Remarks by the President on the Middle East and North Africa
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much. Thank you. Please, have a seat. Thank you very much. I want to begin by thanking Hillary Clinton, who has traveled so much these last six months that she is approaching a new landmark — one million frequent flyer miles. (Laughter.) I count on Hillary every single day, and I believe that she will go down as one of the finest Secretaries of State in our nation’s history.
Of all the “threats” to world order, the most consistent is democracy, unless it is under imperial control, and more generally, the assertion of independence. These fears have guided imperial power throughout history.
In South America, Washington’s traditional backyard, the subjects are increasingly disobedient. Their steps toward independence advanced further in February with the formation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, which includes all states in the hemisphere apart from the U.S. and Canada.
The Internet has provided the world with, if nothing else, instantaneous access to news and in-depth information previously available only to governments and think tanks. It has also allowed for the exchange of data and analyses between groups and individuals around the globe, in part by making one tongue, English, the language of the World Wide Web. It remains to be seen whether the keystroke is mightier than the sword.
An illustrative case in point is an August 29 report from China’s Xinhua News Agency on a news article by Egypt’s Middle East News Agency regarding a study conducted by the Strategic Foresight Group in India. The latter, a report published in a book entitled The Cost of Conflict in the Middle East, calculates that conflict in the area over the last 20 years has cost the nations and people of the region 12 trillion U.S. dollars.
A new breed has emerged; they set the global agenda, ride on Gulfstreams and manage the credit crunch in their spare time. They are anything but elected; they are entrepreneurs and entertainers, media moguls and former politicians – the self-made super rich who are using their money to lay down a new set of global rules. So where did this new global aristocracy come from and who is keeping them in check? Is the world suffering from a global governance gap?
Syriana is a 2005 geopolitical thriller film written and directed by Stephen Gaghan, and executive produced by George Clooney, who also stars in the film with an ensemble cast. Gaghan’s screenplay is loosely adapted from Robert Baer’s memoir See No Evil. The film focuses on petroleum politics, and the global influence of the oil industry, whose political, economic, legal, and social effects are experienced by a CIA operative (George Clooney), an energy analyst (Matt Damon), a Washington attorney (Jeffrey Wright), and a young unemployed Pakistani migrant worker (Mazhar Munir) in an Arab country in the Persian Gulf. The film also features an extensive supporting cast including Amanda Peet, Tim Blake Nelson, and Christopher Plummer, as well as Academy Award winners Chris Cooper and William Hurt.
As with Gaghan’s screenplay for Traffic, Syriana uses multiple, parallel storylines, jumping from locations in Texas, Washington D.C., Switzerland, Spain, and Lebanon.
Forget about nuclear missiles – the decisive weapon of the twentieth century is the car bomb. After Iraq we now know you can defeat a Superpower, start a civil war or just blow up your own government with a trunk load of homemade explosives and a battered old car. Former CIA agent Robert Baer investigates the hidden history of the car bomb in the 20th century, from the little known but devastating car bomb attack on 1920s Wall Street to the present use of car bombs in Iraq.
Robert Baer was in Lebanon in 1983 when the US embassy and marine barracks were hit by this most inconspicuous yet deadly weapon. Robert Baer’s life was depicted by George Clooney in the Oscar-winning movie Syriana.
Noam Chomsky – arguably the most famous Western intellectual and dissident alive today – interprets former President Bush’s foreign policy actions (such as the Iraq war) in the long history of American Imperialism. He points out how the US was founded as an Empire -contrary to popular perception – and has been driven since inception again, contrary to popular perception – by an “expansion is the path to security” strategy. This lecture was delivered at Boston University in the United States on April 24th, 2008 under the title of “Modern-Day American Imperialism: Middle East and Beyond”.
Noam Chomsky delivers the 5th Annual Edward Said Memorial Lecture: The Unipolar Moment and the Culture of Imperialism at Columbia University School for International Affairs for the Heyman Center for the Humanities. After paying homage to Edward Said’s stressing imperialism as central to our culture Chomsky builds his case with telling quotes of American leaders rationalizing and denying extermination of Native Americans on through US terrorism in Latin and South America, like in Chile, Brazil, El Salvador, Panama, Nicaragua, and the Middle East.
Such large financial movements will have major political effects in the Middle East
The plan to de-dollarise the oil market, discussed both in public and in secret for at least two years and widely denied yesterday by the usual suspects – Saudi Arabia being, as expected, the first among them – reflects a growing resentment in the Middle East, Europe and in China at America’s decades-long political as well as economic world dominance.
Nowhere has this more symbolic importance than in the Middle East, where the United Arab Emirates alone holds $900bn (£566bn) of dollar reserves and where Saudi Arabia has been quietly co-ordinating its defence, armaments and oil policies with the Russians since 2007.