What I thought was more interesting was Z's implication that the Bush administration goes to war for domestic reasons (like public support of racist wars) rather than for geopolitical reasons.
One rationale for the invasion of Iraq and the pending invasion of Iran is that the US has been forced to strike down anyone offering to sell oil for Euros. For instance, Krassimir Petrov declares that the economic superiority of the US is supported by petrodollars and that Iran's request for payment of oil in Euros threatens the American empire.
If, for any reason, the dollar lost its oil backing, the American Empire would cease to exist. Thus, Imperial survival dictated that oil be sold only for dollars. It also dictated that oil reserves were spread around various sovereign states that weren’t strong enough, politically or militarily, to demand payment for oil in something else. If someone demanded a different payment, he had to be convinced, either by political pressure or military means, to change his mind.
The man that actually did demand Euro for his oil was Saddam Hussein in 2000...Bush’s Shock-and-Awe in Iraq was not about Saddam’s nuclear capabilities, about defending human rights, about spreading democracy, or even about seizing oil fields; it was about defending the dollar, ergo the American Empire. It was about setting an example that anyone who demanded payment in currencies other than U.S. Dollars would be likewise punished.
Many have criticized Bush for staging the war in Iraq in order to seize Iraqi oil fields. However, those critics can’t explain why Bush would want to seize those fields—he could simply print dollars for nothing and use them to get all the oil in the world that he needs. He must have had some other reason to invade Iraq. |Energy Bulletin|
F. William Engdahl makes a strong argument that this viewpoint is simply mistaken because dollars are not backed up by oil, but rather by armies and nuclear weapons.
As Michael Hudson explains in his brilliant and too-little-studied work Super Imperialism, the perverse genius of the US global dollar hegemony was the realization, in the months after August 1971, that US power under a fiat dollar system was directly tied to the creation of dollar debt. The US debt and the trade deficit were not the "problem", they realized. They were the "solution".
The US could print endless quantities of dollars to pay for foreign imports of Toyotas, Hondas, BMWs or other goods in a system in which the trading partners of the United States, holding paper dollars for their exports, feared a dollar collapse enough to continue to support the dollar by buying US Treasury bonds and bills. In fact in the 30 years since abandoning gold exchange for paper dollars, the US dollars in reserve have risen by a whopping 2,500%, and the amount grows at double-digit rates today.
This system continued into the 1980s and 1990s unchallenged. US policy was one of crisis management coupled with skillful and coordinated projection of US military power. Japan in the 1980s, fearful of antagonizing its US nuclear-umbrella provider, bought endless volumes of US Treasury debt even though it lost a king's ransom in the process. It was a political, not an investment, decision....A full challenge to the domination of the US dollar as the world central-bank reserve currency entails a de facto declaration of war on the "full-spectrum dominance" of the United States today. The mighty members of the European Central Bank Council well know this. The heads of state of every EU country know this. The Chinese leadership as well as the Japanese and Indians know this. So does Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Until some combination of those Eurasian powers congeal in a cohesive challenge to the unbridled domination of the United States as sole superpower, there will be no euro or yen or even Chinese yuan challenging the role of the dollar. The issue is of enormous importance, as it is vital to understand the true dynamics bringing the world to the brink of possible nuclear catastrophe today. |AsiaTimes|
I find the latter analysis by Engdahl more persuasive, but not more reassuring. Even if Iran cannot destroy the American imperial system by demanding payment in Euros, they are certainly not garnering any favor in Washington.
And Engdahl's analysis is explicit that the use of military force is what really props up our position as the world's largest resource glutton...at least until the oil runs out.