Monday, July 26, 2010

The Obvious in Pakistan and Capitalism Still Going Mad with BP

by Norman Markowitz

92,000 documents concerning the war in Afghanistan have been leaked to The New York Times, Der Spiegel(popular German magazine) and the Manchester Guardian by Wikileaks. 

There is more than enough here  to maintain dozens of bad Arnold Schwarenegger and Sylvester Stallone movies for an indefinite period.  However, the administration is angry at all of this. If I were them, I would be privately happy about it.  The documents all over the Internet reflect the simple truth that  many throughout the world, especially those on the political left in Europe, South Asia, the U.S., have long understood.  The U.S. is  fighting a war in Afghanistan against the forces that it supported in the 1980s against the revolutionary Communist led government and its Soviet military allies with the  same Pakistani ally who played a central role in that conflict in arming and training the forces who became Al Qaeda and the Taliban.  However, our  chameleon-like ally to a considerable extent is still supporting those forces. 
After all,  Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were the only states that continued to recognize the Taliban regime in the late 1990s when its policies had pretty much lost it the support of the rest of the world.  Pakistan is a clerically based state and defacto military dictatorship whose ambitions in South Asia, primarily against India, out of which it was formed with the connivance to the collapsing British Empire sixty years ago, dovetail with groups like the Talilban in Afghanistan.
What the administration should begin to do is rethink the whole South Asia policy, realize that it cannot fight a war against an enemy with an ally who is  to say the least also part enemy.  The Afghan war is an albatross for the administration, at odds with everything positive that it is trying to accomplish in the U.S., opposed by those who are its strongest grassroots supporters.   Now is the time for it to move away from escalation and a military solution toward a larger peace policy for South Asia, one that involves India, China, and other regional states and stops being played by the Pakistani regime, which has developed a sort of military Ponzi scheme in the region, getting billions from the U.S. to fight terrorists and the Taliban and aiding the terrorists so that it can get more billions, some of which has been and is diverted to its own terrorist activities against India in Kashmir.
The other news item concerns BP, which is becoming a miserable household word in the U.S.   BP has a new President, Robert Dudley, an American, born in Queens, New York, who grew up in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and is upset about the disaster in the Gulf, since he has found memories of his summers in Biloxi as a youth.  How did Dudley end up with BP.  He was absorbed into it when it bought AMOCO (ah, the transnational corporations, they, like the rich, are different).  What does his appointment mean.  Besides much more money and fame for him, about what the appointment of a new commanding general for Afghanistan means.  Dudley's big job will be to get leases to drill new wells in the Gulf(which of course BP shouldn't get even without this disaster).  But let me explain why I titled this blog piece Capitalism Still Going Mad with BP(the first part of the title, The Obvious in Pakistan should be obvious).
The story about Dudley in the NYT quotes one Andrew Lynch, a "fund manager at Schroders in London" who says that BP should have a "thorough review of procedures within BP to make sure the message of safety is clear among the people who are out on the drilling rigs.    Once all that is done," Lynch goes on to say,"I can't see why BP can't start growing again.  Deepwater is definitely the right place for them to be.  The future lies in the more complex and technically difficulty challenges offshore."
Are there empty spaces in the head of this fund manager of other peoples money?  Is it possible for him to contemplate the disaster that has already occurred in the Gulf and its repurcussions?  Does he know anyone who works on a rig?   Deep water oil drilling may be  "the right place" for a for profit transnational corporation like BP to be, but it is the wrong place for any rational energy policy.    The future, if there is to be one, lies in "the more complex and technically difficult challenges" of developing in a planned way alternative energy sources to replace fossil fuels, the public green solution which eventually will put BP out of business, since its business endangers both the environment and any  serious economic planning in the public interest.

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