council in March 2011.

As reported by the BBC, Libyan Defense Minister Yunis Jaber had gone on a major spending spree during a January 2010 visit to Moscow, signing $1.8 billion worth of deals. Libya was expected to become the first foreign buyer of Russia's new Su-35 fighter.

It was also reported in 2009 that Russia planned to establish a naval presence in Libya "within a few years".

In terms of China, said Wen Zhongliang, deputy head of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce trade department, in late 2011: "China's investment in Libya, especially its oil investment, is one aspect of mutual economic co-operation between China and Libya, and this co-operation is in the mutual interest of both the people of China and Libya." In 2012, the Obama Administration deployed ground troops to Libya.

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SUDAN

China has enjoyed a very prosperous relationship with oil-rich Sudan since the late 1950's. However, when Sudan split apart in mid-2011, China quickly established diplomatic ties with the south, which holds 75% of the countries oil.

Brian Downing of the Asia Times elaborates, writing that a North-South Sudan war "may be in the offing and foreign entanglements abound", continuing: "North Sudan is at present attacking oil-rich regions within its own territory that may wish to join South Sudan. The North is now striking into South Sudan. [...] The South is allying with the US and Uganda, both of which have been operating against the [Lord's Resistance Army] for quite some time and have recently strengthened their cooperation. This will raise concerns in Khartoum - and Beijing - that an alternate pipeline into Kenya or the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be built, which would be a catastrophe for the North and would endanger one of China's sources of oil."

Fourteen MiG-29 Fulcrums were supplied by Russia to Sudan in 2006, along with Russian trainers.

In 2008, Russia sold 12 MiG-29 fighter jets to Sudan.

In September 2010, Sudan acquired ten Russian helicopters, nine Mi-17V-5 transport helicopters, and one Mi-172 variant.

Russia is "actively engaged on Sudan issues and wants to play an active role in UN Security Council, Africa, and world affairs", said Mikhail Margelov, the Russian special envoy to Sudan, following a meeting with Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir in 2009.

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PAKISTAN


China and Pakistan have had a close alliance for years (China refers to Pakistan as "their Israel").

Pakistan has largely renounced United States defense companies, instead turning to China for fighter-jet technology, warships, and defense systems, stating very clear that they have "no plans to install western devices and weapons on aircraft for the time being."

After 9/11, the U.S. began funneling aid money to Pakistan in an effort to earn their help with the "war on terror", choosing to ignore Pakistani intelligence connections to the 9/11 attacks.

In 2008, according to the Associated Press of Pakistan, China and Pakistan "inked twelve agreements/MOUs during [a] visit in the fields of economic and technical cooperation, free trade, minerals, petroleum and natural resources, environmental protection, radio and television, space technology, agriculture sector, property exchange between foreign ministries of the two countries, museum of natural history, cricket field, and project of X-Ray container/vehicle inspection system."

In terms of the Pakistani-Russian relationship, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail E. Fradkov met with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in 2007 -- the first visit by a Russian Prime Minister to Pakistan in nearly 40 years. The move was welcomed as a signal of Russia's willingness to put behind past bitterness and explore new economic partnerships.

Since 2010, the U.S.-Pakistan relationship has deteriorated as a result of espionage, and dozens of drone strikes responsible for murdering untold numbers of civilians.

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SOUTH KOREA and JAPAN

In March, 2010, a South Korean warship, the Cheonan, was torn in half while on a patrol mission, killing 46 sailors. South Korea, the U.S., U.K, and Australia eventually came to the conclusion that a torpedo had sunk the ship. With the exception of Sweden, the aforementioned countries eventually laid blame on North Korea, despite their repeated denials of involvement.

The sinking of the Cheonan is both relevant and important for three reasons:

First, it gave the United States an excuse for extending control of South Korea's military forces until 2015; second, it justified the United States extending control of a base in Okinawa, Japan, under the pretext of "security" concerns; and third, the Cheonan incident has been used to vilify North Korea, enforce harsh sanctions, and justify South Korean-USmilitary drills, provoking North Korea and its regional ally, China.

Russia conducted its own investigation of the Cheonan sinking and ultimately refused to blame North Korea.

As of 2006, Russia was considered North Korea's third largest trading partner after China and South Korea. Russia regularly imports food supplies into North Korea. The Russians also have major investments in North Korean rail, energy, and auto industries.

From the Japanese-Russian angle, there is the issue of the Kuril Islands, a disputed chain of islands in the Pacific Ocean.




Though the islands remain under the governance of Russia, Japan has claimed ownership of the southernmost region.The archipelago is crucial for Russian defense because the straits give the Russian Pacific Fleet access to the Pacific. The area is also rich in natural resources.

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IRAN


Aside from maintaining an endless stream of propaganda (from accusations of wanting to "wipe Israel off the map", to failed, so-called "assassination" attempts), the U.S. has flown aerial surveillance drones along the border, supported terrorist groups within the country, placed harsh sanctions on the Iranian economy (a form of warfare), (most likely)murdered Iranian nuclear scientists, and (most likely) launched various forms of cyber attacks against Iranian nuclear energy facilities (an act of war by the Pentagon's very own definition).

The reasons for provoking Iran into conflict (or self-destruction) are likely two-fold: oil, and China.

According to the CIA World Factbook, Iran has the 4th largest proven oil reserves on the planet, even beating Iraq, which comes in 5th place. While having access to these resources is always appealing to western oil companies and governments seeking to mitigate the damage from peak oil, there is also a strategic advantage to controlling Iran's oil supply, which is where China comes in.

In 2004, China and Iran negotiated a $70-$100 billion deal that gave China's state oil company a 51 percent stake in Iran's Yadavaran oil field, which contains more than 3 billion barrels of recoverable oil. As reported by the Washington Post, the Iran-China deal "dramatically reduced" the Bush administration's leverage over Iran because China, a permanent member of the UN, holds a veto at the council.

China is now a major exporter of goods to Iran, shipping out computer systems, household appliances, and cars.

Russia is also a major exporter to Iran.

Russia has helped Iran develop its energy sector, along with its military and defense systems. From 1995 to 2005,more than 70 percent of Iran's arms imports came from Russia, according to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

In 2010, globalsecurity.org reported that, because of U.S.-led sanctions on Iran, Russia "may lose up to $2.2 bln in sales of air defense systems, up to $3.2 bln in sales of naval equipment, up to $3.7 bln in sales of combat aircraft, up to $2.5 bln in sales of military equipment for Iranian ground forces, and up to $1.1 bln in sales of combat helicopters."

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AUSTRALIA

President Obama visited Australia in November 2011 and declared: "the United States is a Pacific (China's domain) power, and we are here to stay".


According to CNN, up to 250 U.S. Marines will be sent to the northern region of Australia for military exercises and training. Over the next several years their numbers are expected to climb to 2,500 -- a full Marine ground task force. 


INDIA, VIETNAM, TAIWAN, GUAM


To China's southwest is India, an economic rival. The U.S. has increasingly boosted ties with India over the last decade, becoming a valuable trading partner.

In Vietnam, oil-rich waters have caused territorial disputes involving China.

To the east of China is Taiwan, an island-nation that China wishes to reclaim. In recent years, the U.S. has sold weapons to this country, angering China.

Lastly, in Guam, the U.S. has constructed a "super-base" with the precise goal of "containing" China.

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PHILIPPINES


Aboard a U.S. guided missile destroyer, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in November 2011 underscored America's military backing for the Philippines. She was greeted by demonstrators who threw buckets of red paint at her convoy.

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BURMA, INDONESIA, SINGAPORE, YEMEN

As reported by tomdispatch.com: "[...][The] White House announced the sale of 24 F-16 fighter jets to Indonesia and a visit by Hillary Clinton to isolated Burma, long a Chinese ally -- the first there by a secretary of state in 56 years. Clinton has also spoken of increased diplomatic and military ties with Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam -- all countries surrounding China or overlooking key trade routes that China relies on for importing raw materials and exporting manufactured goods".

Yemen is important to the U.S. because it allows access to a vital world-wide oil shipping chokepoint.

In 2009, it was reported that Russia planned a navy presence in Yemen "within a few years". However, by December of 2009, the U.S. would already be launching attacks into the country, and by 2012, such attacks would be drastically on the rise, with even US citizens becoming targets.

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SYRIA



That same year, according to UPI: "Syria is adding the latest Russian MiG-29SMT fighter to 36 Pantsir S1E air-defense systems purchased from Russia, RIA Novosti reported, noting Syria also hopes to buy Strelets short-range air defense systems, Iskander tactical missile systems, Yak-130 aircraft and two Amur-1650 submarines -- all Russian-made."

In terms of the China-Syria relationship:

"China has become Syria’s number one supplier. While figures from Syria’s Bureau of Statistics put the value of Syrian imports from China at $691 million, Syrian officials have said the real figure is more likely to be close to double that at around $1.2 billion. What is not in doubt is that China easily outstrips Syria’s other major suppliers Egypt ($553 million), South Korea ($441 million), Italy ($356 million), Turkey ($338 million), Japan ($317 million) and Germany ($308 million). Bilateral trade surged to a record high of $1.4 billion in 2006 [...] China was the second largest non-Arab investor in Syria in 2006, accounting for $100 million out of the $800 million in non-Arab investment funds which flowed into the country. By the end of 2006, Chinese companies had signed project contracts worth $819 million and this amount is virtually guaranteed to be superseded this year with a billion dollar oil refinery deal near completion."

In 2012, the Obama Administration officially began funding al-Qaeda-linked rebels in Syria in an effort to overthrow the government in place.
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UGANDA

A document published by Margaret C. Lee of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill explains relations between Uganda-China in 2006, detailing how "sectors for new investment include the Internet, regional infrastructure and agriculture, energy, transportation, oil, hi-tech condom vending machines, the Entebbe international airport, and the expansion of the parliamentary building."

Shortly after the above report was published, it was revealed that more than two billion barrels worth of oil were discovered in Uganda, with investments being made by Chinese oil companies.

In 2010, Uganda made plans to purchase $1.2 billion worth of Russian fighter jets.

Two years later, the "Kony 2012" campaign began (which even Ugandans were skeptical of), largely pushed byObama-loyal Democrats, and used to justify sending a US military presence to the country.

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THE END RESULT?

The United States seems eager to mitigate and control Russian arms exports, along with Chinese investments, while maintaining an edge over both nations militarily, coinciding with FPI's neoconservative agenda of containment and/or confrontation, all to secure global hegemony.

While the degree of Neocon influence over President Obama ultimately remains unclear, what is clear is that attempting to "contain" China and Russia will almost inevitably lead to some kind of war, be it economic, conventional, or both. A brief examination of modern history makes it very clear that interfering with the interests of other nations can lead to damaging outcomes for all involved.

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See also:




Murder Made Easy - Two different studies offer new insight into the psychology behind killing, but what does it mean for the future of aerial drone warfare?

Democrats merge with GOP, form War Party - Bush helped Republicans justify needless war, Obama has helped Democrats; now, there is no mainstream anti-war party
The United States of Predator Drones - From Afghanistan to Yemen, from Yemen to Mexico, from Mexico to your back yard, drone use has drastically expanded and shows no signs of slowing down

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