i hope you get cancer™

Monday, January 16, 2006

Why the US will attack Iran, sooner or later

"Our national security is linked in innumerable ways to accessible, secure, and preferably cheap energy." So says Lewis Lehrman, well-connected banker, long-standing business partner of President George W. Bush, former Iran-Contra collaborator with Oliver North, and member of the board of directors of The Project for the New American Century (PNAC). In his 2003 article for The Weekly Standard, Lehrman makes the strategic economic argument for US access to cheap, stable sources of energy. Primarily an attack on the "environmental left", Lehrman's piece also leaves no doubt as to the strategic importance the US currently attaches to energy. "The American people face fundamental choices about energy, on the supply side and the demand side," Lehrman declares, "which will decide the way they will live their daily lives for generations to come." He points to the link between the economic boom of the 1950s and 60s and the price of energy, and draws an immediate conclusion: "Cheap energy should once again be a key goal of economic policy." He also rejects out of hand the whole idea of sustainable development, arguing on the contrary that building - not just maintaining, but building - energy supply is a prerequisite for economic growth: "Growing the supply of energy slightly in excess of demand contributes to full employment policies...cheap and growing energy supplies are a crucial part of an effective policy of full employment at rising real wages." Not only does Lehrman dismiss the energy rhetoric of the Europeans as "national suicide", but he posits objective factors such as geography which make the US a special case when it comes to needing more energy than others. Just in case we weren't getting the point, Lehrman spells it out: "A policy of restoring greater energy independence and maintaining inexpensive energy is not only possible but necessary--if Americans truly desire increased national security, a vibrant basic materials industry, and rapid economic growth." Such a policy, he adds, would include "a concerted national trade and security policy to prevent monopolistic collusion by foreign energy producers, especially in crude oil--and thus to restore more U.S. energy independence. Since collusion is not tolerated in any domestic industry, why must we tolerate collusion abroad against a vital U.S. interest, especially by oil-producing countries whose political existence depends to a large extent on U.S. military power?" We may assume Lehrman's views, in an article carried on the PNAC website, from one of W's oldest allies and a former partner in his oil business, represent the thinking behind US policy. Given this, given what we know about the US adventure in Iraq, is it in any way conceivable that the United States will tolerate Iranian defiance indefinitely?