The world is awash in oil and gas. Prices are plummeting. The Keystone XL pipeline is dead. Dreams of trillion-dollar returns on investments in fracking and tar sands are fading away. Oil tycoon Harry Hamm of Continental Resources lost $9.6 billion in six months. Schlumberger, the biggest oilfield services company, cut 9,000 jobs in January.
These facts, not fear of a nonexistent bomb program, are why Republican lawmakers are desperate to sabotage nuclear negotiations between the U.S. and Iran. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who murdered 514 Palestinian children in Gaza last summer, is eager to help. The racist state of Israel wants to exploit offshore gas fields that belong by rights to the Palestinian people.
The headline of an opinion piece in the March 13 Washington Post declared the real agenda of the Republicans and Netanyahu’s Likud party: “War with Iran Is Our Best Option.” It was written by Joshua Muravchik of the Journal of International Security Affairs. The Washington Post is basically the house organ of the Pentagon.
On March 9, 47 Republican senators signed an “open letter to the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” They apparently didn’t know or couldn’t spell the names of Iran’s top jurist Ali Khamenei or elected Prime Minister Hassan Rouhani. The arrogant and condescending letter lectured Iran’s leaders about the U.S. Constitution. But it violated that Constitution when it told them the GOP would undercut any agreement between the U.S. and Iranian governments.
The letter’s signers, such as John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Rand Paul, are the worst racists, sexists and labor-haters in the Senate multimillionaires’ club. They also get the biggest handouts from the oil and gas industry. Energy firms gave Tom Cotton, who wrote the letter, $540,000 to run for the Senate. McCain has gotten more oil money in his career than any other legislator.
Six days earlier, all 299 Republican lawmakers packed the Capitol to hear Netanyahu denounce the U.S.-Iran negotiations. House Speaker John Boehner invited the Israeli prime minister to address Congress without first telling President Barack Obama. Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and the Congressional Black Caucus boycotted the session. The Republicans not only showed up, they gave the Butcher of Gaza 29 standing ovations.
Most Democratic leaders, including Senate Minority leader Harry Reid, also showed up to cheer Netanyahu. The Democrats are not a party of peace. Last summer, when Israel’s war machine rained white phosphorous, flèchette bombs, fuel-air explosives, dense inert metal explosives and other U.S.-made weapons of mass destruction on the imprisoned Palestinians of Gaza, the White House and congressional Democrats were happy to pay for it. The White House allowed the racist state to replenish its artillery shells from the Pentagon.
War with Iran is a different matter, though. Gaza’s children don’t have missiles that can hit U.S. aircraft carriers. Democrats also know that when they start a war, Republicans win the next election.
U.S. waged war to restrict oil supply
Both sides of the congressional aisle supported the Bush regime’s 2003 invasion of Iraq. That war destroyed Iraq’s state-owned oil industry. Oil went from $30 to $147 a barrel in four years. Oil company profits rose nearly 300 percent. The war made profitable the boom in hydraulic fracturing — fracking — that has made the U.S. the world’s largest oil and gas producer.
But capitalists will do what capitalists do. When profits and prices are booming, they produce “more than the market can bear.” The third quarter of 2008 saw a global capitalist economic crisis and oil prices began to fall.
Like the Bush regime before it, the Obama administration lashed out at independent producers. The 2011 bombing of Libya, U.S.-funded wars in Syria and Ukraine, destabilization in Venezuela and sanctions on Iran and Russia slowed the decline, but couldn’t reverse it.
Last September, Russia and China broke ground on what is planned to be the world’s biggest pipeline. It will supply China with Siberian natural gas.
The U.S. is using falling oil prices as an economic wrecking ball against the economies of Iran, Russia, Venezuela, Ecuador and many other countries. The GOP is more belligerent, but both capitalist parties seek to maintain U.S. monopoly capital’s rapidly eroding position at the center of the world economy. This can only be done by more and more destructive wars.
At the same time, the racist war against the most oppressed sectors of the working class here is producing more police killings of Black and Brown youth.
Only a mass and militant people’s movement can stop the bosses’ offensive. On March 21, the 12th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, anti-war protests will be taking place in several cities. Stop the wars of predatory monopoly capitalism, at home and abroad!