Wednesday, February 28, 2007

2/28 Is U.S. Slightly Inching Toward My Oct "Global Strategic Bargain"? First N. Korea, now Iran?

Feb 28 (Econotech FHPN)--An AP story this morning says, "While Syria said Wednesday it would send an aide to a Baghdad-organized conference of Iraq's neighbors that the United States plans to attend, Iran said it was considering whether to take part."

Following the U.S. preliminary deal with N. Korea, for which the U.S. strongly praised China's leadership, does this latest news perhaps also indicate a Rice faction of the U.S. government very slowly, very slightly inching in the direction that I wrote about in Oct after the N. Korea nuclear test in "Global Strategic Bargain: Positive Reality Therapy for America’s Critical "States of Denial""? link.

Would you please be the judge of that? My long Oct article's opening section said:

"N. Korea’s nuclear test, the ongoing deep morass in Iraq, Afghanistan, very high and very volatile energy prices, among many other things, indicate two critical facts about the state of the world today which should by now be crystal clear to anyone not in a deep “state of denial” (to borrow what I consider to be the inaccurate title of Bob Woodward’s new book, explained at the end of this article).

First, the U.S. can, and should, not attempt to police and remake the whole world unilaterally. Second, leading nations need to more rationally, fairly share access to energy, to help create more just, sustainable global economic development.

With a rather belated recognition and acceptance of this glaring reality by the world’s leaders, I believe that there would be the possibility of a new global strategic bargain between, most importantly, the U.S. and China, with the EU, Japan, Russia, India, Saudi Arabia and others also playing critical roles. It would not have to be negotiated nor presented as such, I would prefer gradual but steadfast diplomacy with this bargain in mind ...

The essence of a possible global strategic bargain is that the U.S. will greatly scale back its so far unsuccessful efforts at regime change in the “Axis of Evil,” to remake the Middle East, Northeast Asia, etc, and rather share influence in critical regions with major powers, including regional ones.

In the case of the Middle East, this would modify a sixty-year U.S. policy of hegemonic domination of by far the most important source of oil. In the case of East Asia, it would simply accept the reality of China as a leading power with its own strong interests and influence, and try to make the best of it.

In return for this change in current U.S. policy, the other major powers, especially China, the EU and Russia, will fully, unreservedly commit to do all that they can to help stop nuclear weapons proliferation, starting with N. Korea, while the world transitions over the next decades to more sustainable sources of inexpensive, clean energy.

I have long believed, and my web site’s tag line, “finance innovators, not speculators” reflects this, that the most important struggle in the world today is not Bush/Cheney’s “war on terror.” It is about who will control the “commanding heights” of the global economy in the 21st century, via its monetary/financial and energy systems.

These global production and financial networks need to be closely linked as part of this new global strategic bargain, in which the U.S. will once again earn its way, rather than relying upon much of the world’s development capital. The “war on terror” and nuclear non-proliferation will naturally be part of global economic development and security, there can not be global prosperity without global peace and security."

Book Recommendations: For a few good, mainstream, recent books on the Middle East and oil, I recommend:

"Hidden Iran," by Ray Takeyh (a Council on Foreign Relations, CFR, author who presently has had a little PBS tv air time; a short, indispensable must-read if one wants to actually understand the real Iran at the present juncture, not some cynical politically motivated cartoon caricature, U.S. policy toward Iran, and vice versa; the average American would be stunned by the nuanced picture presented here, especially of the importance of Iran's cooperation with the U.S. against the Taliban in Afghanistan immediately after 9/11 and the efforts of the Iranian reformist faction then in power to start a dialogue with the U.S., and how the U.S. rebuff and "Axis of Evil" labeling helped strengthen the current hardliner faction return to power, since he/she NEVER sees or hears it in the mainstream mass media and from the two major political parties, to their huge discredit); "The Shia Revival," by Vali Nasr (a CFR affiliated author);

"Israel-Palestine," by Alan Dowty (the best short, even-handed historical treatment of many I've read on a subject which is often, if understandably, very emotional and highly politicized, including in the U.S.; though not the explicit themes of the book, with a little reflection, the average American can come to see in the material presented how both sides have seemingly justified claims, and how both sides have been historical underdogs, which Americans usually typically instinctually favor for basic human fairness and decency, Israel especially from 1948 to 1967, when the Arabs were united to reject and destroy it, and the Palestinians especially since 1967 when Israel occupied the West Bank, particularly since Israel's West Bank settler and occupation policies greatly impacted its internal domestic politics and global moral standing);

"Thicker than Oil," by Rachel Bronson (about U.S.-Saudi Arabia relations by another CFR author); "Saudi Arabia in the Balance," ed by Paul Aarts, Gerd Nonneman (only for those really serious about this subject, a longer, more academic book than the others here and slightly less up-to-date, I advise skipping the extensive footnotes on many pages; I'm sorry to say that, like other books I've read on this country, I found it a depressing but necessary read to face reality);

"A Thousand Barrels a Second," by Peter Tertzakian (one of the better of the many books I've read on oil, especially the many excellent charts, such as Figure 4.14 Total Volume of New Oil Discoveries Worldwide: By Year, 1900-2004, and Figure 4.16 Hubbert Type Peak Oil Production Analysis: Global Production History and Best Fit Bell Curve, which give in a few brief seconds a crystal clear visual summary of what the world is facing re oil that would shock the average American, who has never seen such data, again to the enormous discredit of the mainstream mass media and two major political parties, and thus has no idea of its impact on U.S policy, Cheney has known for many years what these charts show (not the subject of this book); the book's author accepts the "Hubbert Peak" analysis specifically for light, sweet crude but then tends to downplay it; he got poor editorial advice to spend too many pages in the beginning of the book on whale oil); and "The Age of Oil," by Leonardo Maugeri.