This incisive article by Anthony C. Black was published by GR in 2010
Around the globe an ominous build-up of military might is taking place, and it is doing so almost entirely beneath the radar of public attention.
Since 2005 a large scale stockpiling and deployment of advanced weapons systems has been effected throughout the territories and seas surrounding Russia, China, and Iran. These include, as a bare outline: major US weapons transfers to Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and India; US Patriot missiles in Poland; an early missile warning system in the Czech Republic; new US military bases and troop placements in Georgia, the Balkans, Eastern Europe and Central Asia; US naval deployments in the Black Sea; new US and NATO weapons systems situated in Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and Australia; a formidable new naval armada, including nuclear-weapons-bearing Israeli submarines, in the Persian Gulf; and, finally, a host of new US air and ship-based anti-ballistic missile systems located on US fleets throughout the Mediterranean, the Sea of Japan, the Taiwan St. and the South China Sea.
In addition to these ordnance deployments, the United States and NATO have not only struck countless bilateral and multilateral military deals and alliances around the globe, but have, over the past two years, dramatically stepped up their war games and drills in the Far East.
Just as significant as these material and strategic manoeuvres, however, are the, now, completely integrated and ‘interoperable’ command structures and weapons systems of the 28 NATO nations and their 47 NATO ‘partners’. This, then, is the largest, the most sophisticated, the best organized war-machine the world has ever seen. And, of course, it is all for your benefit. It is all about global security. You can sleep sounder tonight. The world is now a safer place.
Or is it?
Though the ultimate strategic objective of this massive build-up of military might would seem, all rose-coloured lenses aside, to be the ‘containment’ of the world’s burgeoning new economic powerhouse, China, the more immediate tactical goal is clearly Iran.
Still, the whys and wherefores for yet another ‘pre-emptive’ attack on yet another Muslim nation remain rather murky. Military experts, for instance, are in agreement that any ground invasion of Iran is totally out of the question. They also largely agree that any expectations of an internal ‘regime change’ following a US/Israeli/NATO air assault on Iran’s nuclear reactors is sheer fantasy.
But then perhaps the fear of Iran developing a nuclear arsenal is the reason? Unfortunately, such a notion doesn’t square with the facts, for according to the Pentagon’s own National Intelligence Estimate of 2007, whatever weapons programs Iran may have been working on, these were all entirely abandoned by 2003. Nor does it square with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s repeated assertions that Iran has never been found in violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). [What Iran is apparently ‘guilty’ of is refusing to accede to Washington’s demand that Iran stop all peaceful nuclear development, period. Such a demand is, of course, illegal under the NPT]. Nor does the alleged fear of a nuclear Iran jive with the fact that Teheran accepted the May 27 proposal by Turkey and Brazil to have Iran’s fuel rods enriched and stored in a third party country (Russia), a proposal which the Obama Administration rejected out of hand.
Given all this, what then could possibly be the raison d’etre of such an attack?
The answer, if we repair to the history of both the 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 invasion of Iraq, is clear. In short, the hawks in Washington and Tel Aviv are likely planning to target not just Iran’s nuclear power reactors (a pretext, more or less) but, as in Iraq, the entire civilian infrastructure of the country. The goal? Not to occupy, and not to promote ‘regime change’, but simply to destroy and cripple Iran as a regional power. This, in conjunction with the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, would then assure Israel hegemony over the Mid-East and the United States hegemony over the territories, resources and pipelines of Central Asia and the Caspian Sea Basin. The US would then largely control the energy spigot running west to Europe and east in to China. Badda-bing badda-boom.
Shades of Dr. Strangelove
There is, however, a tiny fly in this strategic ointment. Apart from the massive humanitarian catastrophe it would cause – and the heinous war crime it would represent – such an attack would likely inflame the entire region. Few seem to remember that the tensions arising from the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan almost precipitated a nuclear war between Pakistan and India. As scientists assure us, even as small a nuclear exchange as between those two nations, i.e. 100 or so missiles, would throw the world into a nuclear ‘autumn’ killing over a billion and destroying global civilization as we know it.
Even were a mini (or maxi) Armageddon to be avoided, the Muslim world would assuredly go completely ape. The Shiites in Iraq would turn the country into a US graveyard. Israel would likely attack Iran, Syria and Lebanon simultaneously, and would be targeted in turn. The Iranians, if they didn’t return fire on Israel or sink a number of US warships in the Persian Gulf, thus prompting a nuclear reply from either or both, would, at the very least, sink some oil tankers and close off the Straight of Hormuz. That would cut off the supply of oil from the Mid-East and possibly lead to a world-wide economic catastrophe. Hopefully the Russians or the Chinese wouldn’t get involved. And, here at home, we arm-chair warriors would be lucky to avoid terrorist attacks on the Toronto subway system.
So perhaps, just perhaps, before we cheerlead ourselves into the next ‘lovely little war’, we should give pause and consider whether the global machinations of the ‘incredibly expanding alliance’ are really about making the world a safer place, or about something rather different.