|Lubricating the free market|
Opponents of the coming war
who like to believe it's all about OOOOIIIILLL would have been
heartened to see the ABC's
Lateline 2002-02-05, in which the international interests in Iraqi oil were discussed.
There are several major powers who have considerable interests in the Iraqi
oil fields, and some of them have permanent seats on the United Nations Security
council (and therefore veto over the decisions). The US are barred from oil contracts
in Iraq (they are unpopular with Saddam after their falling out over Kuwait),
and the UK don't rate much better. However Russia, France and (to a lesser
extent) China have major interests.
While it's easy to claim that the US wants to go to war because regime
change will give them investment opportunities in Iraqi oil, the cynics can
also say that the reason Russia, France and China don't want regime change is
because they will lose their investments in those same resources.
Which raises the issues about governments, contracts, and obligations.
'America wants to steal our oil!' chant Iraqis trying to show loyalty to
their totalitarian dictator, in apparent
denial of the fact that dictatorship is about theft anyway - theft of people's
rights, theft of their private
property, and theft of their oil.
Russian, French and Chinese interests have signed
contracts with Saddam, and they hope these contracts will be honored, a new
regime is unlikely to do so. If someone agrees to sell your stolen car to
a third party, this doesn't actually give that third
party rights to your car (though they may have rights to compensation from the
thief if acting in good faith).
However these oil companies have knowingly contracted to buy stolen property, and
have no such rights. Just as anyone who makes contracts with dictatorships has
no rights to have those contracts honored.
And even if they did in this case, the thief is unlikely to have the means
to pay compensation. Being inside a box (either the 10ft square variety at The
Hague or the six feet under variety in the cemetery) can make it hard to repay
those squandered billions.
Regardless, the new Iraqi government is likely to be keen to do favors to the US,
and simply throw the others out.
In short, any UN vote will be a sham. All the voting countries will simply
be acting in self interest, while claiming to be acting for the common good.
One doesn't need much imagination to work
out the kind of deals being negotiated behind closed doors at the UN at this
time. Any decision the UN security council makes will have no moral
In fairness though, the US doesn't have much either. That's why every
intelligent thinking individual should decide the merits of the
war themselves - and then proclaim:
WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER!
.. War is the question. 'Yes' is the answer.